How To Make an Allergy Friendly, Dairy Free Ice Cream Cake

Birthday parties and ice cream cake go hand in hand. Especially Neapolitan ice cream cake with it’s three layers of different ice cream flavours. When you have food allergies, especially a milk allergy, having a slice of ice cream cake is something you get used to missing out on. Why not make your own allergy friendly, dairy free ice cream cake instead? This is how we make our own layered version for birthdays and other celebrations.

Allergy friendly dairy free ice cream cake with birthday candles and stack of white plates

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Tools you’ll need

The most important piece of kitchen equipment you’ll need to make this layered ice cream cake is a small (20cm or 8 inch) springform pan. Please don’t try and use a normal cake tin without the removable bottom. If you do, you’ll have enormous trouble getting the cake out easily.

You’ll also need some grease proof baking paper to line the bottom of the tin. (I like to use the Australian brand Glad to be Green bake and cooking paper which is compostable for a more environmentally friendly option. If You Care parchment paper is an equivalent available elsewhere).

Other than that you’ll just need:

  • a silicone spatula to scrape the ice cream out of the tubs and to flatten the layers of ice cream in the tin.
  • a small heatproof bowl to melt the chocolate
  • teaspoon for drizzling chocolate over the finished cake

Ingredients

This is the cheat’s way to make an ice cream cake, so you aren’t going to need many ingredients. Just:

  • 3 x 500ml (approximately 1 pint) dairy free ice cream; and
  • 100g melted dairy free chocolate to decorate the finished cake.

Allergy friendly dairy free ice cream

To make a layered cake you’ll need to choose 3 of your favourite ready-made allergy-friendly ice cream flavours.

There are so many different brands of dairy free and vegan ice cream available now. Even supermarkets are making their own brand vegan ice creams with non-dairy milk base like soy, coconut or oat. The most important thing about buying ready made ice cream is to read the labels very carefully and make sure that there are none of your own allergens in the ingredients. For example, dairy free ice cream is often made with soy or almond milk. Pay attention to “may contain” statements too, especially for ingredients like tree nuts and peanuts. Don’t forget that “vegan” doesn’t always mean safe for milk or egg allergies either. (See our post – Is vegan food always dairy and egg free?)

Hopefully you have a go to brand of ice cream or sorbet that you can use to make your ice cream cake. Of course you can make your own dairy free ice cream (“nice cream”) if you prefer. The instructions to assemble your cake will still be the same.

Choose 3 flavours that go well together. Combinations we’ve used before are:

  • traditional chocolate, strawberry and vanilla;
  • fruity lemon, mango and coconut; and
  • vanilla, coffee and cookies and cream.

Allergy friendly dairy free chocolate

You can decorate the finished cake however you prefer. But we like to drizzle the top with melted allergy friendly, dairy free chocolate in a criss-cross pattern. The melted chocolate sets hard very quickly on top of the ice cream and gives the cake a great finish. You can use dark, milk-alternative or white chocolate, or a combination.

Our favourite brand of allergy-safe chocolate for our family is Sweet William. This Australian brand is made in a nut free facility, but it does contain soy. Other well known allergy friendly brands you could use are Plamil or Moo Free chocolate. Again, just make sure to check the ingredients carefully to make sure the chocolate you use is safe for your particular allergies.

Adding allergy-friendly dairy free ice cream to a spring form tin with a pink spatula on a wooden background
How to make an allergy-friendly dairy free ice cream cake

How to make your ice cream cake

Creating the ice cream layers

Take one 500ml (1 pint) tub of ice cream out of the freezer and allow to soften slightly.

Grease the sides of the springform pan with a little low flavour vegetable oil (I use canola). Line the base with baking (parchment) paper.

When the first tub of ice cream has softened, scoop into the prepared pan and flatten with a silcone spatula to create an even layer. Place the pan in the freezer and remove the second tub of ice cream to soften.

After about 20 minutes, take the pan out of the freezer and scoop the second tub of ice cream over the first layer. Use the spatula to smooth and create a second even layer. Return the pan to the freezer and remove the third tub of ice cream to soften.

After about 20 minutes, take the pan out of the freezer and scoop the third tub of ice cream over the second layer. Use the spatula to smooth and create a third even layer. Return the pan to the freezer for at least 1 hour .

Decorating your ice cream cake

Once the three layers of ice cream have hardened, remove the pan from the freezer. Leave to sit for a few minutes. Remove the ice cream from the pan gently by undoing the spring clasp to loosen the edges. You may need to run a sharp knife around the pan edge to ensure that the ice cream doesn’t stick to the pan. The cake should slide out easily.

Break the dairy free chocolate into small pieces and melt in a small heatproof bowl (either over hot water or in the microwave on low temperature for about 2 minutes, stirring regularly).

Place the ice cream cake on your choice or plate or cake stand and drizzle with melted chocolate. The chocolate will set almost immediately. Your allergy friendly and dairy free ice cream cake is now ready to serve, with or without candles!

Notes:

  • Time taken for the ice cream to soften may vary depending om the temperature. As a guide, the ice cream should be soft enough to spread but not runny. 
  • You can return the decorated cake to the freezer if you are planning to serve later the same day.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut and serve the finished cake.
  • Left over ice cream cake (if there is any!) can be placed in an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to a week.

More about milk allergies

If you have a milk allergy, you can probably relate to some of these common mistakes people make- 6 Milk Allergy Myths.

You can find more allergy friendly recipes, free from common allergy ingredients including milk, on our recipe page.

allergy friendly dairy free ice cream cake with candles
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5 from 3 votes

How to make an allergy friendly dairy free ice cream cake

Make your own allergy friendly layered ice cream cake for birthdays and other celebrations
Prep Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Australian
Keyword: allergy-friendly, dairy free, easy, egg free, gluten free, nut free, peanut free, vegan, vegetarian
Yield: 1 cake

Equipment

  • 1 20cm (8 inch) spring form cake pan
  • non-stick baking paper to line
  • silcone spatula
  • small heat proof bowl for melting chocolate
  • teaspoon

Materials

  • 3 500g tubs diary free, allergy-friendly ice cream (3 flavours) Check labelling carefully to ensure free from your allergens
  • 100 g dairy free, allergy-friendly chocolate Check labelling carefully to ensure free from your allergens

Instructions

  • Take one 500ml (1 pint) tub of ice cream out of the freezer and allow to soften slightly.
  • Grease the sides of the springform pan with a little low flavour vegetable oil (I use canola). Line the base with baking (parchment) paper.
  • When the first tub of ice cream has softened, scoop into the prepared pan and flatten with a silcone spatula to create an even layer. Place the pan in the freezer and remove the second tub of ice cream to soften.
  • After about 20 minutes, take the pan out of the freezer and scoop the second tub of ice cream over the first layer. Use the spatula to smooth and create a second even layer. Return the pan to the freezer and remove the third tub of ice cream to soften.
  • After about 20 minutes, take the pan out of the freezer and scoop the third tub of ice cream over the second layer. Use the spatula to smooth and create a third even layer. Return the pan to the freezer for at least 1 hour.
  • Once the three layers of ice cream have hardened, remove the pan from the freezer. Leave to sit for a few minutes. Remove the ice cream from the pan gently by undoing the spring clasp to loosen the edges. You may need to run a sharp knife around the pan edge to ensure that the ice cream doesn't stick to the pan. The cake should slide out easily.
  • Break the dairy free chocolate into small pieces and melt in a small heatproof bowl (either over hot water or in the microwave on low temperature for about 2 minutes, stirring regularly).
  • Place the ice cream cake on your choice or plate or cake stand and drizzle with melted chocolate. The chocolate will set almost immediately. Your allergy friendly and dairy free ice cream cake is now ready to serve, with or without candles!

Notes

  • Time taken for the ice cream to soften may vary depending om the temperature. As a guide, the ice cream should be soft enough to spread but not runny. 
  • You can return the decorated cake to the freezer if you are planning to serve later the same day.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut and serve the finished cake.
  • Left over ice cream cake (if there is any!) can be placed in an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to a week.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Rachel

    5 stars
    Your tips make this sound like a really simple process, I’m always worried ice cream will melt too fast but I think I’ll give this a go with your recipe, thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Rachael

    Such a great idea. Ice cream cake is a favorite in our house. I’ve never thought to make an allergy-free one. I am definitely going to do this for my husband’s birthday! He will be so excited!

  3. Martina

    5 stars
    I honestly have never tried making ice cream cake, and I’m so glad I came across this recipe blog! I can’t wait to try this with my family this weekend xx

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