You’ve had chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches before, so you have some idea of how delicious these will be. But Melissa Ben-Ishay’s inventive ice cream sandwiches use thick, soft rounds of chocolate chip pancake cake instead of cookies, which take these to another (ingenious) level. The fluffy, sweet cake tastes like a cross between a classic vanilla cake and beloved breakfast pancakes, with a touch of maple syrup mixed in to bridge the gap. Chocolate or vanilla ice cream tastes great, but try sandwiching other flavors too, and decorate with whatever you fancy. You could try making the pancake cake with blueberries or bananas instead of (or in addition to) chocolate chips as well.
As the author points out, these are great for a party—you could set up a buffet with different ice cream flavors and toppings and let everyone make their own. You could also make this cake in a waffle iron for actual waffles with ice cream. See a couple more deliciously whimsical desserts from Melissa: her Doughnut Cake with Matcha Glaze recipe and her Vanilla Cupcakes with Peanut Butter and Jelly recipe.
For the pancake cake:
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk (or buttermilk)
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
- 2 boxes store-bought pancake mix (plus required ingredients)
- semisweet or milk chocolate chips
For the ice cream sandwiches:
- 1 recipe Pancake Cake
- store-bought super-premium ice cream in chocolate, vanilla, or flavor of your choice
- hot fudge, maple syrup, rainbow sprinkles, or whatever toppings you like
Make the pancake cake:
- Have all your ingredients at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a half sheet pan (18 × 13 inches) or line the pan with wax paper or parchment and butter the paper.
- With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 1 minute on high speed, then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Add the sugar to the butter and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
- With the mixer on medium- low speed, add the vanilla; then add the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl midway through.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, and sea salt in a separate bowl.
- With the mixer on low speed, add half the flour mixture. When it’s mostly incorporated, add half the milk. Add the remainder of the dry and wet ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Stop mixing as soon as you have a smooth batter.
- Mix the pancake batter according to the directions on the box. Add the pancake batter to the cake batter and mix on low speed until blended.
- Pour the combined batter into the prepared pan. If you are adding chocolate chips, bake the cake for 10 minutes, then pull it from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the middle of the cake feels springy when you gently press your finger against it. All ovens are different, so it’s important to do the fingerprint test to see if the cake is done. Let the cake cool completely before icing.
- Allow cake to cool completely before making ice cream sandwiches.
Assemble the ice cream sandwiches:
- Use 3 1/2-inch round cookie or biscuit cutters to cut out as many rounds of cake as the pan allows.
- Scoop out the ice cream, put the scoops on a sheet pan, and put it back in the freezer so it’s not melty when you assemble the sandwiches. The harder the ice cream, the better—you want it to keep its shape until it’s served.
- When ready to serve, sandwich a scoop of ice cream between two cake rounds, and garnish with toppings of your choice.