An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

A Frozen Fourth of July


Our Independence Day, the most patriotic of national holidays here in the US, typically fails to stir up much enthusiasm from me. The backyard barbecues are a welcome excuse to grill some easy entrees and catch up with old friends, but that could happen on any summer day, too. Plus, that red, white, and blue color scheme is a bit uninspiring… Most of the time. Inexplicably and without warning, it just hit me the right way this time around. Without plans or any party to attend, I still couldn’t resist the bait- I went all out to make a festive fourth of July dessert. In fact, now I want to throw my own little fete because of this impromptu project…

This cake is the key to turning the holiday into a real celebration. Fluffy billows of snow-white whipped coconut creme obscure a sweet surprise within. Though plainly ordinary from the outside, just remove a slice and watch guests’ faces light up…

To cool off a sweltering summer day in the sun, ice cream cake is just what the doctor ordered. Trust me on this one, it’s the only prescription suitable to combat exhaustion, hunger, heat, and dessert cravings all at once. Red velvet cake, one of my unexpectedly most popular recipes, has been given new life as the base of this icy layered treat. Revised and tweaked to perfection, it now practically glows with a crimson-red hue, all from a little can of cooked beets. For anyone who complained about an overtly lemon flavor, that issue is now a thing of the past. All you can taste is cake, sweet, moist, lightly cocoa-flavored cake.

Blue Moon Ice Cream lends a subtly fruity, mysterious yet comfortingly familiar flavor to the assembly. The real inspiration for this whole frozen dessert, it’s rare to find such a bright blue food, and so I seized the opportunity as soon as I could. Never mind dusty blue corn chips or purplish-blue potatoes– This ice cream is really blue!

If you didn’t plan ahead and pre-order a copy of Vegan a la Mode, then you’re in luck- Sarah of The Sweet Life is generously hosting a giveaway, which she put together without any prompting and paid for out of her own pocket. There’s still time to get in on the action and see this recipe for yourself, so don’t delay and enter the contest now!

Putting together this ice cream cake is much easier than it looks. Simply prepare the red velvet cake according to the instructions, but transfer the batter into a 9-inch round springform pan lined with a round of parchment paper on the bottom and lightly greased. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center pulls out clean, with perhaps a few moist crumbs clinging to it (but absolutely no wet batter.) Let cool completely, and chill before proceeding. Meanwhile, prepare the Blue Moon Ice Cream from Vegan a la Mode (page 8) according to those directions, and after churning, transfer the still soft ice cream to the same springform pan, smoothing it over the baked cake evenly, leveling out the top with a spatula. Let the whole thing harden in the freezer overnight before attempting to unmold.

Once firmly frozen, remove the sides from the pan, peel the parchment off the bottom of the cake, and transfer the two layers to a serving platter, cake plate, or cake stand (remember that you’ll have to fit it back into the freezer though, so double-check that there will be enough space to accommodate your dish!) Frost with coconut whipped creme, and top with edible star glitter, if desired. Store in the freezer until ready to serve, and then…


Have a Happy Fourth of July!

Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

45 thoughts on “A Frozen Fourth of July

  1. Beautiful creation!! Have a wonderful 4th of July, Hannah!

  2. Oh my gosh Hannah! What an incredible cake! it’s like….SURPRISE! I’M PATRIOTIC! haha love it love it love it!

  3. I knew I could count on you for a patriotic treat! Looks festive! xo

  4. Um….this is freaking AMAZING Hannah. I wonder why I didn’t think to add IC. and your pictures…absolutely stunning. I thought to add sparklers for a shot and scared myself away and hid, lol.

  5. It is superb, the colors go well, I like!
    This cake makes me really want, I catch the plane and I take tea to enjoy it with you;)

  6. This cake is so stunning, Hannah! I need to go out and get your book, ASAP! :-)

  7. lovely job! the perfect amount of red white and blue :)

  8. This cake looks spectacular my friend, the layering is divine :D
    Great recipe! Hope you have a lovely 4th of July! :)


  9. I love that!! So festive and definitely too cute to eat! :)

  10. Spectacular photo with the sparklers. Very cute!

  11. What a great treat for the fourth of july!!! I’m currently working out some fun things to serve on the day…hopefully the weather is good too :)

  12. I’m not usually a big fan of the 4th either…even though there’s a ton of food, very little of it is veg friendly! But…I’ll just eat a whole ice cream cake. That should fill me up. This is so pretty!

  13. I would come to your Fourth of July party any time Hannah! And I’m Canadian. ;) Seriously, that cake looks so amazing. Fantastic job on the icing!

  14. Aw how lovely, you dedicated an entire cake to my grandma’s birthday! :P

  15. Wow! That sparkler photo is off the chain! You had me thinking about making this for the 4th, too, but I don’t have a copy yet. Oops!

  16. Now that is a dessert for the 4th. Good job.

  17. So so beautiful! I don’t know how you make the sparkler pictures look so effortless.

    • It really is an easy shot, though! You just need to have the camera set to take multiple exposures, set a fast shutter speed so that the sparks aren’t blurred, and have someone else help you light the sparklers so you can keep your finger on the trigger. :)

  18. You are a brave woman to take the sparkler picture! Don’t know why, sparklers still make me uneasy, but the photo is beautiful and the cake sounds great!

  19. This looks so good! Perfect for these hot days we’ve been having. I really love you photos :)

  20. This looks so awesome….perfect piping…almost too good to even eat :)

  21. I absolutely must make this cake! This is such a great cake for a patriotic treat and i was won­der­ing how you get your cake to slice so nicely?

    • You just need to run the knife under hot water and it will slice easily through the frozen layers. Rinse it off between each slice again in hot water, to keep the pieces clean and warm it back up.

  22. Too pretty! Green and gold for Australia Day maybe?

  23. So, so beautiful, Hannah! I’ve been known to pass up a slice of regular cake, but no way could I pass up ice cream cake! Yours looks absolutely perfect, and perfect for the occasion. Happy 4th, my friend!

  24. That looks incredible! I haven’t had ice cream cake in forever, what a great 4th of July treat! :-)

  25. Your photos, not to mention the wonderful food ideas never cease to amaze me. I love this cake :)

  26. I ate this! I ate this! I was in your kitchen and I took it home and ate it! It was so heavenly. You’re amazing.

  27. As always beautiful Hannah…what a lovely way to celebrate the 4th of July…hope you had a great one!
    Enjoy your weekend :)

  28. Looks delish! Beautiful job!

  29. I saw it on my dash on tumblr and thought … how great all these colors look, I wonder who made it. Well I think I should not have wondered it was almost obvious that such a perfectly handled colored frozen dessert would come from you !
    Congrats for the picture with the magic candle, was it hard to take ? Did you use a specific mode on your camera to take it ?

    • Thank you, Lou. It’s all about timing to get a shot like this- I had an assistant light the sparklers so that I could keep my finger on the trigger, and then shot as many frames as possible until the sparks stopped flying, using a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. The trick is getting both the cake and sparklers in focus, though! The cake didn’t turn out quite as sharp as I would have liked, but that would just take a smaller aperture. Unfortunately, that would have made it too dark in this case, so I did what I could.

      • Oh yes, I see. I think it is called rafale mode (not sure about the name in English though)
        Fast shutter speed and as small an aperture as possible making sure the light is okay. Hop small note.
        I re-looked at the picture to notice the not so sharp aspect of the slice, and actually I think the important part of the picture is this sparkling thing, so …
        Anyway, great job ! An thanks for the response

  30. Oh my goodness, this is incredible! Everytime I think you’ve taken something above and beyond, you still manange to surprise me with something more amazing! This look delicious! Your pictures are flawless and the cake looks beautiful! I’m sorry I didn’t see this until now, but I will save this for next year. Thanks for sharing such beautiful creations!

  31. That looks incredibly beautiful and yes perfect for the 4th of July which we obviously don’t celebrate here… ;) still this would be a pretty awesome cake any day!

  32. Yay. A cake for the Forth of July! Um, you realize what the Russian flag looks like right? Oops!

  33. It looks delicious and beautiful. Thanks for sharing :-)

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  35. These are screaming EAT ME!

  36. I love this cake! What a fun idea to put the sparklers on top. Perfect for 4th of July, I’ve missed ice cream cake.

  37. Pingback: 20 Patriotic 4th of July Desserts – GleamItUp

  38. Pingback: 25 Fourth of July Food Ideas! - Creme De La Crumb

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