I love baking, but not in the summer. I love serving cake for dessert, but when it’s too hot to turn on the oven, classic icebox cakes are a yummy option.
Icebox cakes require only assembly, alternating layers of cookies or store-bought loaf cake with pudding and/or whipped cream, and sometimes fruit. The “cooking” actually takes place in the refrigerator, where the cake must stay for at least four hours or ideally overnight.
One of my favorite icebox cakes is perfect to serve throughout the summer because it features strawberries, blueberries and freshly whipped cream. Another family favorite is a banana cream icebox cake. Both are sweet, cool and creamy on a hot summer day – and both “cook” at a refrigerated 40 degrees instead of 350 degrees in a hot oven.
Summer Berry Icebox Cake
1 box graham crackers (you will have some left over)
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 boxes (3.4 ounces each) instant vanilla pudding, unprepared
2 ½ cups cold milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups blueberries
1. In a medium bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and pudding mix until combined. Gradually beat in the milk until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream.
3. Spread a thin layer of the pudding cream on the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Layer the graham crackers on top, breaking to fit the pan.
4. Spread a third of the pudding cream onto the crackers. Sprinkle one third of both berries over the cream.
5. Repeat with another layer of crackers, a third of pudding cream and a third of the berries.
6. Repeat with a final layer of crackers and remaining cream filling. Decorate with the rest of the berries. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for four hours or overnight. Serve cold.
Banana Cream Icebox Cake
1 3.4 ounce box instant banana cream pudding mix, unprepared
2 cups cold milk
1 pound cake (I used Entenmann’s All Butter Loaf Cake)
1 cup heavy cream
3 bananas, sliced ½ inch thick
1. In large bowl, beat pudding mix and milk for two minutes or until thoroughly combined and slightly thickened. Put in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold cream into pudding until combined.
3. Slice cake into ½ inch slices. Arrange one layer of slices on bottom of 6×9 baking dish or 8×8 square pan.
4. Arrange single layer of banana slices on top of cake, then cover with half of the pudding cream, spreading to the edges of the pan.
5. Repeat to create a second layer. Use remaining banana slices to garnish the top.
6. Cover the icebox cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least four hours, or overnight. The cake can also be frozen and brought to room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.