Too hot to cook? No problem! This easy no-bake Strawberry Icebox Cake is a vintage treat that features layers of graham crackers, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream for a delicious dessert with no baking required.
This recipe is one you may have seen before. It’s an old-fashioned Strawberry Icebox Cake just like our grandmothers made.
According to my research, icebox cakes originated in the 1920’s as a way for Nabisco to promote some of their cookie wafer products. The original icebox cakes were simply cookies layered with whipped cream and allowed to stand until the cookies softened and became very much like a thin cake layer.
This old fashioned icebox recipe uses plain graham crackers layered with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Yum. This is the easiest recipe I know for a no-bake strawberry dessert. Just layer everything in a dish and let it sit for a while. Slice and serve!
Why We Love This Recipe
- Quick to Prepare. This strawberry refrigerator cake recipe takes 20 minutes of easy hands-on preparation. The remainder of the time is spent in the fridge.
- No Baking Required. Keep the house cool with this recipe. You won’t need the oven at all!
- Great to Make Ahead. In fact, you need to make it ahead of time. I recommend allowing it to sit for at least four hours, and up to overnight, before serving.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING …
“This was the EASIEST no bake I have ever done and it will continue to be part of my hot summer cool desserts.”
About the Ingredients
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- Fresh Strawberries – Choose strawberries that are plump, ripe, and bright red without any visible blemishes. If you can taste one before buying, even better!
- Sugar – A small amount of granulated, white sugar is used to sweeten the berries and start the juices flowing.
- Heavy Whipping Cream, Confectioner’s (Powdered) Sugar, Vanilla Extract – These three ingredients are combined to make the whipped cream that is slathered between the cake layers. See the instructions below for details.
- Graham Crackers – These form the “layers” of the cake and may be substituted with other types of cookies as outlined later in the post.
You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.
How to Make Strawberry Icebox Cake
Prepare the Strawberries
- Start by washing, hulling, and slicing 2 pounds of fresh, ripe strawberries.
- Place the sliced strawberries in a medium bowl and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Toss lightly to combine, and allow to sit for about 15 minutes.
TIP: Allowing the strawberries to sit for a few minutes with the sugar will start some of the juices flowing.
Whip the Cream
- Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Take care not to over-whip the cream. Add the confectioner’s (powdered) sugar and vanilla extract. Whip again briefly to combine.
Layer the Cake
- On a platter or baking pan, spread a small amount (just enough to hold the first layer of crackers in place) of the whipped cream. Begin layering starting with the graham crackers, then a layer of strawberries, and a layer of whipped cream.
- Continue until you have four layers in all, ending with a layer of whipped cream.
- And now, here’s the hardest part of making this dessert. You have to cover it and let it sit in the refrigerator (or “icebox” if you like) for at least 4 hours! No, you can’t slice it right now and dive into that whipped cream, strawberry, graham cracker goodness. You must have patience. Something I sorely lack. But your icebox cake needs that time for all the cream and strawberry juices to be absorbed into the cookies and work its magic.
- When you’re ready to serve this stack of deliciousness, just cut it into squares and top each with a fresh strawberry.
- Drizzle the top lightly with chocolate syrup.
- Substitute the strawberries with blueberries, blackberries, raspberries…whatever’s currently in season and fresh!
- Substitute all or part of the graham crackers with vanilla wafers, Oreos, shortbread cookies, gingersnaps, or digestive biscuits. I often add one or two layers of Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers or Pepperidge Farm Chessman Cookies. Just be sure that the cookie you choose is a sturdy, crispy cookie. Soft cookies won’t work well in this recipe.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. This cake is easiest to store in a rigid container rather than wrapping with plastic – plastic wrap sticks to the whipped cream and makes a bit of a mess, to be honest.
It’s also possible to freeze the completed cake. Assemble the cake on a freezer-safe baking pan or dish. Place the cake and pan, uncovered, in the freezer for 24 hours. Remove the frozen cake from the pan and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Place the wrapped cake in a sturdy container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Questions About Strawberry Icebox Cake
For a gluten-free option, substitute with gluten-free graham crackers or other sturdy, gluten-free cookie.
It depends, of course, on the size of the slices, but it should yield about 10 servings more or less.
Of course, you can use Cool Whip whipped topping if you like. But there’s really nothing better than homemade! It only takes a few minutes and tastes so much better.
Have you tried this recipe? I’d really appreciate you giving it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card or in the comments section.
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Strawberry Icebox Cake
- 2 pounds fresh strawberries
- 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
- ⅓ cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 20 whole graham crackers
- Wash the strawberries and spread them on a double thickness of paper towels to dry.
- Hull and slice the strawberries into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar, toss to combine and allow to sit for about 15 minutes.
- Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract. Whip again briefly to combine.
- On a platter or in a baking pan, spread a small amount of the whipped cream. Begin layering starting with the graham crackers, then a layer of strawberries, and a layer of whipped cream.
- Continue layering until you have four layers . End with a layer of whipped cream.
- Cover loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until the graham crackers and cookies have softened.
- Cut into servings and top each with a fresh strawberry.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. This cake is easiest to store in a rigid container rather than wrapping with plastic.
- To freeze – assemble the cake on a freezer-safe baking pan or dish. Place the cake and pan, uncovered, in the freezer for 24 hours. Remove the frozen cake from the pan and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Place the wrapped cake in a sturdy container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.
— This post was originally published on April 22, 2013. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.