ice cream cake

Ice Cream Cake

Ice cream and cake. If that's not a marriage made in heaven, we don't know what is.

And, in our opinion, it's just about the most perfect of summer desserts.

This recipe includes chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice creams to create a striped Neapolitan cake. Oreo crumbs — made from the whole cookie, filling and all — make a sturdy bottom crust and add a bit of chocolatey crunch between each ice cream layer.

When it's time to assemble the cake, have patience. Don't start until the crust is completely cool, and allow the ice cream to soften to a spreadable consistency to ensure it won't mess up the crust.

To avoid a melty mess, freeze each layer before adding the next.

You can dress up the cake with rainbow sprinkles or chopped nuts or crushed candies or cookies.

Before removing the cake from the springform pan, run your knife under hot tap water for 10 seconds or so.

Ice Cream Cake

Makes 8-10 servings.

25 Oreo cookies, broken into rough pieces

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 pint strawberry ice cream

1 pint vanilla ice cream

1 pint chocolate ice cream

½ cup rainbow sprinkles

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 F. Process Oreos in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add melted butter and process until mixture resembles wet sand, about 10 seconds.

2. Using your hands, press ⅔ cup crumb mixture evenly into bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Using bottom of measuring cup, firmly pack crust into pan. Bake until the crust is set, 5 to 10 minutes. Let crust cool completely on wire rack, about 30 minutes.

3. Scoop strawberry ice cream into large bowl and, using large rubber spatula or wooden spoon, break up scoops of ice cream. Stir and fold ice cream to achieve smooth consistency. Spread softened ice cream evenly over crust.

4. Sprinkle ⅔ cup Oreo crumbs over ice cream and pack down lightly. Wrap pan tightly with plastic wrap and freeze until ice cream is just firm, about 30 minutes. Repeat with vanilla ice cream and remaining ⅔ cup Oreo crumbs; wrap tightly and freeze for another 30 minutes. Soften chocolate ice cream, spread evenly in pan, and smooth top. Wrap cake tightly in plastic and freeze until firm, at least 8 hours or up to 1 week.

5. To unmold cake, run hot thin knife around edge of pan. Remove sides of pan and slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto platter. Press sprinkles onto sides of cake. Serve immediately.