Icebox cake with berries is a no-bake summer treat. As the graham crackers sit and soften in the vanilla flavored whipped cream they become cake like and the final result is as delicious as it is easy.Jump to Recipe
An icebox cake is named for a vintage style cooler/refrigerator that kept foods cold with ice prior to the invention of the electric refrigerator.
This “cake” isn’t really a cake at all but a simple softening of graham crackers as they absorb the moisture from fresh fruit and cream creating a cake-like layer that’s soft after the mixture rests several hours in the fridge.
How we’re making this icebox cake healthier
There are a lot of simple adjustments you can make to common recipes to make them easier on your body. Here are some ways I’ve adjusted this icebox cake:
- Cool Whip–This white frozen mixture is just a blend of inflammatory oils, stabilizers and flavors with no dairy in it. It’s a big no on my list so I’ve replaced it with homemade whipped cream. Raw cream or non homogenized is preferred.
- Regular graham crackers–These crispy crackers are an easy way for food manufacturers to sneak high fructose corn syrup, flavors, and sugar in to your diet. I recommend checking the ingredients and getting a brand without HFCS if you don’t worry about anything else. Organic brands will be some better but not perfect–but then, nothing is.
- For gluten free--Use your favorite gluten free graham cracker. Mine is linked in the recipe.
- For dairy free–Try whipping coconut cream (though you’ll need a ton of it for this recipe). I don’t think it will stay whipped as long as stabilized whipped cream will so try to eat yours within a few hours of making it if possible.
- Berries–Do what you want here but know that berries are consistently at the top of the dirty dozen list for pesticides. I realize the cost difference but do recommend buying organic or from a local farmer when berries are in season to avoid the chemicals.
Note: This recipe will work fine with Cool Whip, whatever graham crackers and fruit you want to use as well, so do what you want!
Can I make this with other types of fruit?
You can change out the fruit to your taste. I recommend sticking with a softer fruit. Some other great options are peaches, bananas, any mixture of berries, or even mango.
Can I use frozen fruit?
Whenever you thaw frozen fruit, they leak off a lot of water when they thaw leaving you with very mushy fruit.
I highly recommend using fresh fruit, but if you need to, you can use frozen fruit.
You must ensure the fruit is thawed completely and drain off as much liquid as possible before adding your frozen fruit to the cake.
I still recommend you use fresh fruit to decorate the top of the cake so you don’t just get puddles of liquid on the top, which will not look pretty.
Can this icebox cake with berries be made ahead?
Yes, I like to make it the night before because the whipped cream and fruit juices will help soften the graham cracker layers to give you the perfect cake texture.
A note about whipped cream: Homemade whipped cream doesn’t stay firm as long as store bought imposter cream does. You can make yours more firm by stabilizing it with powdered sugar, or try this whipped cream version.
If you are using homemade whipped cream, try not to make this cake more than 24 hours in advance.
How to store your icebox cake
You want to cover your cake and store it in the refrigerator for up to four days. The longer it sits, the softer the graham crackers get, so I recommend eating it within the first 24 hours.
Flavor variations to dress things up a bit more
If you want to spice up this cake and add extra flavor, you can stir in half a package of instant pudding mix.
If you want that cheesecake flavor, you can whip up 8 ounces of cream cheese in your mixer and then fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese.
Tips for making the graham crackers as even as possible
The graham crackers will not fit perfectly depending on the shape of your pan. Luckily they come with a break line on them, so you can break the graham crackers apart to fit the pan.
If you use a Simple Mills cracker (I prefer their healthier ingredients) they are small and easy to layer in evenly.
Other cool dessert favorites
I love easy cool summer desserts! Try one of these favorites:
Easy Icebox Cake with Berries
- 2 cups heavy cream cold
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar see Note 1 for substitution
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 14.4 ounce box graham crackers see Note 2
- 3 cups fresh strawberries stemmed and sliced
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- In a bowl add the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat with a hand whisk until slightly foamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar or honey and beat until stiff peaks form–about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add 1/3 of the cream to the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle over 1/3 of the berries.
- Place a layer of graham crackers over the top of the berries.
- Spread another 1/3 of the whipped cream over the crackers and sprinkle on another 1/3 of the berries.
- Top with another layer of graham crackers.
- Spread the last of the whipped cream and top with remaining berries. Cover and chill at least 4 hours but up to 24 to soften the graham crackers.