I’ve been buying massive quantities of fresh strawberries lately, but they usually don’t last long enough in the house to bake with. This week I bought a half flat, determined that some of them would actually make it into a dessert rather than just being consumed fresh by the bowlful.
I’d never made an icebox cake before, but the idea of layering cookies with strawberry sauce and whipped cream, then letting time and the refrigerator work their magic seemed pretty brilliant, particularly since I had to work all day and couldn’t put together a labor-intensive dessert like I love to do. I found a great-looking recipe on Seven Spoons, but wanted to bring some chocolate to the party instead of using graham crackers. So, I made some chocolate wafer cookies.
I used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe, sliced 1/8″ thick. Let me just warn you, the chilled dough is really good. So good, in fact, that I was slicing mine, I probably ate one little disk of dough for every one that made it onto the baking sheet. Good thing I’m running a lot these days.
Anyway, if you want to, you could obviously use store-bought wafers. Then you just chop up some strawberries and make a sauce, whip a little heavy cream with sugar and vanilla, and layer everything together and put it in the fridge for about 8 hours. The result, when sliced (which I should have taken a picture of…oops) looks like a cake with a 5 thin layers, with plenty of chocolate and strawberry flavor and sweet, velvety whipped cream holding it all together. Definitely not waistline friendly, but totally delicious.
(adapted from Seven Spoons)
1 pound strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped (about 3 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup sugar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
3 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, divided
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
chocolate wafer cookies (you’ll need about 60)
To make the sauce:
Put about 2 1/2 cups of berries in a medium saucepan with 3 tablespoons of the sugar and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until the fruit becomes soft and the juices begin to thicken, about 8 minutes.
Puree with an immersion blender until smooth, then strain through a sieve back into the saucepan. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until clear, glossy, and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Add the remaining fresh berries and cook for about 2 minutes. Use the immersion blender again, pureeing until smooth. Strain through a sieve, then add additional sugar to taste.
To make the cake, line the inside of an 8 or 9″ springform pan with plastic wrap so the bottom and sides are completely covered.
Whip 2 1/2 cups of cream until it holds soft peaks. Sift in the powdered sugar and salt, mix for a few seconds, then add the vanilla and continue beating just until stiff peaks form.
Spread a small amount of the cream on the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Arrange a single layer of wafers so the cream is covered as much as possible. Spoon some whipped cream on top of the wafers and smooth so they are covered by a thin layer. Drizzle a few tablespoons of the strawberry sauce over the whipped cream, then top with another layer of wafer cookies. Repeat with whipped cream and strawberry sauce until you have 5 layers of cookies and 4 layers of whipped cream. Do not spread strawberry sauce over the top layer of cream.
Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
About 1 hour before serving, remove the cake from the fridge and remove the plastic wrap. Invert the cake onto a serving plate, and remove the plastic wrap from the top and sides. Smooth out the sides with an offset spatula if needed. Place the cake in the freezer, uncovered, to chill for 30 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the remaining 1 cup of well-chilled heavy cream. After soft peaks begin to form, sift in 1/2 cup powdered sugar and continue beating until it holds stiff peaks.
Take the cake out of the freezer and gently spread a thin layer of the whipped cream to cover. Spread the remaining strawberry sauce over the top, then put the whipped cream in a piping bag and pipe some decoration, if desired. Chill for 30 minutes before slicing to serve.