Just five ingredients separate you from this delectable easy-to-put-together cake. Because it’s an icebox cake it doesn’t require any baking and is perfect for those who think they can’t cook. You simply layer cream and cookies one after another in a springform pan and throw it in the refrigerator to set. Top it off with crushed cookies and shaved dark chocolate and you’ve got yourself a showstopping dessert that will look impressive at your next BBQ.
But where did the icebox cake come from? It is the descendant of similarly prepared desserts such as the charlotte and the trifle, but the process to make it is much less complicated.
When the icebox, the non-mechanical chilled box, and precursor to the refrigerator, was introduced in the 1930s, it became a popular kitchen appliance as manufacturers came up with ideas on how to utilize it, one of them being a sort-of reverse “baking” or setting of desserts. A dessert was quickly named after the new device and food manufacturers produced icebox cake ingredients accompanied with an easy recipe for home cooks.
Wafer cookies, graham crackers, condensed milk, and pudding were the traditional first ingredients of the icebox cake and you can still use them today. But this recipe blends vanilla extract and sugar into soft and spreadable mascarpone and layers it between chocolate chip cookies, sort of like a tiramisu. The flair is in the garnishes – crumbled chocolate chip cookies and shaved dark chocolate here – but use your imagination. Maybe sprinkles or edible glitter? Chopped nuts or poppy seeds? Sliced strawberries or bananas? Go wild!
For the cake:
- 16 ounces mascarpone, softened
- 2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 50 mini (1 1/2-inch) chocolate chip cookies
For the garnish:
- Crushed chocolate chip cookies
- Shaved dark chocolate
- 9-inch springform pan
- Two mixing bowls
- Electric mixer or whisk or large spoon
- Place the mascarpone, 2/3 cup sugar, and vanilla into a mixing bowl and beat together. Set aside. Pour cream and remaining sugar into another mixing bowl until stiff peaks just form. Fold the slightly sweetened whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until just combined.
- Spread a very thin layer of whipped cream onto the surface of a 9-inch springform pan and top with a layer of cookies, breaking up a couple of cookies and fitting the pieces into the larger gaps.
- Top the cookies with another layer of whipped cream and repeat with cookies and more whipped cream until all the cookies have been used.
- Refrigerate the icebox cake for at least 12 hours, or overnight.
- Remove from the refrigerator, unmold from the springform pan, and frost with the remaining whipped cream.
- Top the cake with the extra chocolate chip cookie crumbs and grated chocolate and serve.
You want to see all of the cake, so when it comes time to serve the dessert consider cutting the slices at a 45 degrees angle in front of your guests and pull out the slice so everyone can see the layers from a few angles. You can then slice into smaller pieces, but the sweet tooth may not want you to.
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