Monday, April 27, 2009

Lemon Strawberry Icebox Cake

I was first introduced to icebox cakes in college when a roommate made one for a potluck. It was kind of magical -- thin wafers were layered with whipped cream and placed in the fridge for 12 hours. Overnight the wafers and the cream meld to become a no-bake cake of sorts -- pretty exciting and ridiculously easy. I was reminded of this recipe when reading smitten kitchen a while ago, but despite the magic involved I didn't make it because massive quantities of chocolate and whipped cream seemed way too rich. But I do love lemon and strawberries, so when I spied some Meyer Lemon cookie thins at Trader Joe's the other day, I decided to adapt this recipe more to my liking. I used lemon, strawberries and some really good whipped cream with Greek yogurt, lemon zest and vanilla bean.

This definitely isn't the prettiest thing I've ever made (and I'm not usually good at making pretty things, so that says a lot.) I have absolutely no idea how Deb from smitten kitchen got her layers so perfectly even! And while it is still more rich than the typical dessert that I go for, it was definitely enjoyable. I'd say the best part of this recipe is how fun it is and totally open for experimentation.

Lemon Strawberry Icebox Cake
adapted very liberally from smitten kitchen from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

Here is sort of an embarrassing warning: this dish is really susceptible to absorbing any smells that are in the fridge. Luckily, my more grown-up fridge is relatively odor-free, but not so in college when my roommate made this dish...

  • two 9 ounce boxes of Trader Joe's Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins (or any type of thin wafer)
  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (I used low fat, but think nonfat would work just as well)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice (I got 4 tsps out of 1 large lemon)
  • 3-5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (if you can find if for cheap...otherwise, skip it entirely or use some vanilla extract to taste)
  • 1 pound strawberries
  • Cut 2/3 of the strawberries into paper thin slices (I used a mandoline, but not necessary -- just easier). If necessary sprinkle with sugar. Set aside. The remaining strawberries will be used to decorate the cake.
  • Measure out three tablespoons sugar and put into a large mixing bowl
  • Zest the lemon and put into the bowl with the sugar.
  • Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrap out seeds. Put the seeds in the same bowl as sugar and lemon zest. Discard the vanilla bean casing or use for vanilla sugar. Mix these three ingredients together to evenly disperse the seeds and zest.
  • Juice the lemon and measure out 4 tsps. Put in a ramekin and set aside.
  • Measure out 1 cup yogurt, set aside.
  • Measure out 2 cups heavy cream, place in large mixing bowl with the sugar mixture
Whip the cream and sugar mixture until soft peaks form. Add the lemon juice and quickly whip until fully incorporated. Add the yogurt, a 1/2 at a time until evenly dispersed throughout, taking care not to over whip the cream. Test and add more sugar if you'd like

On a flat plate or serving dish, arrange wafers side-by-side in a seven inch circle trying to minimize any open space between the wafers (including in the center of the circle). Spread a 1/2 cup of the whipped cream mixture. Spread some of the strawberry slices on top of the cream. Repeat with the remaining wafers, cream and strawberries until there are about 9-10 layers. Cover with the remaining layer of cream, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 12 hours.

When ready to serve, take the cake out of the fridge, cut the remaining strawberries in half, and decorate with the strawberries halves. Enjoy!


  1. katie—this recipe is RAD. i saw that icebox cake recipe on smitten kitchen and am impressed that you put totally different flavors into it. nice work!

    maybe i'll post again someday...things look better after may 6.