I tried ready-made ice-cream cakes from Dairy Queen, Cold Stone Creamery, and Baskin-Robbins.
The Baskin-Robbins cake was the most expensive and I didn't love its flavors or layer structure.
Dairy Queen's ice-cream cake was delicious, affordable, and beautiful.
I compared ice-cream cakes from Baskin-Robbins, Cold Stone Creamery, and Dairy Queen.
As a professional baker, I've certainly made and eaten a lot of cake, and I've paired plenty of slices with a scoop of ice cream.
But it's been at least 10 years since I've eaten an ice-cream cake, and I wanted to put three popular chains – Dairy Queen, Cold Stone Creamery, and Baskin-Robbins — to the test.
I chose some sort of vanilla-and-chocolate combination at each location.
To keep things fair, I headed into each store without an order to see what was available to buy from the freezers.
At each location, I picked up the smallest round ice-cream cake that incorporated both chocolate and vanilla flavors.
The Cold Stone Creamery ice-cream cake had intricate decorations.
The Tall, Dark & Delicious is one of the chain's signature ice-cream cakes, meaning it's available to grab at just about any time from the freezer. The 8-inch round cake cost $39.95.
The layers in this cake are as follows: devil's food cake, chocolate ice cream with Oreos, more devil's food cake, and sweet-cream ice cream with brownie chunks. The whole cake was also covered in a fluffy whipped frosting and fudge ganache.
After purchasing the cake and putting it in my freezer at home, the ganache developed a layer of moisture, which made it look less beautiful.
The flavor of the Cold Stone Creamery cake was good, but it was a bit too much for me.
Cold Stone is known for its super creamy ice cream, and that came through in this cake.
The chocolate ice cream was incredibly flavorful and smooth. The chocolate cake had good flavor and wasn't too dry.
The combination of the cake and ice cream was perfectly balanced. I also liked the addition of the whipped topping and luscious chocolate ganache.
Although it was delicious, I found this cake to be a bit over the top. I'm a chocolate lover through and through, but there seemed to be almost too much going on here.
The Baskin-Robbins cake was beautifully decorated.
At my local Baskin-Robbins, I grabbed an Oreo cookie cake out of the freezer. The 9-inch round cake cost $45.99.
I also appreciated that one of the employees asked if I wanted it packed with dry ice for $1 to keep it extra cold.
The exterior of the cake looked lovely, with dollops of whipped topping, a chocolate drizzle, and a fudge border.
But the Baskin-Robbins cake's flavor let me down.
Inside, the cake was one super-thick layer of chocolate cake paired with a thick layer of cookies-and-cream ice cream.
The cake layer was very dry and almost difficult to eat. The cookies-and-cream ice cream made for a nice pairing, but I was pretty underwhelmed by the dessert as a whole.
Because of the construction of this cake — two massive layers, including one that melts — it was pretty difficult to cut. It also seemed to melt and fall apart really quickly after I cut just one slice.
Since this cake was the most expensive, I was extra disappointed.
The Dairy Queen cake looked the prettiest.
At Dairy Queen, I chose an Oreo Blizzard cake I pulled directly out of the store's freezer.
The exterior was absolutely beautiful, with detailing around the edges, piped borders, crushed Oreo cookies, and a chocolate drizzle.
I thought it was the most attractive out of the three cakes, which surprised me even more because it was the cheapest, too. The 8-inch round cake cost $28.99.
The Dairy Queen cake's flavors and textures were incredible.
This ice-cream cake had so much going on in the best way.
It had a layer of classic vanilla soft serve, a layer of fudge and crunchy chocolate crumbs, and a layer of Oreo Blizzard. A whipped topping and a drizzle of chocolate finished it off.
It was super flavorful. And the flavor combination was beautifully nostalgic.
There wasn't any actual cake included in this option, but I think it was better for it. The playfulness of the flavors and textures was so good.
Overall, each cake was certainly beautiful and convenient to buy.
I could definitely see any of these chains being a hero for someone who forgot to order cake for a birthday party.
It was impressive that all of these cakes were just ready for me to grab and buy from each ice-cream chain. No ordering ahead was required.
It's also worth noting that the flavor selection at all three of these ice-cream chains is unbelievable. You can choose virtually any flavor combination of cake and ice cream if you order ahead. You can also customize the decorations.
Still, when it came down to flavor, value, and presentation for these premade cakes, I had one winner in mind.
Much to my surprise, Dairy Queen's ice-cream cake was my absolute favorite.
I would totally buy the Dairy Queen cake again, thanks to its many great textures and flavors.
I did not think it would be my favorite, especially because Dairy Queen isn't usually one of my go-to spots for dessert and this option didn't contain real cake.
Even better? It was the most affordable out of the three ice-cream cakes I tried.
I would definitely get another ice-cream cake from Cold Stone, but I'd want to try different flavors that might be less intense and overpowering. I'd be open to trying another kind of ice-cream cake from Baskin Robbins — especially if it was customized with my favorite flavors – but I wouldn't buy the Oreo one again.
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