This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.
Reese’s Ice Cream Cake is homemade, but you don’t need an ice cream maker! There are only seven simple ingredients in this epic frozen dessert. Peanut butter cup ice cream with peanut butter ripples, all topped with chocolate ganache and fresh whipped cream makes this one of the best easy no-churn ice cream cake recipes ever!
Originally published on September 17, 2013. Updated on July 5th, 2017.
Reese’s Ice Cream Cake Dairy Queen Copycat
Several years ago, it was my husband’s birthday. I forget why, but it was a particularly terrible week and I never even made him a special birthday dinner (we did go our for barbecue – I’m not that bad!). So you can bet I didn’t make him a birthday cake. Or even birthday cake ice cream.
I ended up buying a Dairy Queen Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard Ice Cream Cake. It was yummy, but as if I didn’t feel bad enough, they spelled his name wrong. His name is Bill – tough one there, right?
Wait, there’s more! I sent my mom to pick up the cake, and she told the guy his name while she was IN.THE.STORE. It wasn’t even like it was a bad cell phone connection. And he spelled the name wrong.
This is what we got…
Naturally I had to make up for it. That’s where this Reese’s Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake comes in. A much tastier and prettier version of what I bought. And I made this one completely from scratch! Nope, it’s not made with cartons of ice cream. But no, it doesn’t involve cooking custard and churning in an ice cream machine either.
It starts with NO-CHURN ICE CREAM!
Why this recipe works
Many Reeses Ice Cream Cake recipes tell you to start with a carton of ice cream, let it soften, then mix in some stuff and re-freeze it. I am a bit of an ice cream snob, and personally, thawed and re-frozen ice cream just doesn’t have the right texture. It looses some of the creaminess and airy consistency that makes ice cream so perfect.
You don’t need an ice cream maker
That’s right, no fancy gadgets or appliances, and no fussing with tempering eggs to make a custard base.
Have you made no-churn ice cream? It starts with just two ingredients – heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk – but the flavor possibilities are endless. I’ve made everything from mint chocolate chip ice cream to pumpkin ice cream. But if you take a look at my most basic flavor, Vanilla Cheesecake Ice Cream, I tell you all of the details to make it perfectly.
Seriously, though, it’s so easy you don’t even need all of those details. Basically you whip the cream, fold in the sweetened condensed milk, and freeze it.
It’s loaded with chocolate and peanut butter
In this case, though, peanut butter is mixed with the sweetened condensed milk to give the entire ice cream a peanut butter flavor. Then even more is swirled through it into ripples, and let’s not forget all the Reese’s making it utterly peanut buttery!
Then let’s not forget the simple chocolate ganache slathered over the top!
Can you believe that slice of awesomeness is totally homemade, but only requires seven ingredients?! Some of them do double-duty in the different parts of the cake, but it’s really just a few items to add to your shopping list.
- Heavy cream: You’ll need a total of about 2 pints. One pint goes into the no-churn ice cream for the cake, some is used to make the chocolate ganache, and most of what’s left is for the whipped cream you’ll use to cover the cake.
- Sweetened condensed milk: One can will do.
- Vanilla extract: I always recommend the good stuff for the best flavor, especially if you need to make sure it is gluten free. Some is for the cake and the rest goes into the whipped cream.
- Creamy peanut butter: I suppose you could use chunky, but I think creamy works best. Some is used to flavor the ice cream, and the rest is swirled through for a lovely ripple of peanut butter.
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: You’ll need about 20 of the miniature size, coarsely chopped, to go into the cake. Then you can use more to decorate it.
- Semisweet chocolate chips: These will be combined with some of the heavy cream to make the ganache layer.
- Powdered sugar: Whip this up with some of the cream and a splash of vanilla to frost your cake.
How to Make a Reese’s Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake
You’ll get all the details in the recipe card, but here is a quick overview just to show you how simple it really is. Make sure you read my tips and tricks!
Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with plastic wrap. Place a glass or metal bowl in the freezer.
Make the ice cream mixture
In one bowl, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks using a stand mixer or the whisk attachment on a hand mixer. In another bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and peanut butter until smooth. Fold the sweetened condensed milk mixture into the whipped cream, then fold in dollops of peanut butter and the chopped Reese’s. Spread it into the prepared pan and freeze.
Make the chocolate ganache
Place the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 1 minute (or heat the cream in a small saucepan and pour over the chips). Whisk until smooth and cool to room temperature. Spread it over the top of the cake and return to the freezer.
Make the whipped cream
Whip heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract to stiff peaks. Unmold the cake and remove the plastic wrap. Spread over the frozen cake, piping on any designs, if desired and decorating with more peanut butter cups, if you like. Freeze for another couple of hours.
Slice and enjoy!
If needed, you can run your knife under hot water to make it easier to slice. Keep leftovers in the freezer. If tightly wrapped, it will keep for a week or two… if it lasts that long!
Tips for Success
It really doesn’t get easier, but a few simple tricks will ensure perfection.
Use the right pan
I find that a 9-inch springform pan makes the perfect size ice cream cake for this amount of ingredients. You can use a smaller or larger diameter if you want it taller or thiner. Lining the sides and bottom make it easy to unmold the cake and place it on a serving plate.
Chill your bowl
I like to put a metal or glass bowl in the freezer for a bit before whipping cream. That and ensuring the heavy cream is very cold will make it easier to achieve those peaks
When folding the cream and sweetened condensed milk or adding in the peanut butter swirls and Reese’s, be sure to fold gently so you don’t deflate the cream. This will give you the creamiest, dreamiest final product.
- Make sure you have plenty of Reese’s!
- Rather than hauling out the giant stand mixer, I prefer to use a hand mixer with a whisk attachment to whip my cream.
- As I said earlier, I like to make this in a 9-inch springform pan.
- A small offset spatula makes it easy to smooth out the top of the ice cream and ganache layers and spread the whipped cream.
Homemade Reese’s Ice Cream Cake
For the ice cream cake:
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 13.5 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
- 20 miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, coarsely chopped (freezing them first to make them easier to chop), plus additional for decorating, if desired
For the ganache:
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
For the whipped cream:
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the ice cream cake:
- Line a 9-inch springform pan with plastic wrap.
- Pour the heavy cream into a glass or metal bowl. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer or hand mixer, whip the cream to stiff peaks (see Note).
- In another bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and ¼ cup peanut butter until smooth.
- Gently fold the sweetened condensed milk mixture into the whipped cream.
- Place small dollops of peanut butter on top of the cream mixture, add the peanut butter cups, and fold together gently.
- Spread the ice cream evenly in the prepared pan, and freeze for several hours, until firm. During this time, prepare the ganache.
- Remove the cake from the freezer and quickly top with the cooled ganache, spreading evenly. Return to freezer to slightly firm up the ganache. During this time, prepare the whipped cream.
- Remove the cake from the freezer and unmold from the springform pan, removing the plastic wrap and placing it on a serving plate. Spread the cake evenly with the whipped cream to cover all sides. Decorate with additional peanut butter cups, if desired.
- Slice and serve. If it is too hard to slice, let it soften at room temperature for a few minutes or run your knife under hot water before slicing. Return leftovers to the freezer.
For the ganache:
- Place the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 1 minute. If you do not have a microwave, heat the cream to a simmer on the stove and pour over the chips.
- Whisk until smooth, and cool to room temperature.
For the whipped cream:
- Combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a glass or metal bowl.
- Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer or hand mixer, whip the cream to stiff peaks (see Note). Keep chilled until ready to use.