Friday, June 20, 2008

Foodie Friday: The Icebox Cake

A year ago, I had never heard of something called icebox cake, which is apparently a classic, made with Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers and large amounts of whipped cream. In my house we always made Chocolate Eclair Cake in the summers, another no-bake dessert made with graham crackers, vanilla pudding, Cool Whip, and chocolate frosting. In any case, with company coming, someone insisted that we make it - partially so we didn't have to eat it all!

Icebox Cake

While the recipe and photo on the Famous Wafers box isn't particularly inspiring, a quick search brought us to this fabulous entry at Smitten Kitchen. That, my friends, is a cake to be proud of, baking or no baking.

There is nothing difficult about this cake, except getting over the idea of three cups of whipping cream, and perhaps finding a way to protect it in the refrigerator overnight, which I'll get to in a bit. You have to use real cream, none of this stuff in a spray can.

Icebox Cake

But first, the super-simple recipe. This version comes from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, and evidently via Oprah before I found it on Smitten Kitchen.

Icebox Cake

3 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 (9-ounce) packages chocolate wafer cookies
Unsweetened cocoa (or chocolate shavings)

In a large bowl, beat cream, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Make sure it's not runny, as you'll need it to hold its structure as you build the cake.

On a flat serving plate, arrange 7 cookies side by side in a circle, keeping 1 cookie in the center.

Spread with 1/2 cup whipped cream, making a 7-inch circle. Repeat with remaining cookies and cream, making 11 layers of cookies and ending with a layer of cream (there may be a few cookies left over). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, dust top lightly with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings.

For ease of refrigerating and serving, we ignored the serving plate and constructed an armature of cardboard and aluminum foil instead. This is not a large cake, so we laid the seven wafers in a circle, traced around them, and discovered that the resulting support would fit in one of our large pans with a lid. As we don't have a cake safe, this was the best way to get the whole thing in and out of the refrigerator safely. We covered the cardboard disc with foil and made two long foil strips attached to the bottom to lift the cake out of the pot.

Icebox Cake

Here it is, safely ensconced.

Icebox Cake

Thankfully we had a big crowd visiting and all but a quarter of the cake vanished instantly. This thing is rich! Eating it in tiny slices is about the only way to do it, but it is well worth making. If we do it again, it may be with a liqueur flavor added to the whipped cream. I'm thinking orange. And what to do with the last cup of whipping cream? I'm thinking we made ice cream with it, but I also had the luxury of pouring it in my coffee on at least one occasion. Yum!


Anonymous said...

how fun!

Sarah G said...

Wow... that crazy! It sort of blows my mind. It also looks awesome. I can imagine that a large piece might be deadly.