Explore. Imagine. Love.

Purposeful parenting amid a world of sugar, screens and schedules.

How I Made a S’Mores Ice Cream Cake

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My big girl had a birthday recently and she chose an Under the Sea/Little Mermaid swimming party theme.  She changed her mind a million times but we finally landed on this…partly because I had the most fun coming up with ideas for it.  You can check out my post on the party HERE, but this post is about how I made the ice cream cake.



Our first home made ice cream cake was made by my husband as a mother’s day gift.  I love ice cream cakes but you don’t really get to have stuff like that…with cake anyway…when you have food issues like gluten intolerance.  It took some time for sure, but the concept is simple.  You bake your cake the way you would normally make a layered cake but maybe make your halves a little thinner than normal.  Then you use the same baking pan and cover it with saran wrap.  Let your ice cream soften a bit and press it into the pan to mold the same size as your cake.  Once the ice cream is hard you just layer cake, ice cream, cake and frost it.  Easy!



For Big Sis’s birthday I wanted to make a sand castle ice cream cake, using a sand castle bucket.  I figured it would be pretty difficult figuring out a way to layer cake in there so I decided to just make cupcakes and then make the “cake” purely ice cream.  Because the “sand” look is made with graham cracker crumbs, I thought I’d make it a s’mores cake.


This is not really a recipe since you don’t have to cook anything.  It is in no way healthy like the desserts I typically make (it was a birthday cake after all!)  But I am really proud of it because I made it up myself.  I feel like pinterest, although really awesome for inspiring creativity, also can take away any feeling of originality!  But this was the original sand castle cake post, and although it was a wonderful inspiration (she did a fantastic job!), what I ended up doing was nothing like it.  I am also going to talk about how I would make it a normal ice cream cake rather than a sand castle cake because it was sooo good, it should be made for all occasions, not just some beach/mermaid/swimming parties.  Here it is:

What you need

  • Chocolate ice cream
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • 1 box of Graham crackers
  • 1 container of Cool whip
  • 1 container Marshmallow cream
  • 1/2 a packet of plain gelatin
  • 1/8 tsp Almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Marshmallows- large if doing a sand castle, mini if not
  • Optional- chocolate syrup or melted chocolate to drizzle over the top if not doing a sand castle cake
  • Saran wrap
  • Pam spray??

Choose how you want your cake to look and find a container that produces that look.  I used a sand castle bucket but I think I would use a bread pan otherwise…I think a rectangle would work well.

I used Pam spray on the inside of my bucket.  We had never done this using the small round cake pans but I thought it might be difficult to get out of a deep bucket (it was) and that the oil might help (not sure if it did.)

Cover your pan with saran wrap with plenty sticking out to help pull the ice cream out when the time comes.

Let your cool whip sit out a bit so it’s not too cold (especially if you had it in the freezer.)  Whip up your marshmallow cream with a bit of cool whip with a hand mixer and slowly add more cool whip.  Add your vanilla and almond extract and the 1/2 packet of gelatin and mix all together.  Cover and put in the fridge.

Let your ice cream soften a bit so that you can easily smoosh it into the shape of your pan/bucket.

Put your graham crackers in a gallon ziplock and crush with a rolling pin until it’s pretty fine and you’ve broken up all the big chunks.

Layer:  vanilla ice cream; layer of the cool whip/marshmallow cream frosting, graham cracker crumbs, mini chocolate chips; chocolate ice cream; layer of frosting, cracker crumbs, chocolate chips.  Repeat until your pan is full or you use all your ice cream or it’s as big as you want it.  Cover it with saran wrap and put it in the freezer to harden (I let it sit over night.)  Put your coolwhip/marshmallow mixture back in the fridge.   (*I actually didn’t layer it like this- I only did the frosting/crumb/choc chip layer in the middle of the cake rather than between each layer of ice cream.  But I loved it so much I thought it needed more.  Do what you think is best.)

Once it’s ready, close to the time you are going to serve it, do what you need to do to get the ice cream out of the container.  Pat the sides, hit the top, pull on the saran wrap…it was difficult with the deep bucket.

Put it on the plate or serving platter you intend to use.  For the sandcastle cake, I frosted the platter and put cracker crumbs down before putting the ice cream cake on.  Frost it with the coolwhip/marshmallow mixture and cover it with graham cracker crumbs.  Kind of tricky to get the sides.  I kind of threw it on.

For a sandcastle cake, take large marshmallows and dip them in the frosting and cover them with cracker crumbs and put them on the top of the castle.  If you aren’t doing a castle, I would suggest putting mini marshmallows and chocolate chips all over the top in a decorative kind of way and maybe drizzle some chocolate over the top.  Put it back in the freezer until ready to serve.

I was thinking if you wanted to do it with cake and not just ice cream, you could do a round cake like I described above and use layers of chocolate cake instead of chocolate ice cream.  


Well, there you have it.  I was pretty detailed with my instructions so it is kind of a lot to read, but it really wasn’t very difficult at all.  Especially since I didn’t incorporate layers of cake.  Just smooshing ice cream together is pretty simple  😉 

Let me know if you try it out!  Thanks for reading.


Author: Explore Imagine Love


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