Dessert made easy: Holiday no bake cake
By Andy Mueller
If you haven’t been buried in the culinary scene lately, you may not be aware that icebox cake, or refrigerator cake, is having a moment lately.
Just like many old-school foods, icebox cake is popping up again as people find it’s not only delicious, but incredibly easy to make.
It’s basically a dessert lasagna, because it calls for thin cookies, wafers or graham crackers nestled between layers of whipped cream.
The process is repeated until you reach the top of whatever pan you like to use.
I used a loaf pan, but you can use a springform pan, 13×9 inches, or something similar.
Obviously, it’s called icebox cake, because that’s what we used to call refrigerators before they became a standard household appliance.
Large blocks of ice were housed in a tin-lined wooden box and would help keep perishable foods cold.
The beauty of this cake is you never even turn on the oven.
The refrigerator does all the work for you, and it’s best when left to nap overnight, loosely covered in plastic wrap.
It’s good for about four days in the fridge and gets more “cakelike” each day.
The basic reason it works is that the cookies or wafers act like sponges to pull moisture from the whipped cream, making them soft and more like a cake texture.
The moisture that’s pulled into the cookies allows the whipped cream to tighten up, making it a stable, sliceable whipped frosting texture. This recipe uses thin chocolate cookies, but you can use any thin wafer, graham cracker or cookie flavor you desire.
The whipped cream can be any flavor as well – think lemon, chocolate, peanut butter, etc. Just make sure the cookies and cream complement each other.
The addition of chopped nuts and chocolate chips also work quite nicely.
With all the activity and packed schedules we have during the holidays, it’s nice to know that you can whip up an excellent dessert in minutes and enjoy it for days – if it lasts that long.
Cookies and Cream Icebox Cake
in a large mixing bowl add:
• 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar.
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
• 4 cups very cold heavy whipping cream.
Place the bowl of cream on top of a bowl of ice to keep the cream cold as you mix. This will ensure a tighter whipped cream and better results. Using an electric hand mixer, beat at medium-speed until mixture starts to thicken, then slowly turn the mixer to a medium high speed until stiff peaks are formed.
Add to the whipped cream:
• 2 tablespoons of whipped cream cheese, softened. Mix just until the cream cheese is blended with the whipped cream.
Spread a 1/2 inch layer of whipped cream on the bottom of a cake pan, loaf pan or spring form pan, then top with a layer of chocolate wafers.
You will want to cover the whipped cream as much as possible, so you may need to break a few cookies to get the edges.
Repeat the layering process until you get to the top of the pan with whipped cream being the final layer.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill overnight in the refrig… icebox.
To serve, run a knife along the outside of the dessert to separate from the pan, slice and serve.
Top with crushed cookies, nuts, toasted coconut or whatever your heart desires.
Chef Andy Mueller is owner/chef of Galley 57 Supper Club in Bellevue – galley57.com.