For all of you out there who want to make a dessert for Fourth of July but do NOT want to turn on your oven, I have got you covered. This icebox cake, made with thin, crisp lemon cookies, strawberry jam, and whipped mascarpone cream, doesn’t require any cooking or heating, can be made the night before, and becomes a luscious, cool and creamy cake overnight. It’s perfect for celebrating with friends and family on sweltering summer days.
Icebox cakes have been around for nearly a hundred years and are truly the easiest dessert you can make for a summer crowd, but somehow I’d never made one. I got the inspiration for this particular cake from a bunch of recipes in my grandmother’s old cookbooks, and this one over at Smitten Kitchen that I first looked at a decade ago. I think what took me so long was the fact that, up until last summer, we were usually traveling over Fourth of July back to Michigan from wherever we were living on the west coast, so I wasn’t making desserts out of my own kitchen. We are going to be in our own house for the holiday this year, so I plan on rectifying that this year by making this cake for whoever comes over to hang out. It’s the closest I can get to sticking my face into a bowl of rich whipped cream, which in 90 plus degree heat is all I want in my dessert.
But it’s more than just the whipped cream (which is itself amped up by the addition of creamy mascarpone cheese). There are eighteen gloriously layers of cream, cookies, and jam stacked together. I used Trader Joe’s amazing thin and crispy lemon cookies, which you can apparently buy on Amazon now (?!), and spread them with strawberry jam. The strawberries and lemon bring just the right amount of tartness to contrast the rich whipped cream, and the cookies turn into a cake-like consistency when the sit overnight. By the next day the cake is ready to slice and devour. Just make sure you invite lots of friends over so you don’t eat the whole thing.
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup strawberry jam
- 72 thin lemon cookies (I used Trader Joe’s)
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar until it forms stiff peaks. Add the vanilla and mascarpone and whip until combined and fluffy.
- On the plate you're going to serve the cake on (or an 8" cake round), spread a thin layer of the cream in an 8" circle. Spread 12 cookies (this could be more or less depending on the size of the cookies you use) with a thin layer of strawberry jam, then lay them out to cover the cream. Spread these with another layer of cream, then keep repeating. You should have six layers of each ingredient in total.
- Put the cake in the refrigerator overnight and serve the next day.