Pretzel & Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Cake

peanut butter cup ice cream cake Let’s all collectively sigh in relief: September is here.
And I couldn’t be more ready.

Early September is 80* days punctuated by falling leaves…it means skirt-wearing afternoons and cool, blanket-worthy nights. We can crave a fresh salad for lunch and hot, steamy soup for dinner.

pretzels Dont get me wrong…I love have loved summer…the heat, the beach, time in the sun. But this summer. This summer has been different.

It’s been crazy hot. And humid like a sauna. There have been days I’ve taken three showers because I can’t handle one more minute of sweat dripping down my torso. And then there’s this little person, who I’ve held close to me to feed every few hours or so, both of us sticking together in the heat.

We’d been talking about getting a more effective air conditioner than the 25-year-old, struggling hand-me-down that we currently had, but it was about three weeks after Owen was born, and our fourth day of nearly 100* heat with 87% humidity, as my stomach sweat became one with Owen’s, that I finally broke down…I whipped out my phone…


Me: (voice cracking with angry tears)Eric, we (sniff, sniff), have to get a better air conditioner. I am so hot. Owen is so hot. We are both sweaty and crabby and crying and I freaking have to feed him every 2 hours and I’m so hot and you’re in your air conditioned office, and you probably forget about us, but I’m just so hot, and sticky,and everything feels sticky, and I hate it, and I can’t do this…

Eric (wisely interrupting my sweaty stream of consciousness)Okay! I will order one today!

And a mere 15 minutes later, he texted me, telling me he’d ordered one with all of the BTUs we would ever need and that he’d be picking it up on his way home that night.

I must have sounded really desperate. I had been really desperate.


So we spent the rest of the summer no more than ten feet from the air conditioner unit at any time…and you’d better believe I’ll be cranking it up for our predicted jump back into the 90*’s tomorrow…especially after our brief foray into sweater weather this last week.

The moral of this story? It’s not too late for ice cream cake. It’s never too late for ice cream cake. Especially this one…with a layer of creamy-licious peanut butter ice cream on the bottom, a middle section of chopped peanut butter cups and pretzel crumbs, followed by vanilla ice cream, and topped with crushed pretzel bits. Salty. Sweet. Peanut Butter. Chocolate. Creamy. Cold. We LOVED this ice cream cake. And the best part? It comes together really fast; I’m serious. I made it and had the dishes done during one of Owen’s shorter naps…we froze it for about 6 hours, and enjoyed it, sprinkled with just a touch of sea salt that night.

Good thing we’re not quite out of hot days yet.


Pretzel & Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Cake

Pretzel & Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Cake

recipe adapted from Real Simple

(yields one 9x5" cake pan of ice cream cake...about 8-10 one-inch slices)

This ice cream cake is the perfect combination of salty and sweet with the addition of pretzels and peanut butter cups. I modified it by adding powdered pretzels as a layer and mixing peanut butter into one of the vanilla ice cream layers - making the ice cream super creamy and smooth.


*parchment paper

3 pints (or 6 c.) vanilla ice cream, divided (plus a little more to fill the pan)

1/4 c. creamy peanut butter

1/2 c. pretzels, food processed into a powder

30 mini recees peanut butter cups (about 1/2 a 19-0z. bag)

additional 3/4 c. pretzels, crushed into small pieces by hand

sea salt


Line the inside of a 9x5" loaf pan with parchment paper, with enough hanging over the sides to easily grab onto (about 4 inches on each side).


Using a mixer, beat together the peanut butter and 1 1/2 pints (or 3 c.) of the ice cream, until smooth and thoroughly mixed together. With a rubber spatula, scoop the peanut butter ice cream into the parchment-lined loaf pan and spread until it fills the corners and forms a flat layer.


Sprinkle the powdered 1/2 c. of pretzels over the peanut butter ice cream layer.


Sprinkle the chopped peanut butter cups over the powdered pretzels layer.


Scoop the remaining vanilla ice cream over the peanut butter cups, using the rubber spatula to pat it into the corners of the pan, smoothing it into a flat layer on the top.


For the crushed pretzel bits, you have 2 options...

1. You can put the bits on now, and freeze them, and they will be only slightly less crunchy when you serve the cake. or...

2. You can wait and press the crushed pretzel bits into the frozen cake just before serving.


Cover cake pan with foil and freeze.

Allow cake to freeze for at least 5 hours before serving, better if left overnight.


We cracked a teeny tiny bit of sea salt over each piece just before serving and loved the result. But be careful' don't overdo it!

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8 thoughts on “Pretzel & Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Cake

  1. That looks ridiculously good…I have put it on my for-Brad birthday/anniversary/let’s-make-today-a-special-day-because-we-can list. (-:

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