My favorite 30 Rock episode is when Jenna gets a “Free Carvel Ice Cream for Life Card” and does what any of us would do — she orders free ice cream cakes, has them purposely misspelled, then gets Kenneth to return them for cash. Jenna gets caught and banned from Carvel forever, but thanks to this month’s Food Network magazine and their feature on recipes inspired by TV shows, Jenna can make her own Ice Cream Crunch Cake.
The moment I saw this recipe I wanted to make it it, but I needed an occasion and decided we’d celebrate Lizzie’s birthday a week early. So last night for Lizzie’s birthday dinner, we had roast beef, wild rice, steamed vegetables, cheap Merlot and this ice cream cake. I put the whipped cream on after drinking the aforementioned Merlot and you can kind of tell, but nobody cared that the cake wasn’t perfect because it was so good — especially the chocolate crunchy things.
Making the Crunchy Things
Carvel fans know that the best part of the cake is the crunchy things, and the magazine did an admirable job of cloning them by crushing up Nabisco Famous Wafers and pouring Magic Shell all over. Getting through this step of the process requires a little faith on the part of the baker because it starts out as a sloppy mess, but you won’t be disappointed in the end.
Make the Famous Wafers at Home
This is a fun and tasty cake. If you live in Austin, H.E.B. is having a buy one container of ice cream get another one free which will really come in handy for this. And if you can’t find the chocolate wafers or don’t want to pay Nabisco’s princely sum, you can make them yourself using Alice Medrich’s Chocolate Wafer recipe (which is what I did). I’d be curious to see if Chocolate Teddy Grahams or Oreos with the filling scraped off would work as a substitute though, because I’ll do just about anything to avoid buying those overpriced chocolate wafers.
Here’s another photo of the cake. This is one I took last night, while the one at the time is one I took today after the cake had been frozen overnight. I guess that’s another good thing about this cake. It’s a good make-ahead dessert.
Loaf Pan Version
I really like this recipe from Food Network, but it makes a large ice cream cake. At some point in the near future, I’m going to try to re-do it as a loaf cake. .
We really enjoyed that recipe. I checked the link and it appears that Food Network just moved things around. It is now fixed. But here’s the correct URL. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/ice-cream-crunch-cake-recipe-1973872
Hi Anna, I love your blog. I was looking for an ice cream cake and wanted to try the 30 Rock recipe but find no recipe upon clicking on the link. It looks easy enough but I would like to know what this recipe used for the bottom crust. Can you help?
Hello. I have been making ice cream cakes for a few years now. You can use Oreo’s, wegman’s brand or any cheep brand of cookie. I use the cream in the middle and all. chop them up in a food processor. I put a layer on the bottom of the pan as well as in the middle layer. you can spread Hot fudge, carmel or any other in the middle. Mix it up! Its all good!
This is so awesome! For months, I’ve been pondering about different ways to make an ice cream cake. I want to try one with real cake layers, but I also want to make one like Carvel, and I was just talking yesterday to my co-workers trying to figure out the best way to get the crunch part right! Thanks for the post, they are really gonna love me at work if I pull this one off!
If you have Big Lots in your area, they often have the wafer cookies for less. There stock is sporadic, though, so if I make it there, I buy a few packages to have on hand.
I’m thinking of making this for Easter… just have to think of a creative way to make it “Easter-y” looking.
I love Food Network magazine! It’s my favorite. I also love that episode of 30 Rock. And I love ice cream cake!
Yup, the crunchy things are the best! Happy birthday Lizzie!
Oh, also, I hate how expensive those wafers are, too. I think they’re over $4 here.
Adam, if you pick it up now and then you might as well subscribe because it’s much more economical. I think it’s worth a subscription if you’re in the market for a magazine that’s light, entertaining, food oriented and not too full of itself.
I’m enjoying reading everyone’s opinions on Carvel. I think people from the north east like it for the same reasons we Texans (some of us at least) like Blue Bell. As for this cake, you can make it with any ice cream you want.
Carlyn, good luck with the chocolate chip cookie experiments!
Louise, Lizzie got a few bites of the vanilla part. She loves ice cream.
Katrina, thanks for the tip on the Stauffer’s Animal Cookies. We have the vanilla here in Texas, but I haven’t seen the chocolate ones. I’ll be interested in hearing how they work in ice cream cake if you try it.
I love Carvel — I had a carvel wedding cake. I will have to try this. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
It’s amusing that we can all ignore the ice cream and agree that the chocolate-fudge-crispy layer is the best part :). I’ve been curious about making my own ice cream cake, but because i probably wouldn’t make the ice cream myself, I’m more inclined to buy it (I don’t know if homemade ice cream would be firm enough).
And the job you did “frosting” the cake is still better than I could do on my best day :).
Quick question: is the Food Network Magazine worth a subscription, or is it something I should only pick up every now and again? I’ve never really flipped through it, but I’m usually mesmerized by the covers.
[email protected] Caramel Cookie
I LOVE the chocolate crunchy things! I could totally eat them just by themselves.
MMM! This looks like a great dessert for the current weather we’re having 😀 Now I’m really craving some ice cream!
Anna, I just wanted to let you know that right now I’m doing a lot of experimenting trying to find the best chocolate chip cookie recipe (which involves a LOT of small batches and hungry family members! oh and butter, of course!) and I’ve been using your blog as a reference. You have SO many fabulous chocolate chip cookie recipes (they never end, seriously!) and a lot of great tips for getting them thick (not too much spread) and what ingredients, types of chocolate, and baking temperatures are best.
I’ll hopefully be able to write up a nice blog post about all of my cookie baking adventures soon! Thanks so much for all your knowledge and fabulous recipes 😀
Stacie @ Imperfectly Healthy
This looks SO GOOD – definitely on my list to make!
This looks soo good. I’m totally craving it.
Nice excuse for ice cream cake. Since dogs aren’t supposed to eat chocolate, what did Lizzie have for dessert? The top half?
I’ve never heard of this, but it looks yummy!
I just read FN Magazine while on the treadmill this morning and saw that cake. I’ve never had Carvel either. But we love ice cream around here. 😉
In one of my recent posts, I made a mint chocolate chip ice cream pie and used chocolate animal crackers for the chocolate crust (they are sold in big bags.) I thought they worked perfectly!
I really like that they are huge bags of chocolate animal crackers for like $2. They are Stauffer’s brand. If I had occasion to make an ice cream cake…..hmmm, we ARE having company over on Friday. I’ll let you know.
We used to live in an area where Carvel ice cream had a following, and I have to say we didn’t “get it”. It was over priced for our at the time newlywed budget, and if we were spending $ on ice cream, we were going for the Ben & Jerry’s.
I’ve no doubt, your ice cream cake is way better than any Carvel ice cream I ever had.
I saw this! One of my favorite desserts to have when its my birthday.
HOLY YUM!!!!!!!!!!!! I have to make this cake & I’m gonna try with oreos. Will have to wait for an occasion though or I’ll eat it all. Maybe I’ll make some individual ones for the kiddos. I hear you on the overpriced chocolate wafers. What are they thinking?!?! Carvel is so overpriced, but those crunchies are to die for. I LOVE your drunken whipped cream by the way. I have the same problem with merlot!
And Happy Birthday Lizzie!!
Looks delicious! My brother was always the ice cream cake-lover in the family, but I would eat the chocolate bits out of the middle! Those are the best. Nowadays, I love all the bits of ice cream cake, even the ice cream. And I’m sure this tastes better than its mass-produced counterpart.
Love your review. i have never had a Carvel Ice Cream cake but do enjoy Dairy Queen’s version now and then.
I just saw this in my FN magazine. Thanks for the link to the chocolate wafer recipe. I’d love to make them myself, since those Nabisco wafer are so pricey! Glad it was a success. It looked great in the mag and it looks fab here as well.