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Vegan Magic Shell Recipe

The Best Vegan Ice Cream Cake (paleo + gluten-free + refined sugar-free)

  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 slices 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Who's ready to party?! This Vegan Ice Cream Cake with both chocolate and vanilla ice cream feels totally decadent and special!


Units Scale

For the crust

  • 8 large soft pitted Medjool dates (1 cup)
  • 1 cup raw unsalted slivered blanched almonds (not sliced almonds and not roasted slivered almonds) - no soaking needed [raw unsalted cashews can be substituted here]
  • 2 tablespoons softened vegan butter or coconut oil
  • pinch of salt

For the vanilla ice cream cake

  • 2.5 cups raw unsalted cashews*
  • 1 large zucchini, ends removed, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream (just the white solid portion from a chilled can of full-fat coconut milk)**
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

For the chocolate ice cream scoops overtop cake:

  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked in advance, drained and rinsed*
  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk - refrigerated in advance - white solid coconut cream portion only**
  • 1 large zucchini, ends removed, chopped (2 cups when chopped)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt


  • chocolate magic shell: 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips + 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • dye-free sprinkles or crushed up freeze dried raspberries
  • gluten-free ice cream cones


  1. For the crust: Add all crust ingredients to a food processor fitted with an S-blade and pulse until a course mixture forms.  You should be able to press the mixture between your fingers and it should stick together.  Transfer to a 7.5-inch springform pan.  There is no need to line or grease the pan.  Place a sheet of parchment paper overtop the crust and use the bottom of a glass to pack the crust down into an even layer that covers the entire bottom of the pan.  Remove the parchment paper.
  2. For the vanilla ice cream cake: Add all vanilla ice cream ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until perfectly smooth and creamy.  Pour directly overtop the crust layer.  Place springform pan in the freezer for 8-10 hours.
  3. For the chocolate ice cream scoops: Place all chocolate ice cream ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until perfectly smooth and creamy.  I usually do one minute on the highest speed.  Pour the mixture into any freezer safe container with a lid.  You can also use a loaf pan and cover with aluminum foil.
  4. To decorate: Remove the chocolate ice cream from freezer and place at room temperature to soften so it will be scoop-able.  While the ice creams soften, make the magic shell.  The magic shell is optional but adds a fun effect to the cake that makes it look like the chocolate ice cream scoops are melting overtop the vanilla ice cream cake.  To do this, in a microwave safe glass measuring cup with pour spout, microwave chocolate chips and coconut oil on high for 1.5-2 minutes.  Stir well with a spoon.  Set aside to cool slightly before pouring over the ice cream cake.  Remove ice cream cake from freezer and release from the springform pan.  Place ice cream cake onto a flat surface like a cutting board or large flat serving dish.  Pour the chocolate shell over the the cake and allow it to overflow and drizzle down the edges.  You can also use a spoon for this and carefully spoon the magic chocolate shell on the edges of the cake.  The chocolate will set quickly since the ice cream is cold.  Pour sprinkles overtop the portion of the cake where you plan to add your ice cream scoops.  Cover more surface than the scoop will to give the effect of the ice cream scoops melting overtop the cake.  Scoop chocolate ice cream overtop the chocolate shell.  Cover the scoops with more sprinkles.  Place ice cream cones overtop the chocolate ice cream scoops.  Serve immediately or store in the freezer until ready to serve.


* Soaking your cashews in advance will make them extra creamy, less gritty and more easily digestible.  Soaking cashews also helps to make the nutrients more available.  You can soak in water overnight or do a quick soak using boiling water for an hour or two.  Drain and rinse before using in this recipe.  Measure out the cashews before soaking since they will swell and measure differently post-soak.

** For this recipe, we are only using the solid white coconut cream from the cans of full-fat coconut milk.  In order to easily separate the coconut cream from the coconut water, place the can in your refrigerator the day before you plan to make this recipe.  The solid white coconut cream will naturally float to the top of the can.  When you open the can you can easily use a spoon to scoop out just the coconut cream leaving the coconut water behind.  You can save the coconut water for smoothies or popsicles.  I usually get about 1 cup of coconut cream out of one can of coconut milk.

Tip: If you have time, remove the ice cream cake and chocolate ice cream from the freezer one hour before serving and place in the refrigerator to soften.  This allows the cake and ice cream to soften throughout evenly rather than if you put it at room temperature where just the edges tend to soften.  This makes the cake nice and easy to slice and yields the perfect texture for serving.  However, if you are in a rush room temperature works for thawing the cake and chocolate ice cream and is just fine!  It all depends on how much time you have.

  • Prep Time: 30
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Freezer

Keywords: vegan gluten-free ice cream cake