Amaretti Cookie Butter Ice Cream Cake

Who says ice cream cake isn’t a competitive sport? Amaretti Cookie Butter Ice Cream Cake is that cake you’ll wake up in the middle of the night to get the last bite. And it’s the best dessert recipe for a small gathering.

Italian Ice Cream Cake with Cookie Butter and Caramel on a cake stand with a white napkinDo you have family members that love something so much they eat it every day? Both of my grandfathers LOVED ice cream. They ate it every single night. And we’re not talking small demure scoops. We’re talking BIG cereal bowls of ice cream. And boy, were they happy people! And fit as well. 

Nowadays, you might frown upon eating ice cream every day — frankly, I’m waiting for the next new eating plan where the first rule is to eat all the ice cream you want. Wouldn’t that be something? And one of the first things you should make is this Italian Ice Cream Cake. Or maybe this Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake.

Nothing wrong with options!

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food processor with amaretti cookie crumbs, butter and cookie butter and a black and white checked napkinThe ingredients

What makes this ice cream cake so darn good and fit to be called Italian? Amaretti cookies. Amaretti cookies have a little touch of chew and an amazing almond flavor. If you’re in Italy, they’re the cookies the trattoria down the street would send over to accompany your espresso at the end of a wonderful three-hour meal. Amaretti gives the crust great texture, brings the Italian flavor and a perfect balance to the other layers which are:

  1. speculoos (which is the flavor we Americans call “cookie butter”),
  2. caramel, because I like to be really extra
  3. vanilla bean ice cream. It is ice cream cake after all.
  4. Oh– and whipped cream. Can’t have ice cream cake without it, can you?

overhead view of food processor with amaretti cookie crumbs, butter and cookie butter and a black and white checked napkinAssembling the cake

So crunching up the cookies with a little butter is the first step. Using a food processor makes life a whole lot easier here but using a plastic bag and a rolling pin also works great and relieves a lot of stress. Because one shouldn’t be stressed when you’re making ice cream cake. It’s a GOOD day!

loaf pan with amaretti cookie crust on a black and white checked napkinAfter all those crumbs are perfectly processed or pounded, you pour them into the bottom of a loaf pan. And press them down evenly to make a nice, thick crust. Meanwhile, the ice cream that you’ve bought in a rectangular carton (much easier to work with than a round container) has softened and is good and ready for you to cut it up and fit half of it like a little jigsaw puzzle into the pan.

container of vanilla ice cream with a knife cutting it in halfThe ice cream container trick

The trick of the rectangular carton is that you cut the big chunk of ice cream in half right through the carton. And then from there, you cut each section into three equal pieces that you’ll fit into the loaf pan. Genius, huh?

cut pieces of ice cream cake on plate with a white napkin and forkthe sweet stuff

Time for the speculoos. Remember that’s the cookie butter. You’re going to pour and spread it as evenly as you can over top of the vanilla ice cream. Work quickly as the ice cream is melting. Yup, it is. Right now. So get to work layering that cookie butter. And try not to eat any. Ok – one spoonful. Maybe two.

cut pieces of ice cream cake on plate with a white napkin and forkLayer, rinse and CHILL

On top of the cookie butter, layer the rest of the ice cream. Then rinse your hands. You’re going to need it. Melting ice cream is sticky. Plus, if you licked your fingers you’re going to have to wash AND rinse. Sorry, mom just showed up. Don’t forget the caramel wants to join the party! Spread that on top of the last ice cream layer and then on top of that comes the whipped cream and then a smattering of cookies. Oh me, oh my —now comes the hard part. The wait. Find an empty spot in the freezer and get that baby in there. FAST. Especially if you plan on eating it the same day. In that case, make it in the morning. You need at least 4-6 hours for it to firm up.

Italian Ice Cream Cake with Cookie Butter and Caramel on a cake stand with a white napkinCue the Jeopardy theme song. While you wait, go check out some dishes for the rest of the meal. This one and this one especially would be good lead-ins to Amaretti Cookie Butter Ice Cream Cake. By the way, it’s perfectly acceptable to be eaten every day. Or night.


For a crowd: cut the slices on the thin side and you’ll have enough for at least 10! Or use a larger muffin pan lined with cups and make individual servings for a party.

For a few: Halve the recipe and assemble in individual custard cups.

two pieces of Italian Ice Cream Cake on gray and blue trimmed plates sitting on a white linen tablecloth
Italian Ice Cream Cake with Cookie Butter and Caramel on a cake stand with a white napkin.
4.75 from 4 votes

Amaretti and Cookie Butter Ice Cream Cake

Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:10 minutes
Total Time:30 minutes




  • Spray a 5 x 9" loaf pan with cooking spray. Line with a piece of parchment paper large enough to hang over the sides and spray again.
  • Reserving about four cookies, put the rest of the amaretti into a food processor with the butter. Pulse several times to combine and then run until butter is incorporated about 30 seconds. The crust will clump together and pull away from the sides of the bowl. (Alternatively, crush the cookies in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin and combine in a bowl with the very softened butter until completely blended).
  • Pour crumbs into prepared loaf pan. Press down firmly to pack the crumbs in the pan. I sometimes spray a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and use it to push the crumbs down into the pan. Flatten the crust that it's level. Place in the freezer for a few minutes to set if you have time. Otherwise proceed.
  • Soften the cookie butter and caramel sauces in the microwave for a few seconds. If you don't have a microwave, you can set the jars in a pan of simmering water or hot tap water for a few minutes to make the spread/sauce easier to work with.
  • Using a sharp knife, slice the carton of ice cream halfway through vertically. Remove carton from the sides and immediately cut each half into three slices.
  • Place three of the slices across the bottom of the pan and smooth quickly with a spatula.
  • Spread a thick layer of cookie butter all over the first layer of ice cream. You'll almost or likely use the whole jar. Just do it.
  • Working quickly, layer the rest of the ice cream on top of the cookie butter.
  • Next, pour over the caramel sauce.
  • Spread the whipped topping over top of the caramel. Crumble the remaining four cookies and sprinkle over top of the ice cream.
  • Immediately put in the freezer for at least 4-6 hours or overnight.
  • When ready to serve, remove from freezer for about 5-10 minutes and lift out of the pan. Slice using a sharp knife. You can also dip the knife in warm water in between slicing.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Barbecue, Grilling
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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    1. Oh my Marianne! Good catch! I apologize and recipe corrected! No need to bake the crust or heat the oven! You can freeze the bottom layer for a few minutes to set it before filling if you like as well.

    1. Thanks, Sarah! It’s very hard to have in the house because I want to grab a forkful every time I go into the kitchen! Just make sure to make it out of sight of those cute puppies!