Americans call it icebox cake, the British call it “zebra cake” and the Australians call it “chocolate ripple cake/log”. Whatever you happen to call this “cake”, there is something magical about icebox cakes. You start with crisp wafer cookies or graham crackers, whipped cream or pudding and end up with what tastes like a cream-filled cake. Magic! And no baking-which makes it the perfect summer time dessert.
Of course, it’s not really magic, the long exposure to moisture from the whipped cream or pudding softens the wafer cookies or graham crackers, rendering them cake-like.
One of the first icebox cake recipes was, and still is, printed on each box of Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, starting back in the 1930s. Women would put together the layers of their icebox cakes and store them in their “ice box”-refrigerator to us modern folks.
You don’t need to be able to bake to make an icebox cake; you don’t even have to turn on the oven to make an icebox cake. The other great thing about the icebox cake is that you can make it as big or small as you want. Feed a crowd or feed one or two.
Here is one of my favorite icebox cakes, Strawberry Icebox Cake, featured on the website www.thekitchn.com. It’s a great way to use the now in season strawberries (bought from one of the Reno farmer’s markets, roadside fruit stands or your local grocery store), although any fruit would do. Just make sure it is sliced thinly so the layers sit evenly. And the best part? It gets drizzled with chocolate ganache!
Strawberry Icebox Cake
- 2 pounds fresh strawberries-washed and dried
- 3 1/4 cups whipping cream-divided
- 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 24 to 28 whole graham crackers-four sleeves (19 ounces)
- 2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
- Take out a few of the best looking strawberries and set them aside for garnish. Hull the remainder of the strawberries and slice each one into thin slices.
- With a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip 3 cups of cream until it just holds stiff peaks. Add the confectioners sugar and vanilla and whip to combine.
- Spread a small spoonful of whipped cream on the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan, or a similar sized platter. Lay down six graham crackers. Lightly cover the top of the graham crackers with more whipped cream and then a single layer of strawberries. Repeat three times, until you have four layers of graham crackers. Spread the last of the whipped cream over the top and swirl it lightly with a spoon. Add a few more strawberries.
- To make the ganache, heat the cream until bubbles form around the endes, then pour over the chopped chocolate. Let is tand for a few minutes, then whisk until the mixture is thick and glossy. Drizzle this over the layered dessert using a spoon, or transfer to a squeeze bottle and use that to drizzle.
- Refrigerate for at least four hours, or until the crackers have softened completely. Garnish with additional berries.
Makes me drool just thinking about it! Bon Appetit, Reno!