one for the weekend: pink dreamsicle ice cream cake

Stunning. Delicious. Easy. This ice cream cake has it all. Layers of blood orange sorbet and vanilla ice cream add up to a rare treat: a refreshing, yet satisfying dessert. Ordinarily, I am no fan of sorbet. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way—a lot of us need at least a little fat in our sweets. Tracy from Shutterbean had us in mind when she created the original version of this recipe, which included raspberry sorbet, mango sorbet, and vanilla ice cream. As she said on her blog, “that little bit of vanilla ice cream in there makes it feel super decadent.” I made the raspberry-mango-vanilla cake to end a summerific meal of ribs, corn, bourbon, and tomatoes. We left the table neither groaning from fullness nor scrounging for a piece of chocolate—the sorbet-ice cream combo was the perfect finale.

blood orange and vanilla dreamsicle ice cream cake

blood orange and vanilla dreamsicle ice cream cake

Before finishing his piece of cake, my dad suggested that I make an orange-vanilla version as a riff on a dreamsicle. I jumped on the challenge. Instead of the popsicle’s orange sherbet, I upgraded to blood orange sorbet. To make the cake, I softened two pints each of sorbet and vanilla ice cream and spread them, alternating flavors, in a plastic-lined loaf pan. For crunch, I sprinkled toasted coconut over the last layer. Six hours later, I squeaked with glee when I cut into the cake: it was a striking coral pink and white-striped masterpiece. When eaten together, the layers were citrusy and creamy, just like a dreamsicle. It was so refreshing and light that it seemed only natural to have two pieces.

Today’s recipe is part of our new “one for the weekend” series. Every Friday, we’ll share a short post intended to send you off for the weekend with something snacky, sweet, fresh, or just plain tasty. Enjoy!

pink dreamsicle ice cream cake

adapted from Shutterbean

The only minor challenge here is spreading the softened sorbet and ice cream in an even layer. The pints soften from the outside in, so you might think it’s ready to spread only to find a rock-hard core. My trick is to empty the softened pints, one at a time, into a separate bowl and stir the sorbet or ice cream until it’s evenly spreadable, then I pour it into the pan and level it with a spatula. (Be sure to use separate bowls for the sorbet and ice cream or the colors will mix).

The coconut topping is optional. Dark chocolate shavings or chopped pistachios would be good substitutes.


2 pints blood orange sorbet, softened until spreadable (approximately 15-20 minutes)

2 pints vanilla ice cream, softened until spreadable (approximately 15-20 minutes)

1/2 cup coconut shreds or chips (optional)

1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)


Toast the coconut: heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the coconut and salt to the skillet. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the coconut is fragrant and light brown (4 to 5 minutes). Remove coconut from the heat and allow to cool completely.

Line the interior of a 9” x 5” loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving enough overhang to cover the width and length of the pan. Make sure there are no gaps or tears in the wrap.

Spread a pint of softened blood orange sorbet evenly along the bottom of the lined loaf pan, taking care to push the sorbet to the edges and corners of the pan. Repeat by gently spreading a pint of softened vanilla ice cream on top of the blood orange layer, being careful not to mix the layers. Repeat with the second pint of blood orange sorbet. Finish with the second pint of vanilla ice cream. Sprinkle the toasted coconut evenly over top vanilla layer. Gently press coconut into top layer.

Wrap plastic overhang over top of ice cream cake. Freeze at least 4 to 6 hours. To serve, remove ice cream cake from pan, unwrap, and place on cutting board or cake plate. If the cake is stuck, dip the bottom of the loaf pan in warm water for a few seconds. Slice into 1/2 inch to 1 inch servings.

2 thoughts on “one for the weekend: pink dreamsicle ice cream cake

  1. Pingback: ice cream cake for kids and kids at heart | butter poached

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