Celebrate the 4th of July with this delicious red, white, and blue ice cream cake! Red and blue layers of moist vanilla cake with vanilla ice cream in the center. When you slice this cake, it’s so fun to see the red white and blue stripes appear!
Ever since I made my Oreo ice cream cake, I’ve been obsessed with making more and more ice cream cakes! They are SO easy and fun!
Every 4th of July we have a little BBQ at our home with my best friends and their kids. Everyone brings a side dish and of course, I love to make the dessert.
Typically I make a fancy cake or a pastry but I always feel SUPER rushed and down to the wire. This year I’m going to make this red white and blue ice cream cake days in advance and it will be ready to go when it’s party time!! So easy!
PRO TIP – You definitely want to make this cake at least 1 day in advance because you have to freeze the cake and ice cream layers before you assemble it and ideally have the cake totally frozen (at least 6 hours) before you serve it to prevent premature melting.
What’s In This Blog Post
This vanilla cake recipe is my white velvet buttermilk cake which I often use to make colored layers of cake, like my rainbow cake. It works really well because it’s nice and bright white so the colors really shine through. I also like using Americolor food coloring gel but you can use whatever colors you like. Just keep in mind that some blue food coloring might look more purple or green once it’s baked. That’s why I recommend using Americolor super red for the red cake, and electric blue food coloring because I know it bakes up a nice bright, true blue.
My white velvet cake works best with cake flour because the layers are nice and moist. If you can’t find cake flour in your area then I recommend you try my white cake recipe instead which uses all-purpose flour. The cake is a bit more firm but still very very tasty.
Making The Red And Blue Cake Layers
- Preheat your oven to 335ºF (170ºC) and prepare two 8″x2″ cake pans with cake goop or your preferred pan release.
- Bring your buttermilk, egg whites, and butter to room temperature (a little warm is even better) so that your ingredients mix together smoothly and your cake bakes up properly. If you don’t have buttermilk, check out my buttermilk substitutes blog post for alternatives.
- Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix 10 seconds to combine.
- Divide your buttermilk in half. Combine 1/2 of the buttermilk with the oil and set aside.
- Combine the other 1/2 of the buttermilk, egg whites, and vanilla together, whisk to break up the eggs and set aside.
- Add your softened butter to the dry ingredients and mix on low until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
- Add in your buttermilk/oil mixture and let it mix until the dry ingredients are moistened and then bump the speed up to medium (setting 4 on my KitchenAid, speed 2 on my Bosch) and let it mix for 2 full minutes to develop the cake’s structure. If you don’t let your cake mix on this step your cake may not rise properly. The batter should look white and fluffy and not broken or curdled.
- Scrape your bowl and then reduce speed to low. Add in your egg white mixture in three batches, letting the batter mix for 15 seconds between additions. Mix until everything is combined. The finished cake batter should look smooth and not curdled.
- Divide your cake batter evenly into two bowls. I like to weigh my cake pans so that I know each layer is even.
- Add 1 Tablespoon of red food coloring to the first bowl and stir until fully mixed. I like Super Red gel food color by Americolor.
- Add 1 Tablespoon of electric blue food coloring to the second bowl and stir until fully mixed.
- Pour each cake batter into a prepared 8″x2″ round cake pan.
- Bake the layers at 335ºF (170ºC) for 30-35 minutes or until the center bounces back when you lightly touch it.
- Once your layer is baked, remove it from the oven and immediately tap it on the countertop to release excess air. This helps prevent over shrinking as the cake cools.
- Allow the cake layer to cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan or until the pan is barely warm then flip the cake out onto a cooling rack.
- Once your cake has cooled down a little, carefully trim off the dome of your cake layer so it’s nice and flat on top.
- Wrap your warm cake in plastic wrap and place it into the freezer until it’s time to assemble the red white and blue ice cream cake. PRO TIP – Freezing your cake while it’s still warm locks in the moisture, you can then freeze your cake for a few days without it drying out.
How To Make The Ice Cream Layer
- Take the ice cream out of the freezer 30 minutes before you need to use it to allow it to soften.
- Cover the inside of an 8″ cake pan in aluminum foil.
- Spread the softened ice cream into the cake pan evenly and smooth out the top.
- Place it back into the freezer overnight or for a minimum of 6 hours.
How To Assemble The Red White And Blue Ice Cream Cake
After your cake layers and the ice cream layer have been fully frozen, now it’s time to assemble the red, white, and blue ice cream cake! Believe it or not, this is the easy part! All we have to do is make the stabilized whipped cream, stack all the layers together, smooth it out and add some sprinkles!
- Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it bloom for 5 minutes. If you don’t want to use gelatin, check out my stabilized whipped cream blog post for 5 other substitutes.
- Microwave the gelatin for 15 seconds and then stir. If the gelatin isn’t fully melted continue melting in 5-second increments until the liquid is clear. Don’t over-heat it.
- Add 1 Tablespoon of cream to the gelatin and stir to combine. Set aside while you make the whipped cream.
- Begin whipping your heavy whipping cream in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed.
- Once the whipped cream is thick and foamy, add in the powdered sugar and the vanilla.
- Continue whipping the cream until you see lines beginning to form in the surface of the cream (soft peaks).
- Reduce the speed to low and then begin drizzling in the melted gelatin in a steady stream.
- Continue mixing until firm peaks (holding their shape but still creamy) form but don’t over-mix it or it will begin to curdle and turn to butter.
- Place your frozen blue layer of cake onto your cake platter or cake board.
- Apply a thin layer of whipped cream to the top of the cake. Then unwrap your ice cream layer from the foil and place the ice cream layer on top of the cake layer.
- Apply another thin layer of whipped cream and then the red layer of cake.
- Cover the whole cake with more whipped cream and smooth it out with your offset spatula and bench scraper.
- If desired, pipe a cute shell border on top with a 1M piping tip and piping bag.
- Place the red white and blue ice cream cake into the freezer until you’re ready to serve it.
- Right before serving, you can add some sprinkles on the outside and on top. I also added some fresh strawberries and blueberries! Leave this part to the end so that the berries don’t get all soggy and the sprinkles don’t melt and get weird-looking after being frozen.
I love how cute this red white and blue ice cream cake turned out and when you take out that first slice, you’ll get nothing but OOH’s and AHHS!! It’s like its own fireworks show!
Work very quickly! Have your frosting ready to use. Place your cake back into the freezer in between steps if needed. Make your room as cold as possible.
You can move your cake from the freezer to the fridge 30 minutes before you are ready to serve it. Your cake should not be permanently stored in the fridge or it will melt.
You can make any of my cake recipes gluten free by replacing the flour with Bob’s Red Mill gluten free baking mix or another kind of gluten free flour like Cup4Cup. Make sure your ice cream is also gluten free (check the ingredients) because sometimes ice cream contains wheat.
Take the cake out of the freezer and place it into the fridge or let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cutting. Use a knife dipped in hot water before slicing.
I’m using stabilized whipped cream for this recipe because it will soften at the same rate as the ice cream filling. Any type of whipped-topping like CoolWhip or Bettercreme is going to work well. If you’re traveling a long distance with your cake, use a more stable buttercream like easy buttercream or American buttercream. Then store the cake in a cooler with dry ice to keep everything from melting, especially during warmer weather.
Other Recipes You’ll Love
Red White And Blue Ice Cream Cake
- 14 ounces (396 g) cake flour
- 13 ounces (368 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 5 ounces (142 g) egg whites room temperature
- 4 ounces (113 g) vegetable oil
- 10 ounces (284 g) buttermilk slightly warm and divided into two cups evenly
- 6 ounces (170 g) butter unsalted and softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 Tablespoon super red food coloring, I use Americolor gel colors
- 1 Tablespoon electric blue food coloring
Ice Cream Layer
- 48 ounces (1360 g) vanilla ice cream
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- 16 ounces (453 g) Heavy Whipping Cream
- 3 ounces (85 g) Powdered Sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Powdered Gelatin I use KNOX
- 2 Tablespoons Cool Water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Heavy Whipping Cream
- 2 Tablespoons Red White And Blue Sprinkles For garnish
- Stand Mixer
- Two 8"x2" cake pans
- Tin foil
- Bench scraper or spatula
- NOTE: It is SUPER IMPORTANT that all the room temperature ingredients listed above are room temperature and measured by weight so that the ingredients mix and incorporate correctly. Learn more about how and why to use a scale for baking in my tutorial.Heat the oven to 335º F/170º C
- Prepare two 8"x2" cake pans with cake goop or preferred pan spray.
- Divide your buttermilk in half. Combine 1/2 of the buttermilk with the oil and set aside.
- Combine the other 1/2 of the buttermilk, egg whites and vanilla together, whisk to break up the eggs and set aside.
- Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment attached. Mix for 10 seconds to combine.
- Add your softened butter to the dry ingredients and mix on low until mixture resembles a coarse sand (about 30 seconds). Add in your buttermilk/oil mixture and let mix until dry ingredients are moistened and then bump up to med (setting 4 on my kitchenaid) and let mix for 2 minutes to develop the cakes structure. If you don't let your cake mix on this step your cake could collapse.
- Scrape your bowl and then reduce speed to low. Add in your egg white mixture in three parts, letting the batter mix for 15 seconds between additions and mix until smooth.
- Divide your batter in half (I weigh mine to make sure both pans are even)
- Add your red food coloring to one bowl and the blue food coloring to the other bowl and mix until combined.
- Bake 35-40 minutes at 335º F/170º C until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out cleanly but the cake has not begun to shrink yet from the sides of the pan. IMMEDIATELY TAP PAN FIRMLY on countertop once to release the steam from the cake. This stops the cake from shrinking.
- Let cakes cool for 10 minutes inside the pan before flipping them out. The cake will shrink a bit and that is normal. Flip onto a cooling rack and let cool for a few more minutes.
- Wrap your warm layers in plastic wrap and place them into the freezer for a minimum of 6 hours but ideally, 24 hours. (You can also freeze the cakes multiple days in advance.)
Ice Cream Layer
- Take your ice cream out of the freezer about 30 minutes before you need to use it.
- Place a piece of tinfoil into an 8"x2" cake pan and smooth it down into the edges and flatten out the bottom and sides as best you can.
- Add the softened ice cream into the foil lined pan and smooth it out so its nice and flat with an offset spatula
- Freeze the ice cream layer for a minimum of 6 hours or ideally, 24 hours.
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- Remember not to make your whipped cream until your layers are frozen and you are ready to assemble the cake.
- Sprinkle your gelatin over the water and let bloom for 5 minutes.
- Melt gelatin for 5 seconds in the microwave. If not fully melted, do another 3 seconds. You can tell the gelatin is melted when there are no granules of unmelted gelatin visible.
- After dissolving your gelatin, add in 1 Tablespoon of heavy cream and mix. If your gelatin is too cold, heat again until it's melted (5 seconds).
- Add your heavy whipping cream to the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on medium until thick and foamy.
- Add in your powdered sugar and vanilla and continue whipping until lines start to form in the surface of the whipped cream.
- Turn your mixer down to low and drizzle in your gelatin. Continue mixing on medium speed until your peaks are firm and holding their shape but don't over-mix to the point when your whipped cream starts to look chunky or begins turning into butter.
- Stack your blue cake layer onto a cake plate, add a thin layer of whipped cream, then your ice cream layer, then another thin layer of whipped cream then your red cake layer.
- Frost the whole cake in more whipped cream and make it smooth with a bench scraper and an offset spatula.
- Pipe a shell border on top of the cake with a 1M piping tip and piping bag.
- Freeze the cake for a minimum of 6 hours before serving.
- Add sprinkles and fresh fruit if desired before serving.Leave this part to the end so that the berries don't get all soggy and the sprinkles don't melt and get weird-looking after being frozen.
- Store this cake in the freezer for up to 5 days after cutting. Cover the cut side of the cake with plastic wrap to prevent the cakes from drying out.