Prepare cake mix according to package directions using the 1 1/4 cups water. Pour batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Gently cut through batter to remove any large air pockets.
Bake according to package directions. Immediately invert cake; cool thoroughly in pan. Loosen sides of cake from pan; remove cake.
With a serrated knife, carefully split the cake horizontally into 3 layers. Place the bottom layer and middle layers on freezer-safe platters; spread each layer with 2 cups softened ice cream. Freeze layers for 30 to 60 minutes or until ice cream is firm. Place the middle layer, ice cream side up, on top of the bottom layer. Top with the remaining cake layer. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 6 to 24 hours.
To serve, in chilled mixing bowl beat whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.
Remove cake from freezer. Spread top and sides of frozen cake with whipped cream. Garnish with fresh strawberries. Serve immediately.
Chocolate Angel Food Ice Cream Cake: Prepare as above, except add 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder to cake mix. Substitute peppermint ice cream for strawberry ice cream. Spread 1/4 cup fudge ice cream topping on the top of each of the ice cream layers. Substitute 2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely crushed peppermint candies for fresh strawberries.
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