I Tried 6 Different Ice Cream Cakes (Available Nationwide) — And One Clear Winner Emerged

updated Jul 30, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

When was the last time you had an ice cream cake? Usually limited to birthdays or other special celebrations, most of us typically only get to enjoy ice cream cake on rare occasions. But it’s August, so why not trade in your average cup or cone for a slice of ice cream cake?

I tried cakes from six major ice cream retailers to deliver the scoop on the best ones. Can you guess which one takes the cake?

How I Tested the Ice Cream Cakes

Because each brand offers so many different types of cakes and flavors, I decided to limit myself to as classic of ice cream cake flavors as possible, which, based on my many years of ice cream cake consumption, means some variation of chocolate, vanilla, and chocolate cookies. I decided not to include cakes with actual cake in them, as not all of the brands I wanted to try offer them. Finally, although there are lots of local ice cream shops that I’m sure make a delicious cake, I decided to limit my test to larger nationwide chains that are accessible to most of our readers.

I judged each cake based on the quality and flavor of the ice cream itself, the distribution and quality of the filling, the icing, and the overall visual appeal. There was one clear winner. Let’s take a look.

The Best Store-Bought Ice Cream Cake: Fudgie the Whale from Carvel

Sue me for choosing arguably the most well-known ice cream cake as my number-one choice! But it was really Fudgie who won me over. This was my first time trying Carvel’s iconic Fudgie the Whale cake, who is more than 40 years old. (Fun fact: The Fudgie mold moonlights as Santa during Christmastime.)

True to his name, Fudgie has a higher proportion of chocolate-to-vanilla ice cream, along with a solid layer of chocolate crunch. The entire cake has a glossy coating of chocolate fudge that somehow doesn’t freeze, but rather oozes all over. This fudge ties everything together and tastes way better than the traditional whipped icing.

I could have used just a little more cake crunch in the middle layer, but between the fudge layer and the fun shape, you really can’t go wrong with Fudgie the Whale.

The Takeaway

Although they all have their strengths and weaknesses, it’s hard to go wrong with an ice cream cake. Whether it comes from nostalgia, novelty, or just a love of ice cream, ice cream cakes spark a special brand of joy in the people you choose to share them with.

Try making your own: How To Make an Ice Cream Cake