There’s an old Three Stooges episode that begins on a hot summer day without air conditioning (hello 1930s), and the “ice man” is bringing large blocks of ice to a wealthy family for a birthday gala. You’ve seen this shtick before: The ice keeps melting before the ice man can get the frozen cubes up the immense staircase to the front door. Hilarity. But the episode, with its olden-time ice man and ice boxes used to keep things cold (also few electric freezers back then) reminds me of a classic old-timey dessert: The icebox cake.
The icebox cake is a no-heat, no-bake cake that uses crackers or cookies as the “cake,” and a sweet mixture of whipped cream and ganache or fruits slathered all over the layers of cake… and the mixture sits in an icebox for hours, until the sweet, milky fruits permeate the cookies, and things soften up like a baked cake. If it sounds delicious, that’s because it is.
Here’s my fave icebox cake recipe right now. Fresh berries, lots of whipped cream, and homemade graham cracker “cake” layers.
No-Bake Berry Icebox Cake
3 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup organic powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Fresh mint, for garnish
1) Place berries in a food processor; pulse until well chopped but not completely smooth. Set aside.
2) Whip cream in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Gently mix in sugar and vanilla. Fold in berry mixture until just mixed.
3) Spread a small bit of very whipped cream along the bottom of a casserole pan; top with 6 graham crackers in an even layer. Top with ¼ of the whipped cream mixture. Repeat three times, until you have four layers. Top with any remaining whipped cream; garnish with fresh berries and fresh mint.
4) Chill cake until crackers are soft, about 4 to 8 hours. Serve cold.