Refrigerated Cake or Icebox Cake in the West is a dessert characterized by a layer of whipped cream in between layers of biscuits and layers of toppings. It bears comparison to a cake except that the sponge is replaced by sweet wafers or graham crackers. All ingredients for this type of cake are available in commercial stores and that’s why it is so easy to make. You can have the cake in as many layers as you like and there are no set rules. A good refrigerated cake lies in its crust, cream and the main ingredients or fillings, which can range from seasonal fruits to premade pastries.
Features of a Refrigerated Cake
1. No-Bake process. This is the easiest cake to make because it does not require an oven for cooking. When the cake is finished, it is technically edible to eat. Part of its enjoyment is making sure that the biscuits absorb the flavors of the cream, fruits and other ingredients so the “cake” becomes moist and for this, it has to stay in the fridge for a minimum of 40 minutes up to 24 hours or more since you can eat it whenever you want as soon as it is ready.
2. Cream mixture – Cream serves as the binder for the crust and the toppings. Any type of cream can mix well with the crackers – whipped cream, all-purpose cream, double cream (all pasteurized creams) are more commonly used since they create more fluff and establish good-tasting flavor. For special occasions, feel free to add food coloring or use puddings with vanilla, chocolate or other flavors of puddings to make it more festive.
3. Biscuit crust – Since biscuits used in refrigerated recipes or icebox recipes are generally not homemade, the crust takes less time to make. Refrigerator cakes can be made from wafer biscuits, biscotti, premade pastries (like hard pretzels or soft cake) or a mix of two different biscuits for added texture, crunchiness and taste. In the Philippine version, the crust is made with graham crackers or broas. They can be either whole or crushed depending on how soft or firm you’d like your crust to become.
4. Main ingredient – The central ingredient is the dominant flavor of the cake. The cream and biscuits compliment it. For example, the Philippine refrigerated cake is traditionally made with mango then the all-purpose cream and graham crackers enhance the fruit. Peaches, chocolates, bananas, strawberries, fruit cocktail, or tarts that can cut through the sweetness can be added or used in place of mangoes. You can even go overload with favorite dessert flavors like cookies n’ cream.
Making a Traditional Refrigerator Cake
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-40 minutes
Optional: 3 small to medium sized bowls
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 crushed graham crackers
Step 1: Cut three large mangoes on both sides and remove the pit. Peel the skin and cut them in thin slices horizontally. Scrape the sides of the pit to get more mango meat.
Step 2: Mix whipped cream in a bowl until the cream has an airy texture and appears to have doubled in volume before adding the 1/2 cup condensed milk, 1 tsp of salt, chilled 20 ml all-purpose cream and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract. Mix well until all ingredients are incorporated.
Step 3: Once the cream mixture is done, set aside at room temperature.
Step 4: Start assembling the cake. Divide the cream mixture equally into 3 small to medium bowls.
Step 5: Arrange the graham crackers and completely cover the bottom of the 8×8 baking dish. You can cut the crackers in sizes to fit the small spaces.
Step 6: Place 1/3 of the cream mixture and spread on top of the graham crackers with a spatula, then top the cream with mango slices.
Step 7: Place another layer of crackers on top of the mangoes and repeat the process until there are 3 layers. After the last layer is done, top the cake with 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers.
Step 8: Chill for at least 40 minutes. You can also leave the cake for 8 hours or overnight for the crackers to absorb the cream and flavor of the mango. Serves 2-4.
Making a Rocky Road Refrigerator Cake
The ingredients in this cake are more unconventional. This just goes to show you that by altering its components, an icebox type of cake can be very innovative if you want it to be.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
IngredientsTo Make the Filling
Ingredients To Make the Cake
Optional: Chocolate syrup
Step 1: In a bowl, combine 200 mg of whipped cream powder with 1/2 cup of sifted unsweetened cocoa powder. Mix well then add 3/4 cup water. Mix again until the cream is light and double in size.
Step 2: Add the chilled 250 ml all-purpose cream and mix everything well until homogenous.
Step 3: Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract, 1/2 cup condensed milk and 1/2 tsp of salt and continue to mix thoroughly.
Step 4: Once the cream mixture is finished, set aside and start assembling the cake.
Step 5: Arrange chocolate graham crackers at the bottom of a 7×11 inch baking dish. Place 1/3 of the chocolate cream on top of the crackers and spread it out evenly with a spatula.
Step 6: Take a handful of the different toppings: marshmallows, dark and white chocolate almonds and cashews then sprinkle them on top of the cream layer. Continue to place layers of graham crackers, 1/3 cup of the cream and a handful of toppings to spread out on top of the cream until all 3 layers have been completed and ingredients exhausted.
Reminder: Don’t use all the toppings in one layer. Divide them among the three layers of graham crackers and filling.
Step 8: Finish the last layer of toppings by putting chocolate sprinkles on the top. Chill for 1 hour but for best results, 8 hours to overnight would be ideal. Serves 3-4.
Tips of Perfecting an Icebox Refrigerated Cake:
- The good thing about a refrigerated cake is that preparation time is less as compared to a flour-based cake. Ingredients like cream and fruit can be chilled in the fridge while waiting to be assembled to preserve their cool temperature.
- If your base ingredients are fruits with syrup, drain as much as liquid as you can. Most fruits can make the finished cake soggy and it would be unappetizing to eat.
- While canned fruits and preserves are good options in making a tasty chilled cake, getting it fresh on the day that you will make them enhances the flavor even more. The best picked fruits can give the right amount of sweetness and this would mean using less sugar in the recipe.
Like in all recipes, you’d have to experiment with your ingredients and procedures to get different results that can be either good or bad. You can play with a lot of flavors with just the base of the crackers, cream and the ingredients of your choice. We encourage you to let your creativity flow as there are literally hundreds of ways of conjuring unique refrigerator ice cakes. Serve them as cakes, brownies or even on sticks. Use natural ingredients to make your end product more flavorful and appetizing. The endless customization of these cakes makes for an innovative and creative cooking and dining experience. I hope you loved our different versions of the refrigerated cake recipe. Have fun cooking!