icebox cakes.jpgHello warm weather, I remember you. It’s been a long spring on the West Coast but suddenly the heat is back and the temps are hitting 30 degrees in some areas. I’m not complaining, but it can be kind of a shock to the system considering I was bundled up in a sweater and fluffy socks just last week.

Suddenly BBQ season is in full swing, and we’ve spruced up the patio and are eating outside again. And it’s great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a little disconcerting when your kitchen goes from coolish to an oven overnight.

Having a hot kitchen means that it becomes just a bit more challenging to bake, and that puts me in a bit of a bind as I’ve been tagged as the person to bring dessert to a big BBQ this weekend. I had planned on baking a cake, but because I don’t want to turn my oven on, I’ve had to get creative with what I’m going to make.

Thankfully I’ve recently discovered icebox cakes, and I’m definitely on the late train with this one because these cute no-bake cakes have been around since World War I. They became really popular in the 1920’s and 1930’s when ice boxes became popular, and there are so many different variations you could make a new one every day.

If you’ve never tried an icebox cake, this is your weekend to give them a go. Here are three recipes you can use to create a cool dessert everyone will love.

coconut icebox cake.jpgNo-bake Coconut Icebox Cake

I made this cake this week and although I’d love to have had a picture of it, I made the mistake of leaving it in the fridge to chill while I went out. Although the recipe says to chill overnight, it was gone by the time I got back. The coconut is what makes it amazing, so this is one recipe I wouldn’t sub ingredients. Photo and recipe from


Ingredients: 3 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoon coconut milk solids*
5 boxes (of 9 rounds each) large shortbread cookie rounds
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut


Beat together cream, powdered sugar, extracts, and coconut milk in a chilled bowl until the mixture develops stiff peaks. Arrange one box of cookies on a plate as the first layer. Put 1/5 of the whipped cream mixture on top, spreading it gently to the edges of the cookies with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. Sprinkle about 1/5 of the coconut. Arrange another box of cookies on top of this filling. Continue alternating cookies/filling until you finish with filling on top. Sprinkle on coconut. Refrigerate overnight before serving by cutting with a sharp knife into cake slices.



chocolate icebox cake copy.jpg

Death by Chocolate Icebox Cake

I’ve made a lot of death by chocolate cakes, but I’ve gone on to live a successful life after eating them. This one? I’m not so sure. It will definitely put you in a chocolate coma, and it’s hard to believe you can get that flavor without baking. Photo and recipe from

Ingredients: 1 14.4 oz box of Chocolate Graham Crackers

Chocolate Mousse

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

3 tbsp milk

1/2 cup cocoa

8 oz whipped cream

Chocolate Ganache

11 oz semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips (about 2 cups)

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Chocolate Whipped Cream and Toppings

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 tbsp cocoa

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Chocolate sauce

Mini chocolate chips



To Make the Chocolate Mousse

Combine cream cheese, sugar and milk together in the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer. Mix until completely combined. Add cocoa and mix until smooth. Fold in the cool whip.

To make the chocolate ganache

Place chocolate chips in a metal bowl. Microwave the heavy cream until it starts to boil. Remove from microwave and pour over chocolate chips. Cover bowl with saran wrap for 5-7 minutes. Whisk chocolate and cream until smooth.

To make the chocolate whipped cream

Freeze metal bowl and whisk for 15-20 minutes to get them good and cold. Remove bowl from freezer and add whipping cream. Whip on medium speed for a few minutes. Cream will initially bubble a little bit, then start to thicken. As the cream starts to thicken, add the cocoa and powdered sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form.

Putting it all together

Place a single layer of graham crackers in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Top graham crackers with half of the mousse mixture and spread evenly. Spread half of the chocolate ganache on top of the mousse mixture and spread evenly. Place another layer of graham crackers on top of the chocolate ganache. Spread remaining mousse mixture on top of graham crackers. Pour remaining ganache on top of mousse mixture and spread evenly. Top ganache with one more layer of graham crackers. Top cake with chocolate whipped cream and spread into an even layer. Finish cake off with chocolate sauce and mini chocolate chips, if desired.


lemon icebox cake.jpg

Lemon Icebox Cake

There are simply no words to describe this one. It’s light, fluffy, and so easy because you just need a few ingredients and a store-bought pound cake. I recommend Sara Lee if you can get it, but any bakery section will have pound cake available. Photo and recipe from

Ingredients: 4 lemons

1 cup water plus additional for blanching

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

3/4 cup chilled heavy cream

1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 (8- by 4-inch) store-bought all-butter pound cake (3/4 to 1 pound), chilled



Make candied peel:

Remove zest (peel) from 2 lemons in wide strips with a vegetable peeler (see Tips, page 118), and then cut lengthwise with a sharp knife into 1/8-inch-wide julienne strips. Reserve lemons for juicing.

Fill a 2-quart heavy saucepan halfway with water, and then add julienned peel. Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. Drain peel in a sieve and rinse.

Bring water (1 cup) and 1 cup granulated sugar to a boil in saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Add peel and gently simmer until translucent, about 15 minutes.

Remove peel from syrup with a slotted spoon, letting syrup drain off into saucepan. Spread out on a sheet of wax paper and cool to room temperature.

Toss peel with remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, stirring with a fork to coat and separate. Transfer sugared peel to clean dry sieve and shake off excess sugar, then spread out on a fresh sheet of wax paper to dry slightly. Make lemon filling while peel simmers and cools: Grate enough zest from remaining 2 lemons with a rasp to measure 2 teaspoon, then squeeze enough juice from all lemons to measure 2/3 cup. Whisk together zest, juice, and condensed milk. Chill until cold, at least 30 minutes.

Whip cream:

Beat heavy cream with confectioners sugar and vanilla in a chilled bowl with a whisk or electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Assemble cake: Halve cake crosswise, and then trim crust from all sides. Cut each block horizontally into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) squares. Halve each square diagonally into 2 triangles.

For each serving, layer 2 triangles with lemon filling, offsetting corners. Top cake with whipped cream and candied lemon peel.

You’ll be able to treat yourself to amazing food all summer long, and all you need is a BBQ and a fridge. Here are a few things I needed in the kitchen to create icebox cakes.

I’ve started a Pinterest board with all of my favourite Plug In recipes too, so take a peek if you need some inspiration.


10407009.jpg Ice boxes have come a long way since the 1920’s. 10408622.jpg Whip cream is a must-have for icebox cakes, and a stand mixer makes homemade whip cream in a hurry 10410077.jpeg Having a whip cream dispenser helps you create beautiful icebox cakesme and chat at @kidswap.
Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag