My dad is the most impossible man to please. Every time some gift-giving holiday rolls around, everyone in my family is thrown into a panic. My father never tells any of us what he wants, and it’s just about impossible to think of anything to get him. Then, when you finally figure out a gift and give it to him, he will wind up returning it 90% of the time. Even if you can get the man to actually tell you what he wants, he still goes and returns it! It’s an anxiety-filled, never-ending ordeal.
I had the same problem deciding on a cake for his birthday. For as long as I can remember, my father has requested an angel food cake. Somewhere along the line, it became a tradition. However, I was completely thrown for a loop when I asked him if he wanted another angel food cake this year and he told me to “surprise him.”
I really think my world crashed down in that moment.
I thought a lot about the foods my dad likes and pondered various ways to turn that into cake. I was particularly stuck on the Buster Bars I made way back when Smart Cookie wash just a baby. He loved those things, which makes sense considering their modeled after his favorite Dairy Queen treat, the Peanut Buster Parfaits. I suddenly realized I could turn those bars into an ice cream cake. Alas! I had figured out the perfect cake!
So what makes a Buster Bar Ice Cream Cake? Well, the original Peanut Buster Parfait has layers of DQ’s awesome vanilla soft serve, hot fudge, and peanuts. Therefore, all those elements come into play in this cake. Let me break it down: we start with a layer of my favorite, deep, dark, moist chocolate cake (it’s literally the best chocolate cake ever). Then, we smother it in gooey hot fudge and crunchy peanuts. Next comes a mountain of frosty, creamy vanilla ice cream, which is crowned with a final layer of more fudge and peanuts. The final product is a towering ice cream cake behemoth where all the layers come together in a mind-blowing manner. The components on their own sound good, but there’s something about putting them together. It creates the single most amazing taste and textural experience of your life.
This is the perfect ice cream cake.
My dad loved it, and I was quite proud. The rest of my family was in love with it too. In fact, my uncle dubbed it “the best ice cream cake ever.” Me? I ate a slice the size of my head, and I enjoyed every bite. With actual chocolate cake, gobs of gooey fudge, crunchy peanuts, and smooth vanilla ice cream, this cake is pure heaven.
Eat your heart out, Dairy Queen.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- Because you must freeze the cake several times during the layering process, you should make sure you give yourself enough time to make the cake. I suggest starting in the morning.
- You can use homemade vanilla ice cream to make this even more incredible.
- Yes, you could use a boxed cake mix, but I swear on my credibility as a chef that this recipe is some of the best chocolate cake you’ll have. Making it homemade makes a huge difference in how special and delicious this cake is.
- This seems like a complicated recipe, but it’s actually super easy and fool-proof.
- To cut out a perfect circle of parchment paper to line the cake pan with: Set your pan on top of the parchment paper then hold it steady as you trace around it with a sharp knife. Viola!
Buster Bar Ice Cream Cake
By The Smart Cookie Cook
- 1 Chocolate Cake, recipe follows
- 2 16-oz. jars hot fudge
- 2 cups roasted & salted peanuts, divided
- 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
- rainbow sprinkles, for garnish
For the Chocolate Cake:
Cake recipe from The Pastry Queen
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup regular cocoa powder
- 2 cups flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Make the Chocolate Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a round 8×8 pan with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter, water, and oil until butter is melted. Remove from heat and set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together the sugar, cocoa powders, and flour. Whisk in the butter mixture until completely smooth. Then whisk in the eggs one at a time, followed by the buttermilk. Finally, whisk in the baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Pour into the prepared pan until 3/4 full. You will probably have extra batter, which you can bake into cupcakes.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean (Note: if you make cupcakes, they will bake up faster). Let cake cool on wire racks for an hour. Then carefully invert the cake onto a cutting board lined with wax or parchment paper. Let cool completely.
- When cake is completely cooled, use wax paper to line its circumference, creating a tall wall around the cake. Secure it with tape. Pour one jar of hot fudge over the cake and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle with one cup of the nuts and freeze until fudge is firm, about an hour.
- 15 minutes before taking the cake out of the freezer, take out the ice cream to soften. Once the cake is frozen, top it with the softened ice cream and spread out evenly. Return to the fridge until ice cream is frozen, about 30 minutes.
- Top ice cream with the remaining jar of fudge and the remaining cup of peanuts. Return to the fridge until firm, about 30 minutes. When ready to serve, carefully remove the wax paper from the cake. Let thaw for 5-10 minutes before eating. Keep stored in freezer in an airtight container.