Our grandmothers were onto something. With literally no baking or cooking required, the icebox cake is extremely easy to prepare, making it this season’s dream dessert. Sandwich the tender cake layers with creamy filling, seasonal fruit, or your favorite flavors, and summer hosting is so much easier. Scroll through for 10 varieties of icebox cakes that will let you spend more time by the pool instead of heating up the kitchen.
Summer Berry Cake
Feature Image by Molly Winters Recipe by Camille Styles
- 3 pints high-quality ice cream (I used Strawberry Basil, Coconut & Avocado Curd, and Blackberry, Lime & Basil, all from Lick. Use whatever flavors you love, but don’t cheap out: this is the time to break out the good stuff.)
- 1/4 cup jam, in a flavor that coordinates with your ice cream (I used blackberry)
- 1 frozen all-butter pound cake (you could also make your own in a loaf pan, but… I kept it old-school and used Sara Lee)
- 1 pint fresh berries
- Spray a 10 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides. Coat parchment with cooking spray, then line with plastic wrap, allowing an overhang on all sides. Do your best to smooth out the plastic as much as possible, as this will result in a smoother surface on the finished cake. Spray the plastic wrap with cooking spray.
- Remove 1 pint of ice cream (this will form the top layer) from the freezer and transfer to a bowl. Let sit for a minute or two, then stir with a spoon to loosen up the consistency so that it’s spreadable (you don’t want it melted, just soft.) Spread in an even layer on the bottom of the loaf pan. The more even you get it, the straighter your “layers” will be in the finished product. Transfer pan to the freezer, and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.
- Remove the second pint of ice cream from the freezer and allow to soften in the same way. Spread in an even layer on top of the first layer, then return to freezer for 2 more hours. Next, spread a thin layer of jam across entire surface of ice cream and allow to freeze for at least an hour. Remove the third pint of ice cream from the freezer, allow to soften, then spread in an even layer on top of the jam. Return to freezer and freeze until firm.
- Take the pound cake out of the freezer and, using a very sharp knife, slice the cake into 3 long horizontal layers. Reserve two of the layers for another use; you’ll only be using one of them in this cake. Depending on the size of your pound cake, you may need to trim a couple inches from the side of the cake to make it fit in your loaf pan.
- Remove pan from freezer and top with the cake layer. Lightly press it into the ice cream to make sure it “sticks,” then cover cake with the plastic wrap overhang. Freeze until firm (cake can be made 3 days in advance.)
- When you’re ready to unmold the cake, wrap a damp, hot towel around the entire pan, and use a sharp knife to loosen all around the edges. Invert onto a serving platter, remove parchment paper and plastic wrap, and trim edges for a neater appearance. Top with berries and freeze until ready to serve.