Top 12 Tips for Making Icebox Cakes

Stick to these do's and don'ts to make customized refrigerator cakes in your favorite flavor combos.

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Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Icebox Cake Rules

While testing recipes for our epic icebox cakes story, we began to realize exactly how creative you can get when crafting an icebox cake. At their simplest, icebox cakes are just layers of cookies and whipped cream; after a few hours in the fridge they transform into a soft, creamy cake. But when you start playing around, you'll see how you can step up the classic with elaborate layers, colorful garnishes and complex flavors. Here are some rules to keep in mind when making one of our cakes or trying to concoct your own.

See More Photos: A Year of Icebox Cakes

Do: A Test Drive

Check if your favorite cookie or wafer will work by dunking it in some milk. If it softens a little right away, you’re good to go.

 

Don't: Use sugar wafers; they won’t soften into that desirable tender texture.

 

Also, Don't: Bother making home-baked cookies. In keeping with the easy-going spirit of icebox cake, go with store-bought cookies. They work perfectly well every time.

Do: Sweeten the Deal

Taste the cookie or wafer you’ll use; if it’s not especially sweet, add a little extra sugar to the cream. If it is very sweet, subtract some sugar from the cream for a well-balanced cake.

Do: Design First

Think about textures, colors and layering to make sure your cake will look as great as it tastes.

Do: Get Creative

Consider single-serving portions: Stack round cookies on top of each other or use muffin cups for individual cakes.

Do: Gather the Right Tools

Try a springform pan for easy release; popping off the removable outside ring will reveal every scrumptious cake layer.


Do: Prep Carefully

Line the pan with plastic wrap for easy unmolding. If you are not planning to garnish the cake, make sure to smooth out any wrinkles in the plastic so that, when it comes off, your outside layer of cream will look smooth.

Do: Plan Ahead

If you plan to unmold your cake upside down, make sure to arrange a pretty pattern on the bottom with the cake topping (for example, layers of fruit).

Do: Reinforce Your Layers

If your cake contains soft fresh fruit, add an extra layer of cookies to absorb all their fresh juices.

Do: Protect the Cake

Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap so it won’t pick up any other flavors from neighboring foods in your fridge.

Do: Chill for the Right Amount of Time

Let the cake rest in the fridge for at least six hours so that the filling softens and merges with the cookie layers.


Don't: Leave the icebox cake in the fridge for more than one or two days; it will lose texture and become soggy, especially if you are using juicy fresh fruit.

Do: Decorate the Top

Add a final flourish: Drizzles of caramel, dots of jam, chocolate curls, rainbow sprinkles or chopped nuts all work nicely.


Do: Slice Right

Use a serrated knife to make the cleanest slices.

 

Click here to see our 12 icebox cake recipes.

See More Photos: A Year of Icebox Cakes

Next Up

The Icebox Cake, Reinvented

Cooking Channel reinvented this retro dessert to fit adult taste buds. Get our recipe for Caramel Icebox Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate Wafers.