Strawberry Icebox Cake

Strawberry Icebox Cake
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Icebox cakes enjoyed their heyday during the 1920s and 30s. They were devised as a more approachable version of a Charlotte or a trifle. The dessert was rolled out as part of a marketing push for a kitchen appliance called the icebox. The use of pre-packaged cookies and cans of sweetened condensed milk enhanced the accessibility of the dessert. The most famous icebox cake recipe appeared for years on the back of a box of Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers. Today’s Strawberry Icebox Cake swaps the chocolate cookies and vanilla cream for strawberry wafer cookies and strawberry ruby chocolate whipped cream. The cake is finished with a frosting of Chantilly cream and a dusting of blitzed freeze-dried strawberries. 

Sifting the flour into a bowl.

You are not alone if you’ve never made an icebox cake. Before I started developing the cake you see before you, I had never made one. I made an ice cream version of an icebox cake but never the original whipped cream and wafer cookie confection. Why? Because it feels like it shouldn’t work. Whipped cream always seemed to me to be insufficient mortar for a dessert that is otherwise just a stack of cookies. But I am ecstatic to report, I was completely wrong. 

Whisking freeze-dried strawberry powder into the dry ingredients.

When assembling an icebox cake, you will have a moment when you doubt the entire exercise. It will look and feel like a hot mess when assembling it. I was convinced every time I tested this recipe that I would end up with cookie cream soup. But persevere, live with the temporary ugliness and you will be rewarded for your pains. 

Butter and sugar in a bowl.

There is some sort of crazy alchemy that takes place between the cookies and cream in that brief stint in the refrigerator and, somehow, against all odds, a solid frostable cake emerges. Now, do you have to take care and move quickly when frosting said cake? Yes, yes you do. And yes, you should keep your icebox cake in the fridge right up to the point of slicing and serving because, well, heat and humidity are not its friends. But “icebox” is in the name, so that’s hardly a betrayal. 

Cutting the cookies out
Freshly baked cookies on a cooling rack

Okay, enough preamble, let’s make this beast. We’re going to start by making the strawberry wafer cookies. I would tell you you can skip this step by purchasing the OG chocolate wafer cookies but they have been discontinued. They are also chocolate and not strawberry. But if you really don’t want to make your own cookies and you don’t care all that much about strawberry continuity, I have heard that people are having success with Oreo Thins. Another alternative is graham crackers. They are a bit of a different vibe but they will work in a pinch.

Folding ruby chocolate into the whipped cream.

Start by blitzing a pack of freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor. Add them to a large bowl. Sift in flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine. Set the dry ingredients aside and cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add an egg yolk and a splash of vanilla. Beat in the dry ingredients in batches until a dough forms. Place the dough in the center of a piece of parchment. Wrap it and roll it out into a sheet. Chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes. When the 30 minutes are up, use a 3″ biscuit cutter to punch out your cookies. Transfer them to a large baking sheet lined with a silicone mat. Bake the cookies until lightly golden, about 12 minutes. Set the cookies aside to cool completely.

Strawberry Icebox Cake

With the cookies out of the way, we’re ready to tackle the actual cake. Start by lining a Pullman loaf pan with plastic wrap. A Pullman loaf pan is essentially a deep loaf pan with straight sides. If you don’t have one and don’t feel like acquiring one, a regular 9×13 loaf pan will work as well. Now, let’s make the cream. Whip cream and freeze-dried strawberry powder together until light and airy. Melt some ruby chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl and add a little of the cream. Fold the cream into the chocolate until no streaks remain. Add a little more cream and repeat. Keep going until all the cream is integrated. Chill the cream down for 1 hour.

Strawberry Icebox Cake

Now it’s time to assemble the Strawberry Icebox Cake. Spread a little of the cream into the base of the loaf pan. Take a cookie and spread some of the cream on the cookie. Place another cookie on top and turn it into a sandwich and lay it in the loaf pan. Repeat with two more cookies and you should have a complete layer. Add some cream on top of that layer and build another one. Repeat until no cookies remain. Pour any remaining cream on top and smooth the surface. Cover with plastic wrap and leave the cake to sit overnight in the fridge.

Strawberry Icebox Cake

The next day, whip up some chantilly cream and pop the cake out of the loaf pan. Cover it with a thin layer of the cream and transfer any remaining cream to a large piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe rosettes onto the top of the cake and dust it with some additional strawberry dust. Chill until ready to serve.

And that’s everything you need to know about this Strawberry Icebox Cake. Sweet, a little tart, and oh-so-pretty in pink, this cake is the perfect summer treat.

Enjoy!

Strawberry Icebox Cake

Strawberry Icebox Cake

This Strawberry Icebox Cake features strawberry wafer cookies suspended in a strawberry ruby chocolate cream. The cake is finished with chantilly cream and freeze-dried strawberry dust.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chilling Time 9 hours
Course Dessert
Servings 10

Equipment

  • 1 pullman loaf pan
  • 1 hand or stand mixer
  • 1 Food Processor
  • 2 Large Baking Sheets
  • 1 3" biscuit cutter

Ingredients
  

Strawberry Wafer Cookies **

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 11g (0.4oz) freeze-dried strawberries blitz into a powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp unsalted butter softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Strawberry Ruby Chocolate Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 11g (0.4oz) freeze-dried strawberries blitzed into a powder
  • tsp pink color gel optional
  • 120g (4oz) ruby chocolate chips

Chantilly Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6g (0.2oz) freeze-dried strawberries blitzed into a powder

Instructions
 

For the Cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper and set them aside.
  • Place the strawberry powder in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
    1½ cups all-purpose flour, 11g (0.4oz) freeze-dried strawberries, ½ tsp baking soda, ¼ tsp salt
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat to combine. Add half of the dry ingredients and beat until fully integrated. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients.
    1/2 cup + 3 tbsp unsalted butter, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Form the dough into a ball and place it in the center of a piece of parchment paper. Wrap the paper loosely around the dough to form a rectangular shape. Roll the dough out to fill the shape of the parchment paper. You should have a sheet of cookie dough. Transfer it to the fridge and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Once the 30 minutes are up, unwrap the dough and place it on a floured surface. Roll the dough out to an 1/8" thickness. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out a series of cookies. Arrange them on the prepared baking sheets and cook for 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

For the Strawberry Ruby Chocolate Cream

  • Pour the cream into a large bowl. Add the strawberry powder and color gel if using. Whip everything together on high until soft peaks form.
    2 cups heavy cream, 11g (0.4oz) freeze-dried strawberries
  • In a microwave proof bowl, heat the ruby chocolate in 30 second intervals until completely melted. Add a spoonful of the cream to the chocolate and fold to combine. Repeat until the cream is fully integrated. *** Chill the cream for 1 hour.
    120g (4oz) ruby chocolate chips

To Assemble

  • Line a pullman loaf pan with plastic wrap with lots of overhang. Spread a little of the cream on the bottom of the pan. Take a cookie and spread some cream on it. Take another cookie and make a sandwich. Place it in the pan. Repeat with two more cookies until you have an even layer. Spread a little cream on top. Repeat this process until you run out of cookies. Pour the remaining cream on top and smooth the surface.
  • Wrap the overhang of plastic wrap over the final layer of cream. Transfer the loaf pan to the fridge and let sit for 8 hours or until solid. ****

For the Chantilly Cream

  • Whip the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract on high until light and fluffy. Take the icebox cake out of the loaf pan and cover it with a thin layer of Chantilly cream.
    2 cups heavy cream, ¼ cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Transfer the remaining Chantilly cream to a large piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe rosettes on top of the cake and return it to the fridge. Let chill for an hour before serving. *****
  • Just before serving, cover the top of the cake with the freeze-dried strawberry dust. Slice and serve immediately.
    6g (0.2oz) freeze-dried strawberries

Notes

** If you don’t feel like making your own cookies, use graham crackers instead. 
*** It’s important to add the cream slowly, so the chocolate doesn’t cool too quickly and seize. 
**** The mixture will feel far too loose going into the pan but I promise it will set up nice and firm. 
***** This cake does not like heat and humidity, so make sure you keep the cake cold. 
Keyword cookies, strawberries, whipped cream

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