Icebox cake and I have a love story. We met in New York. We met on the Upper West Side. We met in a cafe from my favorite movie. Said cafe has a very long dessert case that will stop your heart. Usually, I walk around and figure out what catches my eye. But, not this time. On a cool autumn night, I dragged my roommate Amanda across town to get dessert with me. This was only my second time at this cafe and I couldn’t stop talking about it. It was as if the universe had captured my whole heart into one place (if you hadn’t guessed before, I am a romantic). On this night, with the help of my waitress, I decided on a slice of vanilla icebox cake. It arrived very tall and soft from the many layers of whipped cream. I took one bite and fell in love. I don’t know if it was with the cake or the moment. I was in love with it all.
An icebox cake, for those who don’t know, is a “cake” made from chocolate wafers and whipped cream. It sits overnight in the refrigerator which is how it gets it’s name and it’s texture. The whipped cream moistens the wafers so they are soft. They are layered so high. One bite is heaven. I am a pie person. If there’s ever an option for cake I choose the other. But, this cake changed my life. It’s the birthday cake I always want and the treat I always wish was in my fridge. The version I made is with roasted cherries. I combined two summer classics. I made the whipped cream with the cherries and also topped the cake with them. My version is also not perfect. It is messy and made with love (that’s why it’s pink). No matter how it looks, it always tastes the same–unforgettable.
The next time I went to my cafe after I tried the cake, they didn’t have it. This was almost three years ago now. Every time I’ve been back since, they don’t have it. I always ask, they always tell me no. I always tell them to bring it back, they always politely smile. It breaks my heart. However, it does give me the chance to try other things. No new proclamations of love yet, but there are contenders.
Roasted Cherry Icebox Cake
Makes one 8-inch cake
- 11/2 packages Nabisco Chocolate Wafers
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 1/2 cups sweet cherries
- 1/2 teaspoon cherry extract
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
- Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Put the cherries in a roasting dish or two and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Roast in oven for 30 minutes until the cherries have released juices and are dark in color. Remove from oven, and wait until cool. Pit 2/3 of the cherries and blend them until smooth in a food processor/blender/etc. Reserve the rest for later.
- Add the cream, extract, and granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer (with whisk attachment) and whip to soft peaks. Add the pureed cherries. Continue whipping until stiff peaks are achieved.
- On a large platter/plate, arrange 6 cookies in a circle with one in the center. Spread whipped cream gently over them. Repeat those steps until you run out. Top with whipped cream.
- Let sit in refrigerator overnight. Top with reserved cherries (remember to remove pits as you eat). Slice and enjoy.
Note: I don’t strain the pureed cherries because I like the look of small cherry bits in the whipped cream. If you don’t, I would strain after you blend so you have a smooth syrup.