straight on view of the layers of german chocolate cake there is a layer of chocolate cake a layer of ganache a layer of vanilla ice cream and a layer of coconut pecan frosting and a drizzle of ganache on top

German Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

  • Author: Heidi Clark~Yums & Kisses
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 32 minutes
  • Total Time: 6+ hours or overnight
  • Yield: 16 1x


German Chocolate Ice Cream Cake!  A must-make for any gathering!  Layers of rich chocolate cake, fudgy ganache, creamy vanilla ice cream, and sweet coconut pecan frosting create this decadent but easy dessert!



For the Cake:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup dutch-process cocoa powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp espresso powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Ganache:

4 ounces dark chocolate baking bar ( I used Ghiradelli brand), chopped

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1.5 Quart tub of vanilla ice cream (I used Blue Bunny Brand)

One tub of ready-to-eat Coconut Pecan Frosting 

For the Chocolate Drizzle:

2 ounces dark chocolate baking bar, chopped

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream


Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease an 8″ square metal baking pan. Line the pan with two pieces of narrow parchment paper that are long enough to create handles.  You’ll need the handles later to lift the cake out of the pan. One sheet of parchment should run north to south and the other will overlap going east to west. The parchment should cover a good bit of the bottom and sides of the pan, if there are any areas of the pan not covered by the parchment it will be okay because the pan is greased.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and espresso powder together over a large bowl.  Whisk in the sea salt. 

Using a stand mixer, beat the whole egg + the egg yolk with the sugar, on medium speed, until pale yellow and thick.  This step takes 2-3 minutes. With the mixer on, slowly add in the oil.  Then, slowly add in the milk and vanilla extract. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the bowl.  Add the sifted flour/cocoa mixture all at once and mix on low speed until the batter is smooth.  The batter will be runny.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake 27-32 minutes.  Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake.  When the toothpick is clean, the cake is done.  Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack.  Let the cake cool for 20 minutes and use the parchment paper handles to pull the cake up and out of the pan. Don’t remove the parchment paper from the cake!  The cake is going back into the pan to build the ganache, ice cream, and frosting layer.  Wash the baking pan.  When the cake is completely cool, lower the parchment-lined cake back into the pan.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and freeze the cake until firm.  It takes a few hours for the cake to freeze.

To make the Ganache:

In a small saucepan, bring the 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream to a simmer.  When the cream is steaming hot, remove the pan from the stovetop.  Add the chopped dark chocolate and let them sit together for a minute.  This will ensure the chocolate fully melts!  Whisk the hot cream and chocolate together until smooth and glossy.

Remove the cake from the freezer and pour the ganache onto the cake.  Use an offset spatula to smooth the ganache across the cake in an even layer. Place the cake back in the freezer (uncovered!). Let the ganache firm up completely in the freezer.  This takes about 45 minutes.  

Remove the vanilla ice cream from the freezer about 10-15 minutes before you scoop it onto the cake.  The ice cream needs to be a bit soft to “frost” the ganache layer.  When the ice cream has softened a bit, remove the cake from the freezer. Scoop 3/4 of the tub of ice cream onto the cake.  Use a large offset spatula to spread and smooth the ice cream over the ganache layer. Return the pan to the freezer, until the vanilla ice cream is completely frozen again.  Freeze for at least 2 hours.  

Remove the cake from the freezer when frozen solid.  Stir the tub of coconut pecan frosting.  Spoon the contents of the frosting tub onto the cake and, use an offset spatula to spread and smooth the frosting over the top.  Return the cake to the freezer (uncovered!), for 1-2 hours  

Make the ganache for the chocolate drizzle as directed above.

Remove the cake from the freezer.  Dip a wire whisk into the ganache and using a quick back-and-forth motion decorate the top of the cake, as desired.

Return the cake to the freezer for 20 minutes.

When ready to serve the cake:

Remove the cake from the freezer.  Run a dish towel under hot water (careful, don’t make it so hot you burn yourself!).  Wring the excess water from the towel and lay it on the kitchen counter.  Place the cake pan on top of the hot towel and use your hands to hold the towel against the sides of the pan.  Let the hot towel work it’s magic!  The heated towel is going to help loosen the frozen cake from the pan!  Grab the parchment paper handles and pull the cake up and out of the pan.  Place the parchment-lined cake onto a cookie sheet.  To cut the slices, dip a sharp knife into a cup of hot water and dry the knife.  Slice the cake into desired sizes and enjoy!  

You can cover any leftover cake directly on the cookie sheet with plastic wrap, to store. Or, use the parchment paper handles to transfer the cake back to the cake pan. Cover the cake and freeze.


I recommend making this cake the day before you are planning to serve it. The recipe is simple but it does involve time to let the various layers of the cake firm up in the freezer!

  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: american

Keywords: ice cream cake german chocolate