06 July 2012

Old Fashioned Lemon-Blueberry Icebox Cake

So with all this lovely heat (read, not…) that we are having, I have been trying to come up with things that do not require turning on the oven or stove top. I’m okay with the grill, so that is still happening in our lives, but we have been having a lot of salads and cold veggies with hummus lately.  I have been seeing ideas for no-bake desserts, and had never made an Icebox cake before. So after looking at a beautiful strawberry one from theKitchn, a delectable chocolate wafer cookie one from Smitten Kitchen, and a ginger mascarpone one  plus others from Fine Cooking, I figured I had to try this, and what better day than the 4th of July.

 I decided to do my own take on this recipe, as I had a few food items I had to avoid due to certain people (too many strawberries can set off a migraine in one person, and another doesn’t like chocolate…seriously…makes you question the rightness of the world when someone says they don’t like chocolate!). But everyone agrees on lemon and blueberry, although I thought of another friend who isn’t here this time but can’t have citrus and had a moment of sadness that she couldn’t enjoy all the whipped creamy goodness of this. She, however, would definitely go for the chocolate wafer one.
Most recipes called for whipped cream or pudding/custard, or a combination.  Seeing as how I can no longer fathom the idea of pudding in a box, and I wasn’t about to turn on the stove to make curd, I did actually use a store-bought jar of lemon curd (I know, horror of horrors!). Although if I make this again, I think I will go ahead and make my own curd as I much prefer it. The jar curd is a bit sweet for my tastes, so I cut the amount of sugar that is added to the whipping cream and combined some with the curd to make a lemon cream. I think it could even be less sugar in the future. I also upped the amount of whipped cream to 4 cups from 3 as I was making the lemon cream thinking there would be some left over for other fruit…nope, not a spoonful!

Keep in mind that this is not, repeat NOT, a diet cake. Unless you are doing Atkins and then it might work?!? This is all whipped cream, although you could argue that the graham crackers and fruit keep it kind of healthy, or maybe follow the comment I heard one day that anything eaten standing up doesn’t count in the calorie department. I would skip all that, though, and just enjoy it for what it is: whipped creamy lemony goodness!

The concept of an Icebox cake is that as it sits in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, all those layers of cookie and cream soften and meld together creating a texture not unlike a French √©clair or napoleon. My problem with that is that I would rather just eat the cream layers and not have the other part. I was pleasantly surprised when we took this out after 7 hours that the graham layers had softened nicely and thoroughly enjoyed the melding of cake-like layers with the cream and berries. Everyone was ready for dessert which meant a picture never was taken of a cut piece. If that happens again, I think I will just take a picture of the empty plate and crumbs.  As one person put it while licking her fork “Oh, yes, this is my kind of cake”!

Old Fashioned Lemon-Blueberry Icebox Cake

Old Fashioned Lemon-Blueberry Icebox Cake
Loosely adapted from various Icebox Cake recipes

2 pints fresh Blueberries, washed
4 cups whipping cream, divided
½ cup lemon curd
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
3 - 4 sleeves graham crackers (24-28 whole crackers)
½ pint raspberries
 Zest of 1 lemon, divided

Using either a hand mixer or stand mixer, whip cream until it is just at the stiff peak stage. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, and whip to combine.

Put 1 ½ cup of the whipped cream into another bowl and fold in the lemon curd to make the lemon cream.

Spread a thin layer of the plain whipped cream on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan or similar sized dish. Put down a layer of 6 graham crackers, 2 going horizontal and 4 going vertical. Cover with a layer of the lemon cream and then a light layer of berries. Layer 6 more graham crackers opposite of the first layer. Cover with plain whipped cream, sprinkle lightly with lemon zest and then berries. Repeat alternating lemon cream, blueberries, crackers and then plain whipped cream. You will end up with four layers of graham crackers. Spread the last of the whipped cream over the top layer, and then decorate with remaining lemon zest, raspberries and a few blueberries.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until the crackers have softened completely.