Fried Ice Cream Cake
Fried ice cream cake features cinnamon and toasted cornflakes to mimic the flavors of the classic Mexican dessert.

One of our family traditions is that when one of us has a birthday, it’s that person’s job to choose a dinner spot to celebrate. 

A few years ago, I chose a favorite Mexican restaurant my parents hadn’t been to yet, and I really wanted them to give it a try. Part of the bargain, though, was they couldn’t tell the waitstaff it was my birthday, because the tradition there, along with gifting you dessert, was to sing to you and make you wear a sombrero.

What I didn’t know was the tradition also included smearing your face with whipped cream.

My folks agreed to keep it to themselves, and we sat down to eat.

Unfortunately, we ran into my parents-in-law, who are wonderful folks and I love dearly, but they ratted me out, so I ended up with a full face of whipped cream. My parents thought it was as hilarious as they did. Thanks, guys.

I was thinking about that story this week when I found a recipe for a great Mexican-inspired dessert, fried ice cream, and wanted to give it a try.

The recipe I made comes from the blog “Cheese Curd in Paradise” by Ashley Lecker. You can find the original at I added vanilla and doubled the cinnamon in my version.

Fried Ice Cream Cake

Fried ice cream cake features cinnamon and toasted cornflakes to mimic the flavors of the classic Mexican dessert.
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cornflakes, fried ice cream, honey, ice cream, vanilla


  • 8 cups corn flakes
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1.5 quart vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • 8 ounces whipped topping thawed (I used fat free)
  • 2 rounded teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • honey for serving


  • Set the ice cream out for about 30 minutes to let it soften.
  • Pour the cornflakes into a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin or meat mallet.
  • In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and then add the sugar and crushed corn flakes, stirring to evenly distribute the ingredients. Keep stirring and let the cornflakes get a little toasted, about three minutes. Once the cornflakes are golden brown, put about one-third of them into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and spread them evenly across the bottom.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together the ice cream, whipped topping, cinnamon and vanilla by hand or with a hand mixer until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Pour the ice cream mixture over the cornflakes in the baking dish and spread it to an even layer.
  • Top the ice cream evenly with the rest of the cornflakes.
  • Cover the baking dish and place in the freezer over night or until the ice cream firms up.
  • To serve, cut it into squares and drizzle each piece with honey.

I actually halved this recipe, because without being able to share this with other people, I didn’t want to have an entire pan of this in my freezer. It halves nicely into an 8-inch square pan.

And the flavors were perfect to remind me of traditional fried ice cream. The cinnamon and vanilla flavors were a perfect combination with the crispy, toasted cornflakes.

We enjoyed this over the course of the week as our after-dinner dessert, and lucky for me, my birthday is far, far away, so Joey didn’t make me wear any weird hats or sneak attack me with whipped cream.

Of course, depending on how long we’re stuck at home together, anything could happen.

This piece first appeared in print on April 16, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.