Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Melissa Gray; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford
Active Time
40 Mins
Total Time
5 Hours 40 Mins
Yield
Serves 12 (serving size: 1 slice)

Our Strawberry Icebox Cake is a fancied-up version of the whipped cream-and-cookies icebox cakes from your childhood. Like those classic icebox cakes, this one is made with store-bought chocolate wafer cookies, but the homemade whipped cream makes it something extra special. The cream, which is flavored with vanilla extract, gets its pretty pink color from strawberry jam (our Test Kitchen recommends Smucker’s brand). Whip the heavy cream a bit more than you normally would, but don’t overbeat it. You want it to be nice and thick so the layers are as neat as possible. Make sure your cake stand is at least 12 inches wide, and place a paper doily (or parchment paper circle) in the center of the stand to use as a guide for building the layers. Finally, make sure the cake is chilled in the refrigerator at least 5 hours. This gives the cookies plenty of time to soften so the cake can be sliced neatly. 

How to Make It

Step 1

Beat whipping cream, jam, and vanilla with a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium-low speed until fully combined, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high; beat until mixture begins to thicken, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high; beat until very thick, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

Step 2

Place a 12-inch paper doily (or a 12-inch parchment paper circle) on a cake plate. Spread a thin layer (about 1/4 cup) whipped cream mixture in a circle on doily, leaving a 2-inch border. Top with 6 wafer cookies arranged in a circle with edges touching; place 1 additional cookie in middle of cookie circle. Spread with about 1/2 cup whipped cream mixture, leaving a 1/4- to 1/2-inch cookie border.

Step 3

Add a second cookie circle layer with 6 cookies placed in between cookies of the first layer; place 1 additional cookie in center of second cookie circle. Spread with about 1/2 cup whipped cream mixture, leaving a 1/4- to 1/2-inch cookie border. Working quickly (so that cake doesn’t start to collapse), repeat layers until no cookies remain (about 8 additional layers), ending with a cookie layer. Spoon desired amount of remaining whipped cream mixture on top. Chill, uncovered, at least 5 hours or up to 8 hours.

Step 4

Decorate cake with fresh strawberries, and serve. Leftovers may be stored, covered, in refrigerator up to 2 days.