Vanilla raspberry ice box cake is a vintage recipe and a shoutout to years gone by, when this type of cake first became popular in America.
You may wonder why is it called icebox cake?
Before electric or mechanical refrigerators were available people used ice boxes to keep things cool. This type of cake dates back to the time of iceboxes.
Table of Contents
- Origins of Ice Box Cake
- A Favorite Dessert Made By Irish American Aunt
- Ingredients for Raspberry Ice Box Cake
- Directions for Raspberry Vanilla Ice Box Cake
- Recipe Card for Vanilla Raspberry Icebox Cake
Origins of Ice Box Cake
In the 1930’s companies that made the ingredients for icebox cakes, started printing recipes on the back of their packages. This was a marketing strategy to help promote sales of their products.
Icebox cakes became popular during the summer months since they were super easy to assemble, and no hot oven was required to bake them.
When refrigerators were purchased en masse in the 1950’s, older folks continued to refer to them as iceboxes. These cakes were not renamed since icebox cakes could now be named for the appliance used to store them.
We may not use the term icebox for a refrigerator anymore, and we definitely do not use boxes with blocks of ice to cool our food, but we can still celebrate summer with this easy, no-bake dessert.
A Favorite Dessert Made By Irish American Aunt
My late aunt, who moved to the United States in the 1940’s first introduced me to the concept of an ice box cake. She loved cooking and had many wonderful vintage recipes. I previously shared her crockpot roast beef recipe, plus her easy strawberry mousse dessert recipe.
This vanilla wafer and raspberry ice box cake is a classic from her repertoire.
There are many variations of icebox cakes. Chocolate pudding can be sandwiched between graham crackers or vanilla wafers and laid in a square or rectangle. Some add fruit such as sliced bananas or pineapple pieces between the sandwich layers.
Today’s version uses vanilla wafers for the cake.
Here’s what you’ll need…
Ingredients for Raspberry Ice Box Cake
Here’s a quick list of what you’ll need. You’ll find exact quantities and nutritional information in the recipe card at the end of this blog post.
- heavy cream
- pure vanilla extract
- fresh raspberries
- vanilla wafers
- milk chocolate
I use heavy whipping cream for this recipe. If you want this cake to be even quicker and easier to make, then substitute cool whip for the cream, vanilla extract, and sugar. Open the container and you’re ready to assemble.
I use milk chocolate on top of this cake, but feel free to use your favorite chocolate – bittersweet or dark chocolate may appeal more to your palate than milk chocolate.
Icebox cakes can be made using a variety of cookies, wafers or crackers. Substitutions include gingersnaps, famous chocolate wafers or graham crackers.
I prefer vanilla wafers since they expand when chilled with the cream and truly resemble cake when served.
Directions for Raspberry Vanilla Ice Box Cake
First step is to prepare the whipping cream. Add the cream to a large bowl and whip it using a hand mixer.
You can use the bowl of your stand mixer and beat it using the whisk attachment if you prefer.
When the cream is starting to thicken add the vanilla extract and sugar and whip the cream again until stiff peaks form. The extra vanilla flavor in the cream compliments the vanilla wafers deliciously.
Don’t overbeat the cream or you’ll end up with sweetened vanilla butter.
How to assemble an icebox cake
Next it’s time to make your vanilla wafer cream sandwiches.
Scoop some of the whipped cream up with a dessert spoon and spread it on the flat side of one vanilla wafer. Thank you Nabisco for these delicious cookies.
Add another wafer on top to create a sandwich. Stand your sandwich on its side one inch in from the corner of a 13′ x 9′ casserole dish. I use a glass dish so the cake can be seen.
You can use a baking pan or tray instead of the casserole dish if you prefer.
Alternatively, you can use a decorative serving platter, to assemble your cake. This is a nice touch if you’re making this cake for a special occasion.
Continue making vanilla wafer and cream sandwiches. Line them up in a row beneath the first sandwich, using some more cream to get them to stick together.
Once the first row is completed, then make two more rows of wafer and cream sandwiches, laying them parallel to the first row.
If you like lemon curd, you could make half the wafer sandwiches using lemon curd and half with cream. Raspberry and lemon flavor go together beautifully, and you’ll end up with a delicious lemon icebox cake.
The base of your cake is now complete.
Next it’s time to decorate the top of the cake.
Decorating the top of your icebox cake
Use the remaining cream to cover the top and sides of the vanilla wafer sandwiches.
Use a spatula or off-set knife to smooth the top and sides of the cream mixture. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
Fresh raspberries give this cake a real summer flare.
Place the raspberries in random patterns all over the top of the cake. If you prefer symmetery then feel free to place them in rows.
This is a very easy cake to adapt to make an American flag cake for 4th of July. Simply add blueberries in the corner to represent the stars, and use raspberries or strawberries to create red and white stripes.
I recommend creating four rows of wafer and cream sandwiches if you wish to make a flag cake. The extra width gives you more room for berry stripes.
How long does an ice box cake need to be refrigerated?
Next, it’s time to refrigerate and chill your cake. Cover the top of the pan with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for the very minimum of 4 hours.
You may think it’s ready to go long before 4 hours have passed by. This amount of time is required to allow the wafers soften as they absorb some of the cream. They take on a cake-like texture as they mix with the cream.
However, if you can leave this cake in the refrigerator for 8 hours it will be even more spongey and cake like. Overnight refrigeration works wonderfully.
I use chocolate shavings to finish decorating the top of the cake. If you prefer you can melt the chocolate and drizzle it over the top, or you could decorate it using a chocolate ganache.
Make the chocolate shavings using a grater or microfile.
Just watch your fingers as you create the shavings.
When cutting the cake for serving, cut on the diagonal or from the long side of the cake. You want to cut through the wafer sandwiches to display the layers.
How long does icebox cake last in the fridge?
Remember that icebox cake never goes in the freezer.
Its name may be a little misleading, making you think it belongs in the freezer. However the cream can separate if it is frozen and you’ll end up with a disaster.
The assembled cake can be stored in the refriterator, covered with plastic wrap. It will be good for 2 to 3 days. I confess, I’ve never had one last that length of time.
Recipe Card for Vanilla Raspberry Icebox Cake
Here’s the recipe card if you’d like to add this cake to your kitchen files.
Vanilla Raspberry Ice Box Cake
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract pure
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup raspberries fresh
- 9 ounces vanilla wafers
- 4 ounces milk chocolate
- In a large mixing bowl beat whipping cream until it starts to thicken. Once stiff peaks form, add the vanilla extract and sugar and beat a little longer, making sure not to over thicken the cream.
- Take a vanilla wafer and spread some whipped cream on top and then add another wafer to make a sandwich.
- Place the sandwich standing in a corner of the casserole. Repeat making wafer and cream sandwiches, laying them on their sides in three rows in the baking dish or casserole. Use additional cream between each sandwich. Alternatively, you can assemble the cake on a plate.
- Once you have 3 long rows of wafer sandwiches frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.
- Dot with raspberries and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours before serving.
- When ready to serve the cake, make chocolate shavings using a grater and sprinkle them over the top.
- Slice the cake on a diagonal when serving to display the internal layers.
Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.
Happy no-bake dessert making for hot summer days.
I hope you like this vintage recipe. Here are some more no-bake desserts I love.
Thanks for following my recipes and ramblings.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
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