Birthday Cake and Blackberry Ice Cream


This beyond-creamy vanilla ice cream is studded with crunchy pieces of toasted rainbow-sprinkle birthday cake. The ice cream is churned first, the birthday cake crumbles are folded in, then spooned into containers and layered with blackberry jam, ensuring that you get jam in every scoop.

Blackberry birthday cake ice cream
Photo: Photo by Adam Friedlander / Food Styling by Pearl Jones
Active Time:
35 mins
Freeze Time:
6 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 40 mins
2 pints


For the Birthday Cake Crumble

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • .33333 cup granulated sugar

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

For the Ice Cream Base

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons dry milk powder

  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum

  • 2 tablespoons tapioca syrup or light corn syrup

  • 1.3333 cups whole milk

  • 1.3333 cups heavy cream

For Assembly

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon Madagascar or other pure vanilla extract

  • ¼ teaspoon clear vanilla flavor extract (optional but highly recommended)

  • ½ cup blackberry jam (homemade or store-bought), stirred to loosen if needed


Make the birthday cake crumble

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a medium bowl using your hands, combine the flour, granulated sugar, butter, sprinkles, brown sugar, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Mix on medium speed until the butter is mostly incorporated and the batter creates pea-sized pebbles.

  2. Use your hands to break up the batter into a gravel onto the baking sheet tray. Bake until the crumble is evenly crisped and a light golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through baking, 12 to 15 minutes. Let the crumble cool completely on the baking sheet.

  3. Break up any large chunks so the crumble is a uniform pea-sized gravel. Place crumble on the baking sheet in the freezer until frozen, about 30 minutes. If not using within a few hours, transfer to a freezer-friendly container and freeze for up to 2 months.

Make the ice cream base

  1. Combine the sugar, dry milk, and xanthan gum in a small bowl and stir well. Pour the tapioca syrup into a medium pot and stir in the whole milk. Add the sugar mixture and immediately whisk vigorously until smooth. Set the pot over medium heat and cook, stirring often and adjusting the heat if necessary to prevent a simmer, until the sugar has fully dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  2. Add the cream and whisk until fully combined. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 6 hours, or for even better texture and flavor, 24 hours. It can be further stored in the fridge for up to 1 week or the freezer for up to 3 months.

  3. Measure out 3 cups of the ice cream base. Stir in the salt and vanilla extract(s) into the ice cream base. Pour the ice cream base into an ice cream maker and turn on the machine. Churn just until the mixture has the texture of soft serve, 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the machine.

  4. In one quart or two 1-pint freezer-friendly containers, alternate spoon 8 layers of the ice cream and birthday cake crumble in the quart container or 4 layers in the pint containers, drizzling about 1 tablespoon blackberry jam in a spiral over each layer. The goal is to get the perfect ratio of ice cream, crumbles, and jam in each scoop.

  5. Cover with parchment paper, pressing it to the surface of the ice cream so it adheres, then cover with a lid. It's okay if the parchment hangs over the rim. Store it in the coldest part of your freezer (farthest from the door) until firm, 6 to 8 hours. The ice cream will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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