July is National Blueberry Month, and July 8th is National Blueberry Day. That calls for something special—and easy to make, like this Lemon Blueberry Icebox Cake.
You don’t need an oven to make a great dessert. Made with fresh blueberries, lemon curd, and sugar, Lemon Blueberry Icebox Cake is a no-bake treat everyone will love.
Thanks to C&H Sugar for the recipe.
Is it icebox cake or ice box cake? The compound noun, icebox, is the preferred usage in dictionaries.
> More blueberry recipes.
Prep time is 35 minutes, and chill time is 4 hours. Because the cookies need time to absorb the moisture from the whipped cream, you need to prepare the cake at least 4 hours in advance. You can make this cake the night before and let it set up in the refrigerator overnight.
Stored in the fridge, icebox cake should last 2-3 days. But if you want the cake to last more than a day, use stabilized whipped cream.
You can make this a red, white, and blue cake for Memorial Day and July 4th by mixing blueberries and raspberries.
1. PREPARE the blueberry jam. In a small saucepan, place 2 cups of blueberries, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool down. Once the jam is at room temperature, mix in ½ cup of fresh blueberries. Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the cream.
2. USING the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat at medium-high speed the cream cheese, baker’s sugar, and lemon zest until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the cream. Increase the speed and beat the mixture until stiff peaks form. Reserve one-third of the mixture in the refrigerator to finish the cake after the chill time.
3. LINE a 10 x 5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Place a layer of graham crackers onto the bottom of the pan. If needed, break crackers to fit. Evenly spread one-third of the cream over the graham crackers. Dollop 1/4 of the prepared jam over the cream. Dollop 1/3 of the lemon curd over the jam, evenly spreading both layers. Repeat the layering process. Finish with a layer of cream and graham crackers.
4. COVER with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours. When ready to serve, invert the cake over a serving plate, remove the plastic wrap, and cover the cake with the reserved cream cheese cream. Top the cake with the reserved blueberry jam. The cake can be stored in the refrigerator prior to serving.
The concept of the icebox cake is simple yet ingenious. It typically consists of layers of cookies such as chocolate wafers or graham crackers, alternated with layers of whipped cream or pudding. The cake is then chilled in the refrigerator (the “icebox” of yore), allowing the ingredients to meld together to create a moist, creamy, no-bake dessert.
It is a no-bake descendant of the French charlotte and the English trifle.
In the days before air conditioning, it was a welcome summer alternative to turning on the oven.
Icebox cake (also known as refrigerator cake) is an American invention. Recipes for icebox cakes began to appear in the 1930s when most households had an icebox (an insulated box that held a block of ice). The electric refrigerator was just beginning to gain traction†.
Nabisco Chocolate Wafers were the mother of the icebox cake. Introduced in 1924, the box bore a recipe for Famous Chocolate Refrigerator Roll that led many a housewife to whip up heavy cream and create one. Thanks are due to the anonymous home economist at Nabisco, who brainstormed the idea.
The Famous Chocolate Refrigerator Roll recipe, printed on the back of the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers box, instructed home cooks to layer the chocolate wafers with sweetened whipped cream and let it set in the refrigerator overnight. The moisture of the whipped cream penetrated the cookies, turning them into cake-like layers.
Nabisco Chocolate Wafers were the most commonly used cookies for icebox cake but home cooks all over the world have experimented and come up with endless variations. That’s good news, because in 2023, Mondelez, the owner of the brand, quietly discontinued Nabisco Chocolate Wafers (boo! hiss!).
The icebox cake quickly became a hit. The recipe was widely shared and variations emerged using different ingredients, including different cookies, flavors of pudding (à la trifle) instead of whipped cream and added fruit (sliced banana, pineapple, etc.).
Today, icebox cakes continue to be a popular dessert, although they may have evolved with modern variations and creative twists. For example:
*You can pulse granulated sugar (table sugar) into ultrafine sugar in a food processor.
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