“Guess what this cake is made of? Ice. Cream. Sandwiches.”

By Hannah Walhout
Updated June 12, 2017

Summer is here, and ice cream season is upon us. But making an ice cream cake from scratch is time-consuming—and we all know the store-bought versions can be a recipe for a stomachache.

Mad Genius to the rescue! Justin Chapple, Food & Wine Deputy Test Kitchen Editor, is back this week with another killer kitchen hack. “I love classic ice cream sandwiches,” says Justin. “There is something so nostalgic about them.” And he has just the recipe to feed your inner child—an ice cream cake made of store-bought ice cream sandwiches, that requires just minutes of prep time.

Start with rectangular ice cream sandwiches—easier to stack—and some buttercream frosting (looking for a recipe? Check this one out). Spread some buttercream onto a chilled plate and lay down three sandwiches side-by-side for the first layer—the buttercream will help them stay in place. Top with an even coating of frosting before starting the second story, alternating the direction that the sandwiches are facing (like Jenga) to ensure stability.

Once you have your desired number of layers (Justin suggests four) it’s time to add the finishing touches. Spread the remaining buttercream in a thin coat over the top and sides of your stack, and pop into the freezer for it to set. Once chilled, add a final layer of buttercream, top with sprinkles (or the garnish of your choice—Nuts? Crushed candy bars? Do what you want—it’s your ice cream cake!) and put it back in the freezer for its final firming-up.

“Just as I promised,” says Justin, “it is PACKED with ice cream sandwiches.” What’s not to love?

We suggest eating a slice outside with a frozen drink in hand for an indulgent warm-weather treat. Feeling ambitious? Try out this recipe using homemade ice cream sandwiches.

And for more kitchen hacks, check out the rest of Food & Wine’s Mad Genius Tips.