I’ve been wanting to make this cake every since Tara posted the recipe back in April.
Last week, I finally got my shot.
“Something refreshing” was the response I got when I asked what a friend wanted for her birthday dinner. She said that I didn’t have to bake a cake knowing full well that we’re all short on time these days since most of us are studying to take our second set of board exams. But.. it’s me and someone’s birthday which means I have to make a cake.
But did I have to bake a cake?
The answer is no.
Because when she said “something refreshing,” my mind immediately went to this cake. What could be more refreshing that a cold cake “baked” in the cold?!
So this is what I made.
The preparation was simple. The hardest part was waiting while the cake sat for hours mocking me, begging to be tasted before anyone else laid eyes on it.
Let me tell you, it was most definitely refreshing. Nice and cold in the warm evening air as we sat outside at picnic tables at a local restaurant. The subtle sweetness of the homemade sauce/jam paired with the straight-from-a-box graham crackers with just enough whipped cream made for a new twist on a strawberry shortcake and my friends and I welcomed it with open arms. Without a doubt, it was a hit!
Strawberry Icebox Cake
from seven spoons
1 lb strawberries, chopped
1/3 c caster sugar (I used regular sugar and it worked fine)
1 tbsp lemon juice, fresh preferable
3 1/2 c heavy cream, chilled and divided
3/4 c confectioner’s sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
A box of honey graham crackers
Place three-quarters of the berries in a medium saucepan with 2 tbsp sugar, a pinch of salt and 2 tsp of lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring often, until the fruit becomes soft and the juices begin to thicken, around 7-10 minutes.
Carefully transfer the strawberries to a blender and purée. Push the puréed sauce through a sieve back into the saucepan. Again, bring the berries to a simmer, stirring often, until it becomes thick and glossy. This should take around 10 minutes. Tara says it should be “on the verge of jammy-ness, close to the texture of hot fudge sauce.”
Add in the rest of the reserved berries and cook for a minute or so. Again, transfer the strawberries to a blender, purée, and push through a sieve to a clean container. Set aside to cool. Once cool, taste and add sugar and/or lemon as needed.
Line an 8-by-8-inch metal cake pan with a cross of clingfilm, leaving an overhang on all sides.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment (or a hand mixer or whisk), whip 2 cups of heavy cream. Once it begins to thicken, sift in 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar and a punch salt. Turn the mixer on medium-high and whip until the cream holds soft peaks. Add vanilla, then beat until the cream until stiff peaks.
For assembly, spread a small amount of the cream on the bottom of the cake pan. Then add a layer of graham crackers (about 9 crackers total). Spread a layer of 1/2 c cream on top of the crackers followed by a few tbsp of strawberry sauce. Continue layering until there are 5 layers of crackers and 4 layers of cream and sauce. Leave a small amount of cream to cover the last layer (although I forgot to do this and this layer was still soft and delectable).
Note: Tara says that you’ll use about 1/2 c of the strawberry sauce in the cake which should leave you with some leftover for serving with the cake. I just piled it all in the cake since I was taking this to a restaurant. The choice is yours!
Cover loosely with clingfilm, then draw the overhanging clingfilm from the sides up. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 2 days.
About 1 hour before serving, remove the clingfilm, invert the cake onto a serving plate, and remove the rest of the clingfilm. Place the cake in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Using whatever means necessary, whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream. Sift in the remaining 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar once the cream begins to thicken and then whip until a firm peak. Try not to overbeat please! Spread a thin layer of the whipped cream to cover the cake and then chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Serve with the reserved sauce if you have any!
‘Twas darn good!