Who doesn’t love a little ice cream? Or, better yet, ice cream cake. This delicious dessert combines the best of cold and warm sweets to create the perfect layer cake. In this article, our experts rank all the best bakeries known for their ice cream cakes.
Childhood always has its share of ups and downs. However, once a year there was always one sure-fire delight that never failed to put a smile on our faces. Yup, you guessed it: birthday parties. Although the presents, friends, and games were always nice, our favorite part of birthday celebrations was the moment mom and dad carried out the birthday cake to the table.
We admit it, we’re a little obsessed with desserts and are not ashamed to flaunt our sweet tooth. Since we were young, birthday cakes have been an incomparable joy in our lives that we now, as adults, love to share with our friends, family, and readers.
However, there remains one dessert that trumps even a birthday cake. Yes, you heard us right. Above all other desserts, one dessert truly reigns supreme. It is both cold and warm, mushy and firm, and sweet throughout. Can you guess which? It’s ice cream cake. From the first bite of our first slice, we knew that ice cream cakes were the hands-down best treat in the world.
Feeling hungry for a slice of ice cream cake yet? If not, you will soon. In this article, our dessert experts share their experience touring the country to find the best ice cream cakes. After weeks of trawling every corner of the continent for the ultimate ice cream cake, they put together this handy guide to the best bakeries that specialize in making ice cream cakes.
1. Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream
2. The Creole Creamy
3. Homer's Ice Cream
4. IcI Ice Cream
5. Amy's Ice Cream
6. Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream
7. Scoops Westside
8. Leopold's Ice Cream
9. Sweet Republic
10. Richardson's Ice Cream
Ice Cream Cake 101
The history of ice cream cakes dates to the Victorian era when English bakers began crafting desserts that consisted of molded ice cream and fruit. Whereas ice cream was (and still is) typically eaten with a cone or in a bowl, this variation was sliced, served onto plates, and eaten with a knife and fork.
The earliest written recipes for ice cream cakes originate in the 1870s. These recipes were far from what we are accustomed to today. This is because their recipes were made mainly with biscuits and cream rather than regular ice cream or cake batter. Nonetheless, the treat quickly gained popularity and, over the years, became the dessert we all know and love.
Today, the ice cream cake has evolved. Most modern ice cream cakes primarily consist of hard ice cream shaped in the form of a round cake or pastry. Each ice cream cake is layered with either sponge cake, cookie crumbles, gooey filling or cake batter. Alternatively, some ice cream cakes consist of a standard three-layer cake, with the middle layer being made of ice cream.
Although not very popular in Europe, ice cream cakes are a wedding and birthday party staple in North America and Australia, especially those in the summertime. However, ice cream cakes are the standard form of birthday cake in Australia no matter what time of year.
The Ice Cream Cake Revolution
The recent popularity of ice cream cakes in the United States is the result of a few private corporations. For example, the American ice cream franchise Carvel introduced several popular television characters such as Cookie Puss and Fudgy the Whale which helped popularize commercial ice cream cakes for kids throughout the country.
The Puss and Whale ice cream treats were two separate varieties of small, novelty ice cream cakes sold in supermarkets throughout the country. Thanks to their regular appearance in commercials during children’s TV shows, more and more kids started asking their parents for Carvel’s anthropomorphized ice cream cakes.
Around the same time that Carvel’s cartoon characters were introduced to the American public, popular ice cream shops like Baskin-Robbins, Cold Stone Creamery, and Dairy Queen started selling ice cream cakes. Once the major American ice cream chains started stocking their freezers with them, ice cream cakes became a mainstay at birthday parties across the country.
How We Chose Our Ratings
At Dessert Menus, we always go out of our way to win your trust. That is why we pledge always to provide independent and bias-free ratings and reviews. No matter if it is a gourmet restaurant, bakery, or a supermarket snack, we promise to never accept financial contributions from those who make or own the products or companies we review.
When we write our reviews, we consider a wide variety of factors. For instance, we account for cost, overall quality, wait time, cleanliness and presentation, aesthetic designs, and much more. By reviewing the products and companies from a diversity of angles, we believe we arrive at the most accurate ratings possible.
The Best Ice Cream Cake Bakeries: The Ultimate List
Now, let us move on to the sweet spot of today’s article. After spending weeks touring the country in search of the finest bakeries for ice cream cakes, we think we found the best of the best. Believe it or not, we sampled ice cream cakes from nearly 50 bakeries—and we still have an appetite for some more. Our favorite bakeries are ranked below.
10. Richardson’s Ice Cream
This little ice cream shop and bakery located in Middleton, Massachusetts is a hidden gem. Richardson’s Ice Cream is located on a family-owned farm that has been in business since 1695. Their legendary ice cream stand sells classic hard ice cream and beautiful, rich ice cream cakes. Although they lack regarding selection, the taste is to die for.
The milk, cream, and butter are sourced from the cows kept on the farm. You can tell that there is hardly anything processed, refined, or mass produced about this little ice cream vendor. If you can’t make it to their shop in Middleton, you can also check out the independent supermarkets around Essex County, as they are known to carry Richardson’s products from time to time.
9. Sweet Republic
Located in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona, Sweet Republic is one of the premier artisan ice cream and bake shops in the American Southwest. This Scottsdale sweet shop is an awesome attraction for the family if you want to have an outing that the kids will love. From the moment you walk through the doors, you are welcomed by the sweet smell of freshly made ice cream.
Although the cones were our favorite, the ice cream cakes were almost as good. Sweet Republic’s ice cream cakes are homemade right in their Scottsdale kitchen and feature over a dozen delectable varieties. From Salted Butter Caramel Swirl to Banana Foster, there is an ice cream cake available for every kind of sweet tooth.
8. Leopold’s Ice Cream
Unlike most other bakeries or ice cream shops, Leopold’s Ice Cream has a diverse menu including classic diner fare and sandwiches. Although their lunch and dinner meals are great, their ice cream cakes are the main attraction. Located in Savannah, Georgia, Leopold’s Ice Cream has been making ice cream-based cakes for nearly a century.
Their experience in the industry is evident from the moment you first take a bite. Their ice cream cakes are wonderfully decorated and feature elegant designs and shaved toppings. Available in several different shapes and formats, their ice cream cakes are made-to-order and can be customized according to the buyer’s preference. Plus, they cater too!
7. Scoops Westside
The pride of Oakland, California, Scoops Westside is a fantastic hole in the wall that offers loads of different ice cream varieties by the spoonful. Scoops Westside also specializes in ice cream cakes, from come in various shapes and sizes. We ordered an extra large red velvet Oreo ice cream cake and we were blown away by how rich and decadent it was.
Be warned: the portions at Scoops Westside are larger than what you might expect. We arrived at the shop with a crew of seven people and after snacking on our ice cream cake all afternoon, we still could not get half of it down. The folks at Scoops Westside do not cut corners, because their cakes are made with real, wholesome ingredients that are heavy and fulfilling.
6. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio is a local treasure that deserves to be visited at your first opportunity. Unlike most other bakeries or ice cream shops, Jeni’s is famous for their prompt delivery and catering. Best of all, they offer plenty of take-home options available in Ben and Jerry’s style single-serve ice cream containers.
The basis of a good ice cream cake is good ice cream. After all, it would be hard to make a bad ice cream cake with delicious ice cream. Although we would have liked to have had more flavor options, the quality of Jeni’s ice cream cakes is hard to beat.
5. Amy’s Ice Creams
With three locations across Texas, Amy’s Ice Creams is hands-down one of the best in the south. With cones, pastries, and cakes to choose from, we guarantee you will be leaving Amy’s sweet shop wanting to return and try what else is in store.
What impressed us the most about Amy’s Ice Creams is the fact that they offer a whopping 350 flavors year-round. Compared to the standard 10 to 15 flavors available at most other shops, Amy’s Ice Creams blows the competition away. Plus, their ice cream cakes are made in-store as soon as they are ordered and have the perfect sweet and flaky combination.
4. Ici Ice Cream
Ici Ice Cream is one of California’s premier ice cream and bake shops. Founded in 2006 by Mary Canales, a local gourmet pastry chef, Ici Ice Cream has become a popular summertime attraction in downtown Berkeley.
Do not be fooled by the small size of this boutique bakery and ice cream shop. Mary’s ice cream is among the best we had during our tour of the west coast, and we look forward to returning to it again soon. Be sure to order the chicory cookies ice cream cake if you want a taste of Mary’s finest work.
3. Homer’s Ice Cream
A local treasure trove of desserts, Homer’s Ice Cream is the finest ice cream and bake shop in Wilmette, Illinois. Owner Gus Poulos first opened Homer’s doors in 1935 and the establishment has seen nothing but success ever since. Although their most popular product is their signature 9-Pack Ice Cream Pints, their ice cream cakes are a close second.
If you have the privilege of stopping by Homer’s, we recommend giving their apple cinnamon ice cream cake a try. This ice cream cake is loaded with freshly ground cinnamon, real chunks of apple, and broken graham crackers for the perfect cold and crunchy experience.
2. The Creole Creamery
With two locations in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Creole Creamery is a legend in the “big easy.” For years, the Creole Creamery has supplied tourists and locals alike with some of the best ice cream in the world. Although their prices are not low, this creamery and bake shop is well worth the expense.
Offering only gourmet flavor selections, Creole Creamery is for those with expensive tastes and an insatiable sweet tooth. If you have the pleasure of checking out what’s in store at Creole Creamery, we recommend choosing one of their many seasonal ice cream cake flavors such as Azuki Bean or “A Chocwork Orange.”
1. Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream
Last on our list is Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream, one of the world’s premier ice cream and bake shops. Although not a bakery per se, this ice cream parlor is renowned for its sweets of all kinds. With two locations in Maine and one in Washington, D.C., Mt. Desert is rapidly expanding into one of the largest ice cream shops in the American Northeast.
They roast their vanilla beans on-site and churn their butterfat by hand. With Mt. Desert, you can rest assured that you will be receiving the best ice cream cake that money can buy. If you want an ice cream cake made with real ingredients at budget-friendly prices, Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream is your one-stop shop.