Ice Cream Cake in a Jar is a decadent, personalized treat. Where the rich allure of double chocolate cake meets the creamy delight of homemade vanilla custard, all beautifully layered in convenient single-serve jars. This dessert is not just a treat for the palate but a feast for the eyes, making it perfect for gatherings, gifts, or indulging in a luxurious treat at home.

I’ve always loved combining simple ingredients to create something extraordinary. The Ice Cream Cake in a Jar epitomizes this passion, bringing together the comfort of chocolate cake with the elegance of vanilla custard. Each jar is a crafted experience, meant to provide a personal moment of joy that resonates with my culinary philosophy – dessert is not just food; it’s an emotion.

I love ice cream, but homemade ice cream is better than the rest! I am sure that making this homemade custard ice cream will convince you of the same. Once you are in love you should also try my Brownie Bit Frozen Custard or Reeses Sticks Frozen Custard.

serving ice cream cake in a jar

The Chemistry of Ice Cream Cake in a Jar

This dessert’s success hinges on the harmonious interplay between its components. The chocolate cake’s moist, tender crumb comes from a reaction between the acidic buttermilk and alkaline baking soda, which produces carbon dioxide and gives rise to the cake. In contrast, the vanilla custard relies on the thickening power of eggs, which coagulate when gently heated with cream, creating a rich and smooth texture. The precise temperature control during these processes ensures perfect consistency and prevents common pitfalls like a dry cake or curdled custard.

How do you ensure the custard sets properly in the jar?

The custard must be cooked to the right consistency on the stove before chilling it thoroughly. Then, it has to be churned in an ice cream maker. This makes an extra creamy and rich ice cream. Once churned, it will be the consistency of soft-served ice cream. When the jar is placed back in the freezer the ice cream will solidify.

Can this recipe be adapted for vegans?

Yes, use almond or coconut milk for the custard, and flax eggs in the cake. Vegan butter and a plant-based whipped topping can replace dairy components.

serving ice cream cake in a jar

What’s the best way to layer the ingredients without making a mess?

Use a piping bag for the custard and a cookie cutter to cut the cake into precise circles that fit perfectly into the jars. This method keeps the layers neat and tidy.

How long can these jars be stored in the freezer?

When properly sealed, the jars can be stored in the freezer for up to a month without compromising the quality or taste of the dessert. You can use any jar you would like! I love these food-grade plastic jars, but you can also make mason jar ice cream cake.

serving ice cream cake in a jar

What is in ice cream cake in a jar?

All-purpose Flour

Builds structure as it absorbs liquids and expands. All-purpose flour falls in the middle of bread flour (high in gluten) and cake flour (low in gluten). It’s exactly what it is named, all-purpose, the most universal flour that can be used in most baked goods.

Granulated Sugar

Adds sweetness, provides a caramelized flavor and crisp texture. Sugar assists with rising when creamed with butter. It helps add moisture to your treat and helps it evenly spread as it melts into a liquid in the heat of the oven. Sugar also helps with naturally preserving your baked treat.

Cocoa Powder

Provides a rich, sweet chocolate flavor. Creates a dark brown color in your treat. Absorbs water in your batter or dough at the same rate as flour. That means, if you add too much, you could end up with a dried, crumbly finished product.

Baking Powder

Puffs up your batter or dough instead of spreading it out. Baking powder contains a little bit of baking soda, an acid & cornstarch. Because of this, it only needs a liquid to react. It also consists of two different acids, so it’s double reacting. It reacts as soon as it’s mixed with a moisture and then again when it’s heated up.

Baking Soda

Elevates the pH level of your batter or dough. It increases the spread in your treat and encourages browning, which gives the crispy outside and soft inside texture that everyone loves. Baking soda needs both an acid and a liquid to react. Things that will activate your baking soda are: vinegar, fruit juice, molasses, brown sugar, tartar, buttermilk and sour cream. Baking soda only reacts once, which is right when it’s mixed into your batter or dough. The soda creates little air bubbles all throughout your treat. When the air bubbles get heated up in the oven, they expand.

Fine Sea Salt

Enhances flavor, adds balance, masks any bitter flavors. Salt is the most powerful and oldest preservative. Always make sure to use fine sea salt so it melts down at the right speed in the heat of the oven. If you use larger granule salt, it will not melt down fully when baked and will leave salt crystals throughout your treat, making it crunch like you dropped it into sand.

Hot Water

Hot or boiling water will bloom the cocoa powder, making it richer in chocolate flavor.

Vegetable Oil

100% fat, contains no water and has a higher melting point. This means it will not melt down in your oven, resulting in thicker cookies or brownies. It doesn’t help leaven your treat like butter can, so it can make your treat flatter and greasier.

Eggs

Adds both a protein (egg whites) and fat (egg yolks). The egg whites help with rising because, when foamed, little air pockets get trapped inside the egg white mixture. The water content in egg whites encourages steam while baking, which helps with gluten formation, resulting in nice and thick treats. Egg yolks have emulsifying properties that bring batters and doughs together and help them from collapsing. Unless otherwise specified, always use large eggs.

Buttermilk

Adds moisture and helps to tenderize the gluten, creating a soft crumb and tangy flavor. It also helps rise the pH level of your batter, increasing the rise from the baking powder.

Vanilla Extract

When using pure vanilla extract, as opposed to imitation flavoring, it will add the deep rich flavor that everybody wants in a treat.

Heavy Whipping Cream

Higher in fat, when churned it makes a silky smooth ice cream.

Milk

Adds moisture to the batter or dough. Milk adds protein and sugar (lactose) to your treat. It encourages browning and adds a bit more sweetness to your baked treat.

Egg Yolks

Adds a rich flavor to your frozen custard and thickens it.

serving ice cream cake in a jar

Step by Step Instructions

Cake

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
  2. In a standing mixer combine all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  3. Turn the mixer on low and pour the hot water and vegetable oil in. Turn off the mixer after you have poured both in.
  4. Add the eggs and stir until just combined.
  5. Turn the mixer on low again and pour the buttermilk in. Add the vanilla extract in after.
  6. Continue mixing until the batter is smooth.
  7. Pour the batter evenly into a 9×13 pan that has been greased and lined with parchment paper.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the cake and allow to cool in the pan. Once cooled, remove from the pan.

Vanilla Frozen Custard

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine heavy cream, milk & sugar, place over medium heat
  2. Cook until simmering
  3. While getting the mixture up to temperature, take egg yolks in a separate bowl and whisk until a little lighter in color
  4. Once cream mixture is warmed, take a ¼ measuring cup and slowly pour the cream mixture into the egg yolk whole while constantly whisking. Repeat 5 times
  5. Once the egg yolks are tempered, slowly pour egg mixture into sauce pan while constantly whisking
  6. Add vanilla and salt
  7. Simmer until thickened, stirring constantly
  8. Pour mixture into a bowl with a lid and place in fridge for 8 hours to cool, or longer. This can sit in your fridge for 2 days
  9. Once cooled, churn ice cream in a machine until frozen
  10. Can enjoy like soft serve now or place in a bowl and back in the freezer for a couple hours for a more traditional frozen ice cream

Assemble

  1. Now it’s time for the fun! Assembling is a fun project; you could even let the kids join in and help! Take the jar and turn it upside down. Press into the cake. This will cut perfect circles for you.
  2. The leftover cake that is not in circles can be crumbled and sprinkled into the jars, leaving no cake behind.
  3. Place a layer of cake at the bottom of the jar. Pour in some freshly churned frozen custard on top of the cake, the first layer of ice cream. Repeat this, 1 more cake layer topped with ice cream. You can sprinkle some cake on top if there is space in your jar. Place the lid on your jar and place in the freezer.
  4. Repeat this until all your jars are filled and your cake and custard are used. You can also get a little creative and add toppings to your jars! Adding a little chocolate sauce, melted chocolate, rainbow sprinkles, or fresh fruit will give your ice cream cake a personalized twist.
  5. Place the cake jars into the freezer and allow them to set for a couple of hours.
serving ice cream cake in a jar

Storage Tips

Keep the jars in the freezer and pull them out about 10 minutes before serving. They are best eaten within a month of preparation to enjoy the freshest taste and best texture.

Freezing Options

Assemble the jars and immediately freeze them. They are perfect for preparing ahead of an event or for having a ready-to-enjoy treat on hand.

Making Ahead

Prepare the cake and custard a day before assembly. This allows each component to cool and set properly, making the layering process smoother and cleaner.

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serving ice cream cake in a jar

Why make ice cream cake in a jar?

These ice cream cakes in a jar are just as pleasing to the eyes as they are to the tastebuds. Each layer is visible through the plastic or glass, delicious layers of chocolate cake, and creamy vanilla custard ice cream.

Recipes You May Love

Ice Cream Cake in a Jar

Author: Madison Reid
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 20
Rich, dense, and moist double chocolate cake. Layered with homemade vanilla custard. All are combined in single-serve jars.

Ingredients 

Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cup hot water
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Vanilla Custard

  • 1 batch vanilla frozen custard

Instructions

Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
  • In a standing mixer combine all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • Turn the mixer on low and pour the hot water and vegetable oil in. Turn off the mixer after you have poured both in.
  • Add the eggs and stir until just combined.
  • Turn the mixer on low again and pour the buttermilk in. Add the vanilla extract in after.
  • Continue mixing until the batter is smooth.
  • Pour the batter evenly into a 9×13 pan that has been greased and lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the cake and allow to cool in the pan. Once cooled, remove from the pan.

Vanilla Frozen Custard

  • Make and churn the custard as directed.

Assemble

  • Take the jar and turn it upside down. Press into the cake. This will cut perfect circles for you.
  • The leftover cake that is not in circles can be crumbled up and sprinkled into the jars. No cake left behind.
  • Place a layer of cake at the bottom of the jar. Pour in some freshly churned frozen custard on top of the cake. Repeat this, 1 more cake layer topped with ice cream. You can sprinkle some cake on top if there is space in your jar. Place the lid on your jar and place in the freezer.
  • Repeat this until all your jars are filled and your cake and custard is used.
  • Place the jars into the freezer and allow them to set for a couple of hours.

Nutrition

Calories: 288kcal Carbohydrates: 48g Protein: 4g Fat: 10g Saturated Fat: 2g Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g Monounsaturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0.1g Cholesterol: 27mg Sodium: 298mg Potassium: 120mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 31g Vitamin A: 66IU Vitamin C: 0.001mg Calcium: 57mg Iron: 2mg

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to see it! Follow @_mrs.madi_ on Instagram and tag your photos with #mrsmadi.

serving ice cream cake in a jar