When is a cake not a cake?
Today’s recipe is a classic American dessert that is so magical it’s like Dynamo miraculously appeared in your kitchen, threw a box of Graham Crackers in the air and, upon it’s return to earth, transformed it into a cake. In fact, this cake is probably the quickest and easiest dessert that you’ll ever encounter. It’s an Icebox Cake, a magical recipe that takes just 10 minutes to prepare, requires a few simple ingredients, and yet contradictory to its’ name, doesn’t contain any sponge and is not frozen. So why is it called an icebox cake?
Before the days of smart phones, wifi and refrigerators – can you imagine? – people would store their food in an “icebox”, an insulated cabinet with a large block of ice at the top. As today’s dessert needs overnight chilling for the “magic” to happen, it became known as an Icebox Cake. A-ha, that’s the icebox part of the mystery solved, but where’s the cake?
A traditional icebox cake uses just three ingredients: whipping cream, sugar and chocolate wafers. That right, you’ll find no butter, no flour, and not a single egg. What’s more, this is a no-bake recipe so you don’t even have to turn the oven on. Surely that’s impossible, an illusion, a form of kitchen trickery? Not if you call upon the magic cake fairies who will pay your dessert a visit during the night and magically transform the crunchy wafers into a soft, moist layered cake – move over Criss Angel, there’s a new mind freak in town!
As we are just four days away from 4th July, I’ve decided to conjure up a little magic of my own. I’ve swapped the traditional chocolate wafers for Graham Crackers and added colourful strawberries and blueberries to create a red, white and blue dessert that’s perfect for Independence Day celebrations – how very patriotic of me!
In fact, this easy summer dessert can be “pimped” to suit any occasion. Why not add decorative toppings like Graham Cracker crumbs, crushed nuts, chocolate curls, chocolate chips, melted chocolate, chocolate sauce… yum chocolate! Or why not add some food colouring to the cream to make a colour themed icebox cake, or even crazier, a multi-coloured unicorn cake – OMG did I really just get sucked into the unicorn craze? Shame on me!
To prove that I’m not crazy and you really can turn a box of wafers into a cake, simply click on this image to watch my Very Berry Icebox Cake Video Recipe…
Very Berry Icebox Cake
1 Qt (950ml) Heavy Whipping Cream
½ Cup Powdered (Icing) Sugar
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Punnet (approx 400g) of Strawberries, Sliced
1 Pint (approx 340g) Blueberries
1 Box Graham Crackers
Place the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract into the bowl of a stand mixer and, using the whisk attachment, whip until stiff peaks form.
Hull and slice the strawberries.
Smear a thin layer of whipped cream over the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ dish. This will act as an adhesive to hold the first layer of Graham Crackers in place.
Place Graham Crackers on top of the cream in a single layer.
Spread a thick layer of cream over the Graham Crackers, then top with a layer of sliced strawberries.
Add another layer of Graham Crackers, a layer of cream, and then a layer of blueberries.
Repeat the process to create another layer topped with strawberries.
Add a final layer of crackers and cover with cream.
Decorate with the remaining strawberries and blueberries.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 3 hours, until the Graham Crackers have completely softened.