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How to Make Carla Hall’s Perfect Chocolate Almond Ice Cream Cake

Lactose-intolerant? No problem — you won’t miss out with this rich recipe.

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For Chef Carla Hall, baking is a casual Friday. It’s her happy place, and the only thing that makes it better is when she’s baking for someone else. Cooking for her friends brings Hall joy and comfort: It’s her way of nurturing the ones who mean the most to her, and she’s able to do it with delicious flavors and ingredients.

But occasionally, Hall has to work around dietary restrictions. Her friend, Nolan Williams Jr., is lactose-intolerant, but that doesn’t stop Hall from whipping up something tasty for him. With the help of Lactaid®, which is real milk (but lactose-free), Hall can make her friend her a delicious chocolate chip ice cream cake, without sacrificing any flavor.

The name of this cake is a mouthful — but every bite is delectable. Made with Lactaid Cookies & Cream Ice Cream that’s sandwiched between rich chocolate almond cake, the dessert’s then covered with sour cream chocolate ganache and more ice cream. Bonus: it’s still perfect for anyone lactose-intolerant. Check out Hall’s recipe below to make it for yourself.

Chocolate Almond Cookies & Cream Ice Cream Cake

Serves 8


Place the bottom layer of the Chocolate Almond Cake (recipe below) onto a cake platter. Working quickly and using a rubber spatula, spread the softened Cookies & Cream Ice Cream evenly on top of the bottom layer, spreading it all the way to the edges.

Top with the second layer of the cake, then spoon the Sour Cream Chocolate Ganache (recipe below) over the top, spreading it evenly with an offset spatula. Sprinkle all over with the flaked almonds and crushed chocolate sandwich cookies.

Spoon the softened Vanilla Ice Cream into a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip, and pipe rosettes or other decorative swirls on top of the cake. (You can do this in advance and keep the pastry bag in the freezer, then allow to soften for 10 minutes before using).

Return to the freezer to set completely before serving, about one hour.

Chocolate Almond Cake

Makes 1 8” square cake (or a 9” round cake)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8” square pan (or 9” round) that’s at least 2” deep, and then line with parchment paper and lightly grease again.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk the extract, vinegar, oil, and water in a separate bowl, then pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until combined, with no visible lumps, then fold in the toasted almonds.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tapping the pan lightly on the counter to remove any air bubbles.

Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (A couple of crumbs is fine; you want the cake to be moist.)

Allow to cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto the rack and cool completely.

Using a serrated bread knife, cut the cooled cake in half horizontally into two even layers, each about 1” tall.

Lactaid Sour Cream Chocolate Ganache

Makes about 1.5 cups


Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave or over a double boiler, stirring occasionally until completely liquid.

Fold in the sour cream until fully incorporated and smooth. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract until blended, then gently whisk into the chocolate and sour cream mixture until smooth and glossy.

Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours until thickened. This can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 1 week, then brought to room temperature before using.

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