Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I've Been Slacking

I'm embarrassed to see (and honestly can't believe) I haven't written since LAST NOVEMBER.  Shameful!  This is supposed to be my fun hobby.  Guess I haven't been having any fun.  Ha ha, thankfully that's not true!  I suppose my extra-curricular fun times have been distracting me from the blog....?  Maybe?  Anyway, whatever the reason, I'm happy to be back posting something... especially something so perfect for the hot weather this summer.

Icebox Cake!  The name alone cools me down.  Have you ever had one?  I hadn't grown up with these but am excited to discover them now.  (What I've been reading about icebox cakes makes them sound retro-30s style, so perhaps a grandmother would have made this sort of dessert...?)  I remember seeing a recipe for this delicacy last summer and never getting around to making one.  Since strawberries were on sale last week at Whole Wallet, I bought a quart of them, specifically for my first go at icebox cake.

My first attempt
So, if you're not familiar, an icebox cake is a cake you make in your fridge.  It works like this: whip up some whipped cream with your electric mixer, spread it between layers of crispy graham crackers and sliced up strawberries, then let it magically turn into cake-y goodness in the fridge after a few hours.  The graham crackers will soak up some of the moisture from the whipped cream and berries, and turn cake-like - all soft and spongy (not soggy!)

You can use any sort of stone fruit or berry, add flavoring to the whipped cream, chocolate sauce on top, or my favorite - lemon curd - between the layers of graham as well, for some added zing.  I used this awesome recipe as a starting point.  The graham crackers I used were "all natural" from the same place I bought the strawberries.  They were thicker, smaller & more substantial than the typical, Honey Grahams you get at Stop & Shop.  I did add some lemon zest to the whipped cream - and some lemon curd on two layers of the graham crackers.  OMG - yum!

Attempt #2
I made two versions because of all the berries I bought - and the back-up container of whipping cream.  The first version had more compact layers due to the whipped cream not whipping properly.  I only used strawberries in this one.  The second version had both strawberries and blueberries, as well as very fluffy whipped cream. Unfortunately I spread the whipped cream on too thickly.  I'm going to take another stab at it next week and see if I can perfect it.  Fluffy whipped cream, but less of it with more berries - and lemon curd.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Thankfully the lemon-scented whipped cream of cake #1 didn't taste like scrambled eggs.
Layers of graham-y, creamy, lemony, strawberry goodness.

The fluffy, creamy layers of cake #2.  Note the blueberries.
The cake I make next week will certainly incorporate these berry and citrus flavors again, but I can't help but wonder about other flavor combinations.  Raspberries with chocolate grahams?  Peaches with blueberry jam on the graham crackers?  Or peaches with ginger-scented whipped cream?  I bet mangoes could even work in some way...?   If only whipped cream & graham crackers had no calories or fat... hmmm...

Yes, it's almost gone at the time of this posting.
Regardless, I hope you're now thoroughly inspired to try your own version of an icebox cake.  Let me know what sort of flavor combinations you try!

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