While deciding on a kid-friendly Shabbat recipe, I was witness to an accidental focus group. A couple of weeks ago, my brother and sister-in-law threw a birthday party for my nephew’s first birthday. They offered a great spread of sweets, including lollipops, fruit and a variety of homemade cakes. While each of these dishes was consumed over the course of the day, the ice cream cake was the clear fan favorite among partygoers under the age of 10.

Ice cream cakes aren’t just universally beloved by kids (and adults) of all ages. They’re also just as easy to make as they are to go out and purchase. Most of the cake’s prep time is spent chilling in the freezer, where it can sit for up to a week in advance. And with more and more people forgoing meat in favor of fish or vegetables, it’s perfectly acceptable to cap off a meal with a dairy dessert.

So this week, put the kids in charge of the dessert course. They’ll have an opportunity to play with their food and contribute to the family meal.

Two-Tone Ice Cream Cake

Serves 10

30 chocolate cookies (such as Oreos)
4 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
2 pints ice cream (1 pint each of your two favorite flavors)
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh berries, for garnish

1. Process cookies to fine crumbs. (You can use a food processor to do this, or you can break up the cookies and transfer them to a heavy-duty freezer bag. Use a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy pot to smash the cookies to crumbs.) Transfer cookie crumbs to medium bowl. Stir in melted margarine or butter until combined.

2. Line 8-by-8 baking pan with plastic wrap, making sure to cover bottom and sides completely. (It’s OK if plastic wrap hangs over edges.) Scoop 1½ cups cookie crumbs into pan. Use bottom of measuring cup to spread out and smooth crumbs into even layer. Transfer pan to freezer and chill for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, remove one pint ice cream from freezer and let soften on counter while crust chills.

3. Once crust has chilled, remove from freezer. Scoop ice cream into pan and use offset spatula or rubber spatula to spread it into even layer. Sprinkle with 1 cup cookie crumbs. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to freezer until set, about 2 hours.

4. About 20 minutes before removing the pan from freezer, transfer second pint of ice cream to counter to soften.

5. Remove pan from freezer. Scoop ice cream into pan and use offset spatula or rubber spatula to spread it into even layer. Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to freezer until frozen, at least 2 hours.

6. Before serving cake, fit stand mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk cream and vanilla to stiff peaks. Remove cake from freezer and spread whipped cream over top. Top with fresh berries. Cut into slices and serve.