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Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pretzel Cake…your go-to summer dessert…super easy, super simple, yet so delicious. The filling is made with high-quality chocolate ice cream, creamy peanut butter, chocolate fudge sauce, and vanilla ice cream. The crust is a mix of salty pretzels, roasted peanuts, and sweet salted butter. The filling and the crust combined make for a mouthwatering cake that’s chocolatey, peanutty, heavy on the fudge sauce, and a touch salty. Once the cake is frozen, top with homemade “magic shell” and salted pretzel twists. This is everyone’s favorite ice cream cake.

overhead photo of Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pretzel Cake

When it comes to sweets, I think you can all guess my favorites.

I love a good berry dessert, especially during these late spring and summer months, but when it comes to a tried and true favorite? It’s always going to be chocolate and peanut butter…always. Add some salty pretzels to the mix, WOW, even better. So, clearly I love this cake, but it does have a bit of a back story to it.

overhead prep photo of Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pretzel Cake before adding the final layer of chocolate and pretzels

The story…

About a week ago I came across a photo on my phone as I was frantically going through my catalog to free up space (the worst). It was a photo of an ice cream cake I’d shot about this time last year. It’s was melty, chocolatey, and topped with salty pretzels. As soon as my eyes caught hold of the cake, I stopped scrolling and paused to ask myself a few questions.

What was this cake? Why is it on my phone? It looks pretty good. Have I shared this recipe? What is this?

And then I remembered. It was a photo of the ice cream cake that was meant for the Half Baked Harvest Super Simple cookbook. It was cut out at the last minute due to spacing issues and me not loving the photo. When I don’t love a photo…I don’t use it. I thought back to the cake and the recipe itself, I LOVED this cake. It was all the things I wanted out of an ice cream cake and easy to put together too.

But as I said, I didn’t love the photo and when it came down to it, we ended up cutting the recipe from the cookbook. Was I bummed? Yes. So much so that I reshot the cake multiple times to try to get the photo just right. But I just wasn’t able to make it happen and we nixed the recipe.

The silver lining? While this didn’t make it into the cookbook, it’s making it onto the blog. And with new and improved photos too.

Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pretzel Cake | halfbakedharvest.com

The details.

Let me break this cake down into steps.

First, make the crust. This is super easy. Just combine salty pretzels, roasted peanuts, and butter. I find this easiest to do in a food processor, but it can also be done in a bowl. Do what works for you. Now, press the pretzel crust into a springform pan. No baking required. Simple. Simple.

Moving along to the ice cream filling. Are you ready? Mix slightly softened chocolate ice cream and a jar of creamy peanut butter together until they’re just mixed and have pretty swirls throughout. Spread the ice cream peanut butter mix over the crust. Add a layer of homemade fudge. Yes, homemade chocolate fudge sauce.

It’s indulgent but perfect.

Next, freeze for an hour or so, then remove from the freezer and add a layer of vanilla ice cream and that remaining creamy peanut butter.

At this point, you’ll need to freeze the cake again. This time until completely solid, ideally overnight.

overhead close up photo of Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pretzel Cake

A little before serving, make the “magic shell”. Mix melted chocolate with coconut oil until smooth. You now have a “magic shell”.  Pour the “magic shell” over the cake and top with pretzels. The shell will harden and the pretzels with be secured into place.

Slice and eat…simple, easy, and so darn delicious! The crust is salty and the filling is creamy and peanutty. The fudge sauce adds that extra layer of amazingness. And the pretzels on top? They provide a salty CRUNCH with every bite. This cake may be a bit over the top, but I’m all for it! As we head into a more low key summer than usual, it’s fun desserts like this that bring us together and bring us joy.

overhead close up photo of Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pretzel Cake slice

What about the homemade fudge sauce?

Yes! I’m giving you that recipe too, but I also want you to have the option to use store-bought as well. It’s totally up to you. If you’d like to make homemade fudge sauce, it’s 100% worth it, and so much easier than you’re probably thinking.

Just mix sweetened condensed milk with chocolate and a touch of butter…and that’s it.

overhead photo of Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pretzel Cake

I’ll be making this cake from Memorial Day through Labor Day, it has that extra element of sweet and salty deliciousness. It’s my “back pocket” ice cream cake that never fails me.

And the best part? It’s an ice cream cake! So make it today as a Memorial Day dessert and know that it’s going to be delicious. And because it’s frozen, if there are any leftovers it will keep well for at least a few months in the freezer. But it’s definitely not going to last that long.

Trust me. This cake gets eaten…fast.

Make it, enjoy it, and have the happiest Memorial Day weekend. See you guys tomorrow for another Cocktail Saturday!

overhead photo of Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pretzel Cake

Looking for other warm weather ice cream desserts? Some favorites of mine include…

Browned Butter Grilled Peaches with Cinnamon “Toast” Brioche Crumbs

Three Ingredient Strawberry Mango Popsicles

No Churn Minted White Chocolate Swirled Ice Cream

Nonnie’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake

overhead photo of Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pretzel Cake slices

Lastly, if you make this Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pretzel Cake, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pretzel Cake

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories Per Serving: 534 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Instructions

  • 1. Line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
    2. In a food processor, pulse together the pretzels and peanuts into semi-fine crumbs. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture holds together when pinched. Press into the bottom of the pan, and about 1-inch up the sides, making sure to pack tightly.
    3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the softened chocolate ice cream and about 1 cup of peanut butter until just combined, leaving streaks of peanut butter throughout the ice cream. Spread the ice cream over the crust in an even layer. Top evenly with chocolate fudge sauce. Cover and freeze 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the freezer, add the vanilla ice cream and remaining peanut butter, gently swirling the peanut butter throughout the ice cream. Cover and freeze for 4-6 hours or preferably overnight.
    4. To make the "magic shell". In a microwave safe bowl, melt together the chocolate and coconut oil until melted and smooth, about 1 minute. Let cool 5-10 minutes. Remove the cake from the freezer and release from the spring-form pan. Pour the magic shell over the cake. Working quickly, top with pretzels, then return the cake to the freezer until ready to serve.
    5. Remove the cake from the freezer 10 minutes before slicing. Slice and serve immediately.

Notes

To Soften the Ice Cream: remove from the freezer 10 minutes before using.
If you don't have a Food Processor: just add the pretzels and peanuts to a large ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to smash into crumbs. Or simply crush them by stepping all over the bag!
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Easy Homemade Fudge Sauce

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Calories Per Serving: 169 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Instructions

  • 1. Combine the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate, and butter in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until the butter and chocolate are melted and the sauce is smooth. Remove from heat. Let cool before using.
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overhead horizontal photo of Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pretzel Cake

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Comments

  1. Excited to try this for my daughter and husband’s birthdays next week 🙂 for the peanut butter, do you use natural (ie only peanuts) or “regular” (like Kraft etc that has the added sugar etc)? Thanks!

    1. Hi Loren,
      You can use either one, whatever you like best. I hope you love there recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  2. Hey! For some reason the chocolate ice cream melted under the fudge sauce and rose above it in the freezer after an hour of being in there. I let the fudge sauce cool before adding it on top and freezing it. The only thing I can think of is that the metal spring form pan is causing it to melt. I went ahead and added the vanilla ice cream Bc the fudge was solid enough to add it, so I’m hoping it’ll solidify overnight in the freezer. If you have any thoughts or tips I’d be so grateful! Thanks!

    1. Hey!
      So sorry to hear this! Sounds like one of the layers was too warm, either the fudge sauce or the ice cream. Let me know how it turns out! xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    Made this cake this weekend for National Ice Cream Day! It was so simple and soooo delicious!! We added rainbow sprinkles to the top along with the pretzels, requested by my daughters. Everyone loved it!

    1. Hey Kelsey,
      Wonderful! Thanks a lot for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed! xTieghan

  4. Have had this saved to make forever and finally made it last week. It was amazing!! I thought we would have leftovers but we eat the whole thing!

    1. Hey Hannah,
      Happy Sunday! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for making it! xxTieghan

  5. 5 stars
    The fudge sauce is to die for (will be keeping a jar in the fridge permanently and spoons handy) and the ice cream cake is fabulous. Was really happy with how the pretzel crust came out. Seemed too salty when I first made it, but was really good with the cake once cold. I switched the vanilla and chocolate ice creams, so that there was more vanilla (family preference). Sooo good and hits the spot when Seattle heat is breaking every record ever set!

    1. Hey Darla,
      Awesome! I am so glad that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a try! xxTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    So yummy! Made this for Father’s Day and my family loved it!! My mom said, and I quote, “something this good should be illegal”. Great recipe Tieghan!!

    1. Hey Savannah,
      Wonderful! I am so glad this recipe was a hit, thanks a lot for making it! Have a lovely week:) xTieghan

  7. Do you think substituting salted caramel ice cream instead of chocolate and vanilla would taste just as good? Only two out of six like peanut butter. Still planning on chocolate fudge sauce.
    Thanks

    1. Hey Martha,
      You can use an ice cream that you enjoy here. I hope you give this recipe a try, let me know how it turns out! xTieghan

    2. Does “2 (3.5 ounce) bars” mean 2 bars that each weigh 3.5oz total 7 ounces, or two bars of chocolate that equal 3.5oz???

      1. Hey Sarah,
        You will want to use 2 bars that are 3.5 ounces, so a total of 7 ounces. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  8. This looks so good! I’m going to make this for Father’s Day this weekend – if I make homemade ice cream (both the chocolate and vanilla in a Cuisinart ice cream maker), should I add the peanut butter when I make it or afterward?

    1. Hey Amy,
      I would swirl the peanut butter in after. I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  9. 5 stars
    Yummy and so easy to make. The spring form pan is key. To remove the spring form, I used a knife which I kept running under hot water. Made it so easy to remove the form.

    1. Hey Susan,
      Happy Sunday! Thanks a lot for giving this recipe a go, I am so excited that it was enjoyed! xxTieghan

  10. 5 stars
    A lot of little steps but the cake looked almost exactly like yours and it was sumptuous. I made the chocolate layer on top too thick so like others didn’t cut so well. Used a hot knife. A hit with Sylvia who has now claimed it her birthday cake. Definitely a winner!

    1. Hey Diego,
      Wonderful! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed. Thanks a bunch for giving it a try! xTieghan

  11. 5 stars
    Made this for a birthday.. only change I made was I drizzled the chocolate topping after slicing due to other comments about difficulty cutting it once it hardened. Everyone loved it and it looked so pretty.

    1. Hey Vera,
      Fantastic! I am thrilled that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for giving it a try! xxTieghan

  12. Can I use the extra homemade fudge for the magic shell as well? I didn’t get enough chocolate for the shell and I have a ton of fudge left over.

    1. Hey Katy,
      Sure you could do that! I hope you enjoy the recipe, please let me know how it turns out! xTieghan

    1. Hey Jessica,
      The vanilla extract is added into the fudge sauce after it is removed from the heat. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  13. I never have salted butter on hand. How much salt should I add to one stick of unsalted butter? Thank you!

    1. Hey Erena,
      I would use 1/4 teaspoon. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  14. My husband is allergic to coconut — is there something we could use aaa replacement in the magic shell? Thanks so much!

    1. Hey Kim,
      You could use butter in place of the coconut oil. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  15. Quick question! I made the fudge sauce using your recipe. How long will the leftover fudge sauce be good for if I keep it in the frig?

  16. Hi Tieghan,
    Making this today and wanted to give you a heads up that your directions for the fudge sauce don’t mention adding in the 2 tsp of vanilla.
    Thanks for this recipe. I’m making it for my daughters 27th birthday!

    1. Thank you so much Marni! I hope this turns out amazing for you all! Happy Birthday to your daughter!! xTieghan

  17. 5 stars
    My family loved this! I wasn’t able to freeze it overnight so it was a bit messy and difficult to cut; however, that didn’t interfere with the taste at all! I will definitely have to make this again. My grandmother said it was better than a “monster cake” I recently bought! Think— a frozen Reece’s but homemade!! So good!

    1. Hey Lisa,
      I would say it is good for a few weeks. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  18. Hi Tieghan I made your Nona ice cream cake and loved it, can’t wait to make this to bring to a friends house this Thursday. The question I have regarding both cakes is can I freeze the cake with the magic shell or should I do that step right before serving? That’s what I did with the other cake but being that I’m bringing this to their house it would look nicer to have it done already. I love, love all your recipes, made the adobe Chicken last week and it was hobbled up immediately!

    1. Hi Gail,
      So glad you enjoyed the ice cream cake. You can absolutely freeze this with the magic shell. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  19. 5 stars
    This was AMAZING!! Tasted exactly like a DQ buster bar. Very easy to make, too. I put a bit less chocolate on the top and used a mix of semi-sweet and milk chocolate. It was delicious.
    The fudge recipe makes a lot of fudge. I kept the rest in the fridge and use it to make ice cream sundaes.

    1. Hi Lisa
      I would just follow the recipe as is and fill your pan accordingly. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  20. 5 stars
    Made it for a group for 4th of July. Big hit! Very peanut buttery and delicious. Magic shell is quite hard but delish

  21. 5 stars
    I made this for my mom’s birthday using non-dairy ice cream and gluten-free pretzels, and it was delicious! I was a little worried it would not be as good with non-dairy ice cream, but it was SO good! Cannot go wrong with this recipe. Thank you, Tieghan!

  22. Half way through making this recipe and will rate it when I finally get to try it! Wondering the best way to store the extra fudge sauce for another project? fridge? freezer? how long will it keep?

    1. Hey!
      I would keep in the fridge for a few weeks, it’s great to top ice cream with! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hi Kellie,
      So sorry, not sure what you are seeing but everything is there on our end:) I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hi Katy,
      I only line the bottom of the pan. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  23. I am making this cake to bring to a party tomorrow, would you put the magic shell on after arriving at the destination or do today the day before and freeze?

    1. Hi Erica,
      I would wait to add the magic shell and pretzels until at your destination and then freeze until ready to eat. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  24. I made this cake for Father’s Day but had to freeze it in my neighbor’s freezer as my frig is on the ‘blink’! Her son accidentally failed to close the freezer door tightly and it melted: runnier than a thick milkshake. We refroze it and it’s not bad. Just more testament to HBH quality!!!!

    1. Haha oh wow! That sounds like a wild day! I am really glad it still tasted good and I hope you can try it again in the near future! Thank you Susan! xTieghan

  25. Made this for a birthday, and it was so fun! The homemade fudge layer is ABSOLUTELY worth it. Was intimidated by the ice cream/pb mixing at first – but it is easier than it seems! I added some flakey sea salt that Tieghan recommended to the top shell…was delicious!

  26. 4 stars
    I made this for my husband’s birthday and he loved it. It was very rich for me. I took a short cut for the vanilla ice cream layer and used one from a local creamery that had vanilla ice cream, peanut butter and mini chocolate chips mixed in – it was great. I did follow the recipe and mixed the chocolate ice cream and peanut butter together for the first layer of ice cream – it got very messy, so I may just stick with plain chocolate ice cream next time. I didn’t realize for the fudge layer that you only needed 1/2 cup so I have a bunch leftover – I probably would have made less if I noticed that. I also found it really difficult to cut through the magic shell once it hardened. Other than that it was great and I would make again with a few tweaks.

  27. Going to give this a whirl!! For the chocolate ice cream is that also a pint? Couldn’t see on ingredient list. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Rach,
      Yes that is correct. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  28. 3 stars
    I made this last night, and it was beautiful, easy and delicious. However, I’m only giving three stars because of practicality: the shell on top was so thick I couldn’t cut through it. It ended up just smooshing down all the ice cream and making a huge mess and was very hard to serve. Ended up stabbing the shell to “shatter” it into smaller chunks. I’ll use less than the recommended chocolate for the shell next time so it’s not so thick.
    Love your recipes; thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Kara! I am really glad this turned out so well for you! Also, so sorry that the shell was too thick! Please let me know if there is anything I can help with! xTieghan

  29. 5 stars
    15/10 ice cream cake!!! I made this for my dad’s birthday a couple weeks ago, and my entire family was in shock of how good it was. I don’t have a food processor, so I crushed the peanuts and pretzels myself and left them a little more in form and the crust still held and tasted amazing as a chunkier crunch with the ice cream. Obviously you make this over several hours due to the freezing, but each step was simple! I doubled the amount of fudge in the middle layer. Will be making this for all summertime special occasions for sure!!

    1. Haha yes! I am so glad you enjoyed this, Cara!! Thank you for trying it! Happy Belated Birthday to him! xTieghan

    1. Hi Sara,
      Yes that will work! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  30. Tieghan,
    We are making this cake on Thursday for my birthday. You have turned this quarantine into absolute cooking bliss! I am originally from Brazil and I am unsure if you know, but the sweet condensed milk with chocolate is how we make our famous Brazilian brigadeiros.
    Congratulations to you on such beautiful and inspiring work.
    With respect,
    Sarah

    1. Hi Sarah! I hope you love this cake for your birthday! Also, Happy Birthday!! I hope you have an amazing day! xTieghan

  31. I am making this for my dad’s 65th birthday and can’t wait to try it!! I just realized I do not have any parchment paper…would you use wax paper or foil instead? What do you think?

    1. Hi Rachel,
      I would use wax paper. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  32. Any thoughts on making this with alternate nuts/nut butters? I’m making this for a friend for his birthday but his daughter is allergic to peanuts so would like to make it friendly for her. Just wondering what you think would work best. Thanks!

    1. Hi Katie,
      Yes that would be totally fine to do or simply omit the nut butter altogether. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  33. Trying this recipe for my husband’s birthday and my mouth is drooling every time I think about it! I don’t see a step for using the vanilla extract in the homemade fudge sauce. Is it in the beginning with everything else?
    Thanks!

  34. This is the most amazing thing I’ve seen on the internet in a while. Looks delish! I love the chocolate-peanut butter-pretzel combo.

  35. 5 stars
    I made this and it was a huge hit!! All of my friends were amazed! This is the perfect dessert! I love your recipes!

  36. 5 stars
    This was easy and delicious! I only made half of the magic shell because I didn’t have enough chocolate and that was plenty. My family gave it “legendary” status.

  37. 5 stars
    This is so good! I love chocolate and peanut butter together and the saltiness from the pretzels & peanuts goes great. The recipe is easy to follow & the flavors are great.

  38. 5 stars
    Made this for dessert yesterday and it was outstanding! This one will be posted on my Pinterest board recipes worth repeating board for sure!

    1. Hi Wendy,
      You can use butter. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  39. Looks divine! Except what can I substitute the peanuts and peanut butter… highly allergic to it!
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Gabriela,
      You can simply omit the peanuts and peanut butter. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  40. Hi! I’d like to make this but it does seem like there’s only step one listed. Can you please add the rest of the ingredients? I can try looking on my iPad too If maybe it’s just my phone not showing me the whole recipe.

    1. Hi Rose,
      So sorry, but everything is good on our end, the full recipe and instructions are here on the page. Please let me know how I can help. xTieghan

  41. Hi! This sounds absolutely amazing. My mom is allergic to coconut. Is there another oil I can use instead? Thanks!

    1. Hi Cara,
      Yes you can use butter or olive oil. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hi Nat,
      Yes that works! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hi Stacey,
      You can just line a square or rectangle baking dish with parchment paper. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  42. You’re a dream, I absolutely love all of your recipes!!! I’m like die in a second allergic to peanuts, can I sub other nuts in this recipe, it looks heavenly!!!

    1. Hi Jenny,
      Sure! Use whatever you like! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  43. I had just said i wanted to make an ice cream cake and 2 min later you posted this!!🙌🏻 In step 4, when it says to melt together the chocolate and coconut oil, is that referring to the chocolate sauce? Not the chips correct?

    1. Hi Mary,
      This is referring to the 8 ounces of chocolate that will be used for the shell. The fudge sauce will already have been used at this point. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  44. This looks amazing. Question: am I supposed to mix the vanilla ice cream and peanut butter in the mixer like you did with the chocolate ice cream and peanut butter?

    1. Hi Meredith,
      No need to do that, just layer it on top and swirl the peanut butter in. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  45. This cake looks amazing and I would like to attempt making it. However, I’m only seeing the first instruction on the webpage and I assume there are several more

  46. I am sure chocolate peanut butter and sweet and salty folks will love this.

    When you say leftovers could be stored a few months in the fridge… that would be freezer I am sure. Ha!!