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Monday, May 2, 2022

Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake Vs. Homemade Ice Cream Cake

homemade ice cream cake before fudge topping

In my weekly meal post on Friday, I mentioned the ice cream cake that we had for our joint birthday celebration (husband and self). I know that Dairy Queen cakes are a popular item for many families. And they are quite good I think. However, as we were trying to keep our food costs down for our little party, and as I did have homemade ice cream waiting in the freezer, making our own ice cream cake seemed like a good use of our supplies and budget.

A note, our ice cream cake wasn't a replica of a DQ one. Dairy Queen cakes have a cake layer, some sort of mid-layer like cookie crumbs, an ice cream layer and frosting or whipped topping (I'm not sure). Our homemade cake had a cake layer bottom, ice cream layer top, and a hot fudge sauce topping served on each slice. I opted for a hot fudge topping instead of icing or whipped topping as it was easier and we had everything we needed on hand. Our homemade version was definitely a simplified ice cream cake. But simple meant it was more do-able.

To make this cake even less daunting to prepare, my steps were both spread out and helped along by other family members. I had made a chocolate fudge brownie ice cream in late February, using whipping cream, cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, and a 1/4 batch of homemade brownies cut into dices. I kept this ice cream in the deep freeze for these weeks, waiting for our birthdays. My daughters baked the cake layer in a springform pan the day before our celebration. After taking the cake out of the pan to cool, I washed and dried the pan, readying it for assembling the ice cream cake. Later that day (when the single cake layer was cooled), I put the cake back into the springform pan and spread the ice cream (softened up in the microwave briefly) onto the cake. I wrapped the base of the spring form pan in plastic as the ice cream was leaking a bit. I popped the cake back into the deep freeze overnight. The next morning I made a hot fudge topping (sugar, water, cocoa powder, salt — bring to boil, stir in slurry of corn starch/water, bring back to boil, cook 2-3 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat, stir in half-cup of chocolate chips — improves the texture IMO). I scooped the topping into a pitcher, reheating it in the microwave just before pouring onto individual servings of ice cream cake. The whole cake was very do-able, perhaps not as "fancy" as a DQ cake, but do-able and economical. It was a help that my daughters baked the cake layer. However, if I had to do all of the cake on my own, I could have baked the cake layer a week or so in advance and kept it in the freezer until I was ready to assemble the cake.

A cost comparison

As far as being frugal, I estimated our homemade ice cream cake, including the hot fudge topping, cost between $3.50 and $4.00 and had 7-8 servings at about 50 cents per serving. A Dairy Queen cake runs about $35 and serves 8-10 at about $3.50 per serving. When I did the math on serving cost of the DQ cake I was shocked. I know these cakes are very popular. I just couldn't imagine paying that much per serving for a birthday cake.

The ice cream cake wow-ed my family. And truly, this was easier than baking a traditional frosted cake and having ice cream on the side.

20 comments:

  1. Wow! I am shocked at the DQ cake cost. I certainly won't be buying one. However, yours sound so appetizing. I think we will have to have one the next special occasion. I also plan to try your hot fudge sauce for other uses. It actually sounds pretty easy. And I like easy plus affordable. The ingredients are always on hand here. Thanks for sharing how you did this.

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    1. Hi Linda,
      We all really enjoyed the ice cream cake. It was a refreshing change from all of the cake cakes. I hope you enjoy the hot fudge sauce. My family really loves it and it's very easy.

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  2. We have had Dairy Queen cakes in the past, but they cost about 1/3 the cost of a present day one. I am surprised at the cost. I like the cookie crumble layer on the Dairy Queen Cake, but I would like the hot fudge even better. BTW, we had a party over the weekend and got a layer cake from Costco and it turned out to be 42 cents/serving. The cakes are quite good with a mousse layer between cake layers and custom decoration. However, unless you have a crowd, it's way more cake than you would need.

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    1. Live and Learn. I agree re: the Costco cake. For my parents' 60th wedding anniversary, we got the cake from Costco which was the first time for me. It was delicious and so moist with the mousse layer in the middle and they decorated it nicely. It was quite a hit with our partygoers, was economical and definitely worked for a crowd!

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    2. Hi Live and Learn,
      I've had Costco cakes for events at our church before. I agree, they are quite good and much improved over standard grocery store cakes, with the mousse filling. That's good to hear that they're quite affordable per serving when feeding a large group. Thanks for doing the math for us.

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  3. As we were looking at photos to prep for mom's funeral my kids made notice of all the kinds of cakes I made for them when they were little for their birthdays. Oh, I remember an ice cream cake that I made that was the first time I made it. I sliced a 9 x 13 cake horizontally then put the ice cream in the middle. I remember the mess of trying to get the top half on and it broke several times so I had to piece it together. It still was a bit hit and delicious! Next time I should probably just stay with a simpler version! I also remember going to Cold Stone to buy an ice cream cake but it was inside a casino that was full of cigarette smoke and ended up not buying it because I thought the cake might taste like cigarettes.

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    1. Alice, did your mom pass away or are you planning ahead for the funeral? I know it's been a tough season for you and you have been in my thoughts and prayers.

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    2. Yes, mom passed away early Saturday morning very quietly and peacefully!

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    3. My sympathy, Alice! Losing a parent is so very hard. You will be in.my prayers.

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    4. Alice, I'm so sorry for the loss of your mother. I knew from your comments that her time was getting short. I'm glad she had a quiet and peaceful end. Peace and sympathy to you and your family.

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    5. Hi Alice,
      You and your family continue to be in my prayers. The memories that you, your husband and kids have of times with your mom are precious. You all did well to honor her wishes for her last days and hours before her time to be with the Lord.
      I'm glad your kids can look back at all of those birthday cake memories. Your ice cream cake sounds like it was really appreciated. I'm afraid I just went with simple.

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    6. Alice, you will continue to be in my prayers.

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    7. Alice, praying for continued strength during this time.

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  4. I buy ice cream bars in place of cake and make a mini tour alternating with whipped cream.Both bought at Aldi and just kept frozen for few hours.Probably not just economical as homemade or healthy, just a quick fix and def not in the store bought price category

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    1. Hi friend,
      Now that sounds like an interesting way to make an ice cream cake! It reminds me a little of icebox cakes, although those aren't made with ice cream, but some sort of plain cookie, like vanilla wafers. Anyway, you spread whipped cream on vanilla wafers, stacking them, making a tower. Then you turn the tower on its side and spread the whole thing with more whipped cream and refrigerate overnight. The whipped cream softens the cookies up so they're cake-like. Very good and very easy.
      Thanks for sharing your version of an ice cream cake.

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  5. I'm definitely in Camp DIY when it comes to birthday cakes. I have a recipe that I've used a few times--it isn't really a cake--it's crushed Oreos mixed with butter for the crust, a layer of ice cream, a layer of frozen whipped topping, a layer of hot fudge (or whatever flavor you want--I've used caramel instead upon occasion) and some of the Oreo crumbs on top. Always a hit and it's much much more economical. Lili, your cake dessert sounds yummy and I would have happily shared it with you! :)

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    1. Hi Kris,
      Your cakes sounds yummy! Do you make this in a springform pan, freeze, and then un-mold to slice? I can just imagine how pretty it must look with all of the layers. And it sounds easy to do, too. Thanks for sharing this idea!

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    2. Oh, nothing that pretty, although that's a good idea. This is made in a 13x9 pan and I leave it in the pan and allow it to sit out for 20-30 minutes before I slice it up. It makes a lot and even with friends over, we've never eaten all the way through it, so I just pop the pan back in the freezer to finish up at a later time.

      I've learned the hard way that when assembling, I need to have the ice cream really soft, and then I freeze it before I add the whipped topping. Otherwise it's a mess.

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  6. Lili, your cake definitely looks delicious. I may think about an ice cream cake the next one I make.

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    1. Hi Lynn,
      Thank you. We all enjoyed it very much. If you make an ice cream cake, share with us what you choose for layers. The possibilities are endless.

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