The perfect party cake

Veg-based foodie site Yum Universe (YU) is turning one on August 12, and they’re celebrating with a birthday-themed contest, which involves creating a plant-based, party-themed, whole foods recipe. To me, birthdays are always worth a little extra effort in the dessert department—you’ll never see me making a birthday cake using a boxed mix and frosting from a can, no ma’am. To me, life’s special moments are meant to be celebrated, and for Yum Universe, that comes with a six-layer brownie blizzard ice cream cake.

I was first inspired to create such a decadent cake after seeing the gorgeous photos of the raw peanut butter cup ice cream cake on Sweetly Raw. However, since I don’t currently own an ice cream maker or Heathy’s ice cream cake e-book, I knew I’d have to rely on my own knowledge and experience to get the job done.

Brownie Blizzard Ice Cream Cake | A Dash of Compassion

I know the recipe instructions below look like they could fill a 100-page handbook, but trust me when I tell you it’s not that bad…and it’s totally worth it. Just think about how proud you’ll be when you can pull off a healthy, whole-foods-based ice cream cake that looks like it came from Dairy Queen. Those dairy- and sugar-loaded DQ cakes were once a childhood favourite of mine, but the thought of eating one now just turns my stomach. Lucky for us, this cake is made with natural, raw and vegan ingredients, like cashews, cacao and coconut, which is much more appealing.

Are you ready for the ride? Here we go…
Layer 1—dense, chocolatey, brownie cake base
Layer 2—smooth, light vanilla soft serve
Layer 3—creamy macadamia nut caramel
Layer 4—almond and chocolate cookie crumbs
Layer 5—more vanilla soft serve, but with thick brownie chunks
Layer 6—topped with a smooth chocolate ganache and more brownie chunks

Brownie Blizzard Ice Cream Cake | A Dash of Compassion

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Brownie blizzard ice cream cake

Yield: one layered 6-inch cake


For the base and brownies:

    • 1 cup almonds
    • 1 cup walnuts
    • 1 1/2 cups chopped dates (approx. 5 oz)
    • 1/2 cup cacao powder
    • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the brownie frosting:

    • 1/4 cup coconut butter, softened
    • 2 tbsp agave nectar
    • 1 tbsp cacao powder
    • pinch of sea salt

For the vanilla soft serve:

    • 2 cups cashews, soaked at least 2 hours or overnight
    • 1 cup almond milk
    • 6 tbsp agave nectar
    • 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

For the cookie crumbs:

    • 1/2 cup almonds, ground
    • 1/4 cup cacao powder
    • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
    • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • pinch of sea salt

For the caramel:

    • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
    • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
    • 3 tbsp agave nectar
    • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1/8 tsp sea salt

For the chococlate ganache:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder, sifted


For the base and brownies:

    1. In a food processor, process the almonds and walnuts to a coarse meal.
    2. Add the dates, cacao, maple syrup and vanilla and continue to process until well combined. The mixture should be thick and sticky.
    3. Press about half of the mixture onto the bottom of a 6-inch springform pan to make a 1/4- to 1/2-inch base (this will be the base for the cake) and the remaining mixture into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan (this will be the brownies). Set aside both pans.

For the brownie frosting:

    1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth.
    2. Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the frosting on the top of the brownies in the loaf pan. Place the pan in the freezer to set, about 30 minutes. When ready, cut the brownies into small, 1/2-inch chunks and store them in the freezer until ready to use.

For the vanilla soft serve:

    1. In a high-speed blender, puree the cashews, almond milk, agave nectar and vanilla until smooth.
    2. Add the coconut oil and blend until well combined and smooth.
    3. Pour half of the mixture on top of the cake base in the 6-inch springform pan. Place in the freezer to set. Pour the remaining mixture into a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use (this will be used on the top half of the cake).

For the cookie crumbs:

    1. In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients until small crumbs are formed.
    2. Spread the crumbs on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 105 degrees for about one hour, or until the crumbs are dry to the touch. Store the crumbs in a sealed container in the freezer until ready to use.

For the caramel:

    1. In a high-speed blender, blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour the mixture into a small bowl with a lid and set aside until ready to use.

To assemble:

    1. So far you should have the base topped with a layer of vanilla soft serve. Next, pour the caramel over top of the vanilla soft serve and smooth it out using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Crumble the cookie crumbs evenly on top of the caramel. Next, pour the remaining half of the vanilla soft serve on top of the cookie crumbs and add the brownie chunks, carefully pressing them down into the vanilla soft serve. You will likely not need all the brownie chunks, so you can use the leftovers to decorate the top of the cake. Smooth out the top as much as you can and place in the freezer for at least an hour to set. When ready, frost with chocolate ganache (recipe below).

For the chocolate ganache:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth.
  2. Remove the cake from the freezer and let sit for about 10 minutes (if you don't, your frosting will harden as soon as it touches the cake). Using an offset spatula, frost the top and sides of the cake and place the remaining brownie chunks (if you have any) on top of the cake, as desired. Place the cake back in the freezer for about 10 minutes to allow the ganache to set. Serve with a smile and dig in!


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17 Responses to “The perfect party cake”

  1. VeganLisa — July 28, 2011 @ 11:44 pm

    Wow, what an incredible recipe! That is the kind of cake you can build a celebration around. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this beautiful entry will win you a very special dehydrator.

  2. — July 29, 2011 @ 12:20 am

    Oh good god girl. Can I come to your house for my next birthday?

  3. Elizabeth Jarrard — July 29, 2011 @ 12:41 am

    oh. my. god. my mind was just blown. drooling over keyboard now

  4. Nicole — July 29, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

    Thanks for your positive comments, ladies! Let's hope the YU team likes it as much as you do.

  5. Junia — July 29, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

    wow this looks decadent! love that its healthy, plant based, and just delicious at the same time. yay for vegan clean eating :)

  6. peasoupeats — July 30, 2011 @ 10:17 am

    Holy smokes, this looks incredible!!! Genius level cake making – love it:)

  7. Cara — August 1, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

    I might just have to make this for my own birthday this year!

  8. bitt — September 1, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

    this looks soooo amazing. want some now.

  9. Lisa — March 8, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

    This looks amazing! But I’m allergic to coconut… Is there anything I can use in its place?

    • Nicole — March 9, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

      Hi Lisa! You’ll have to do a bit of experimenting if you need to leave out the coconut oil/butter, since it is used to help firm up the cake layers. I’d suggest using the filling from my raw strawberry dreamcake (, leaving out the brownie frosting (make the brownies without it), and substituting cacao butter in the ganache. Alternatively, you can just make the strawberry dreamcake instead! It’s free of cashews and coconut :)

  10. Adrienne — November 18, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

    Oh my – dare I show this to my son? I still owe him a birthday cake. Maybe I’ll ask my sons and husband to make this one for me :-)!

  11. Alexis — December 5, 2012 @ 12:50 am

    Anyway honey can be replaced for the maple syrup and agave?

    • Nicole — December 5, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

      I never use honey but I’m sure it would work fine as a substitute. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  12. Alexis — January 6, 2013 @ 9:16 pm

    Ok so I just made the cake today. I replaced all agave and maple syrup with honey and couldnt find a 6 inch springform anywhere so I had to use my 10 inch……it was STILLL delicious!!!! Honestly! If anything, it could use a little less sweetener! My family and I are doing the GAPS diet right now so we really needed a sweet treat and boy did this hit every spot. Absolutely delicious. I was worried about all the different nuts…thought it would taste like a big nut pie. But it really is good. Good job.

    • Nicole — January 9, 2013 @ 11:48 am

      Thanks for your feedback, Alexis! I’m so glad you and your family enjoyed it. It is quite a project but totally worth it.

  13. maude — November 17, 2015 @ 11:30 am

    Hello! Just made this delicious and amazing cake. Question: how long do I have to leave it out of the freezer before serving? So I can cut it? Thanks!

    • Nicole — November 17, 2015 @ 4:19 pm

      Hi Maude! If you’re serving it to guests, I’d suggest taking it out of the freezer about 20 minutes before cutting and serving. Hope you enjoy the cake!

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