The heat index has been in the upper 90s for the past few weeks and while I’m someone who’d normally sit outside until my blood starts to boil, even I have to admit it’s brutal out there. Not as brutal as summers in my parent’s house growing up though, where they had two rules once school let out:
- No TV. Just straight up canceled cable for three months.
- No air conditioning until it reached 90 degrees. Inside the house. INSIDE THE DANG HOUSE.
We were totally unplugged, and as much as we complained in the moment, I’m so glad they did what they did. Let me be clear – I’m so glad they canceled cable and shooed us outdoors every single day, NOT that they were so strict with the AC. Going to bed with fans blasting hot air 5 inches away from your face is not a good time!!
As a result of my parent’s rules though, my brothers and I left the house each morning after breakfast, maybe stopped home for a quick lunch, but most days didn’t come home until dinnertime. Our days were filled with friends, swimming, creek walking, bike riding, chalk drawing, bug collecting, and doing anything that didn’t involve sitting in a hot house staring at a blank television.
Today I’m sharing a recipe that reminds me of those simpler days. No frills, no fuss, just pure deliciousness. Strawberry Shortcake Icebox Cake calls for just five ingredients, no baking (did I mention how hot it is here?!) is gluten free, and super easy too.
Three Layers of Lusciousness
My Strawberry Shortcake Icebox Cake features homemade whipped cream layered with sliced fresh strawberries and crispy gluten free sugar cookies. That’s it! The cookies soften in the whipped cream while they meld together in the refrigerator overnight to create a rustic yet incredible dessert that your friends and family will devour.
Origins of Icebox Cakes
Icebox cakes were introduced in America during the 1930s when refrigerators – originally called iceboxes – started to become more mainstream in people’s homes. Cookies or wafers were layered with a creamy filling then placed in the refrigertor to set overnight. The result is a soft, cake-like dessert that requires zero baking time. It’s the perfect treat for a heat wave.
We make this gluten free dessert recipe for Mother’s Day, the 4th of July (swap half the strawberries with blueberries for a festive twist) and every moment in between. Since the icebox cake needs to sit in the refrigerator overnight it’s a great dish to prep a day or two ahead of time. Once it’s dessert time at your get together or cook out, pull out of the refrigerator, slice, and serve. SO GOOD!
Ready to get started?
Step 1: Make the Homemade Whipped Cream
You can of course use store-bought whipped cream — or dairy free whipped cream like SoDelicious Coconut Whip — for this recipe but I’M TELLING YOU, take 5 minutes and make homemade instead. There are few things better than homemade whipped cream, and it’s such a cinch to make.
Add heavy whipping cream and vanilla to the bowl of an electric mixer (or in a glass bowl if you’re using a hand mixer,) that’s been chilled in the freezer then gradually add powdered sugar while the mixer is on low. Turn the speed up as the cream thickens then whip until you have…whipped cream!
Step 2: Layer the Ingredients
Spread a thin layer of the whipped cream into the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish then top with a layer of gluten free crispy sugar cookies. Next add another layer of whipped cream followed by sliced strawberries. Repeat the layers – cookies, whipped cream, and strawberries – two more times to create three layers total.
Tip: Save the “prettiest” 1/3 of the strawberry slices for a nice presentation on the top layer!
These are the cookies I use in this strawberry icebox cake: Enjoy Life Sugar Crisp Crunchy Cookies soften beautifully but still retain a little texture, which I love. You’ll need two boxes and you can find them in the gluten free aisle of the grocery store. If for some reason you can’t find these exact cookies, any crispy sugar cookies should work or even graham crackers if you’re in a pinch.
Step 3: Cover and Refrigerate
Last step is to cover the dish with saran wrap then refrigerate overnight, or until the cookies have softened (6-8 hours.) When it’s time to eat, slice, serve, and savor the sweet and simple taste of summer. Enjoy!
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Strawberry Shortcake Icebox Cake
Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake Icebox Cake is the ultimate summer dessert recipe. Sweet, creamy, plus all you need is 5 ingredients!
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2, 6oz packages Enjoy Life Sugar Crisp Crunchy Cookies
- 1-1/2lbs strawberries, trimmed and sliced
- For the whipped cream: Place the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer, or a large glass bowl and the beaters if using a hand mixer, in the freezer to chill for at least 10 minutes. Add heavy whipping cream and vanilla to the chilled bowl then whip on low speed while gradually adding powdered sugar. Gradually increase the speed as the whipped cream thickens then whip until the cream can hold its shape but is not lumpy.
- Spread a thin layer of whipped cream into the bottom of an 8x8" baking dish. Layer in 9 the cookies, spread on another layer of whipped cream, then top with 1/3 of the strawberries. Repeat layers - cookies, whipped cream, and strawberries - two more times to create three layers total (you might have a little extra whipped cream at the end.) Cover dish with saran wrap then refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, slice then serve.
- I like Enjoy Life Sugar Crisp Crunchy Cookies for the cookie layer.
- Since the homemade whipped cream has no stabilizers, I recommend keeping the icebox cake in the refrigerator when not serving.
- You can use 2 tubs of SoDelicious Coconut Whipped Topping, or your favorite DF whipped topping, as a dairy free "whipped cream" alternative.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.