Strawberry Icebox Cake Recipe + Video
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Strawberry Icebox Cake combines fresh summer strawberries with light, fluffy vanilla whipped cream frosting and two layers of graham crackers. The layers are so stunning, people will think you spent hours putting together this no bake dessert. It’s one of our favorite summer ice box cake recipes, and it’s always a hit at barbecues and potlucks.
Once everything is assembled, this strawberry shortcake icebox cake goes in the freezer for a few hours.
This softens the graham crackers so it actually tastes like there is cake in every bite!
Strawberry Icebox Cake
If you’ve never tried a strawberry icebox cake recipe, you’re in for a real treat! The fabulous vanilla whipped cream frosting alone will certainly knock your socks off.
There’s no baking required — simply layer the ingredients into a loaf pan and chill until firm. Now, that’s what I call an easy dessert!!
Summer is the perfect time to make an ice box cake. So, if you’re in the mood to try something new, I’ve got plenty of other flavors to choose from!
Float away with a refreshing slice of Lemon Cloud or indulge in my Peanut Butter Caramel Icebox Cake — it tastes just like a giant candy bar!
Want something extra decadent for a special occasion? Then this Cherry Chocolate Chip Brownie Icebox Cheesecake is exactly what you’re looking for!
Why is it called an ice box cake?
Before modern refrigeration, families used something called an icebox to chill and preserve their food.
The cupboard or hutch was lined and stocked with a large block of ice to keep things nice and cool.
As a way to promote this new invention, the icebox cake recipe was born!
It was an easy way for housewives to prepare a stunning dessert using simple ingredients. Plus, they wouldn’t need to heat up the house with the oven.
Icebox Cake Recipe Variations
There are so many different types of icebox cakes you can make!
This strawberry icebox cake recipe is one of my favorites, but you can easily make a mixed berry version of this chilly treat with raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries.
Get creative and think up new flavor combinations to try. Here are a few to get you started:
- Use stone fruit. Sliced peaches, plums, or nectarines would be delicious.
- Swap out the pudding. Instead of vanilla, use chocolate pudding mix! You could even replace the strawberries with banana slices.
- Try different cookies. Use Nilla Wafers for a slightly different taste, or substitute ladyfingers for a more classic shortcake feel.
- Add a topping. Drizzle chocolate syrup or ganache over the top for a fancier presentation.
Kitchen Tools You’ll Need
- Stand mixer or large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer.
- 9×5 Loaf Pan – Metal works best, but glass will show off those gorgeous layers if you don’t feel like frosting the finished dessert.
- Large Bowl – This one is my go-to!
- A sturdy silicone spatula can be used for scraping, stirring, and smoothing and is easy to clean too!
Strawberry Icebox Cake FAQ
Homemade whipped cream really makes this strawberry shortcake icebox cake taste amazing. But, if you are pressed for time, you can use a frozen whipped topping instead.
If you do decide to make your own homemade topping, adding 1-2 tablespoons of dry pudding mix to whipped cream helps to stabilize it like the store-bought version.
To serve it fully frosted, then yes. Or, you can simply layer the ingredients in the pan and serve it that way.
If you have a glass 9×5 pan, the presentation is gorgeous when you can see the layers through the side.
With a steady hand, you can also assemble and serve the strawberry icebox cake on a cake platter!
You’ll need to layer the ingredients in reverse, starting with the graham crackers. I recommend piping the whipped filling as well.
Yes, it’s easy to reduce the sugar content in this no bake icebox cake recipe!
Instead of traditional instant pudding, choose a sugar-free version.
Look for a confectioner’s sugar substitute that is made with Stevia. Be sure to reference the package for the correct substitution ratio.
Use a low-fat whipped topping to reduce the fat content, if you’re concerned about that as well.
Prep Ahead Instructions
This is already a make-ahead recipe, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to prepare it!
Once everything is assembled, this no bake dessert will need to chill in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours to set.
For potlucks and parties, feel free to make this strawberry icebox cake recipe a day in advance so it’s ready to go when you are.
How to Store Strawberry Shortcake Icebox Cake
To keep the layers firm, store your strawberry icebox cake in the freezer at all times.
Keep it well covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container. Enjoy within 1 to 2 weeks, and allow it to soften on the counter for about 15 minutes before slicing.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
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Strawberry Icebox Cake Recipe + Video
- 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into bite size pieces
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream, (SEE NOTES)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 8-10 graham crackers
- 2 tablespoons vanilla pudding mix, unprepared
- Reserve a handful of strawberries for garnishing the top of the cake. Place the remaining strawberries in a large bowl. Sprinkle granulated sugar over top. Stir to combine and set aside.
- In a tall bowl, whip the heavy cream with a stand mixer or electric hand mixer on high speed, until you can start to see a trail of the mixer through the cream. Add the vanilla extract and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form. (In other words, when you turn off the blender and lift the beaters out of the cream, the cream should stand up on the end of the beater). Set aside.
- Line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap use enough to have excess that you can wrap over the top. Layer 1/3rd of the whipped cream into the pan. Spoon half of the strawberries in an even layer on top of the whipped cream. Top with a layer of graham crackers, breaking them if necessary to fit the pan.
- Next, add another 1/3rd of the whipped cream, smoothing it out evenly with a spatula. Add the remaining strawberries evenly over the whipped cream. Top with a layer of graham crackers, breaking them if necessary to make them fit. Pull the excess plastic wrap over the top to cover. Freeze for 3-4 hours.
- Meanwhile, add the remaining 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar and pudding mix to the remaining whipped cream. Whip until it comes together. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Remove the cake from freezer, unwrap the top of the cake, and invert the loaf pan onto a plate. Remove the plastic wrap and frost with the whipped cream icing and sprinkle remaining strawberries on top. Freeze until ready to serve. To slice, run your knife under hot water to warm the knife. Dry it off if necessary, then cut the cake. The knife should slide through the cake more easily. Repeat as necessary.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Homemade whipped cream really makes this icebox cake taste amazing. But, if you are pressed for time, you can use a frozen whipped topping instead. The taste will be very similar and you’ll be able to save a few minutes on a busy day. If you do decide to make your own homemade whipped cream topping, adding 1-2 tablespoons of dry pudding mix to whipped cream helps to stabilize it.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published August 2013; updated and republished May 2023
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I made this and it was soooo good! Thanks for sharing the recipe!
When you put the dish in the freezer, should you whip up the remaining ingredients right away and keep them refrigerated while the cake freezes? Or do you wait to whip the remaining powdered sugar, shortening and salt?
I whip it up while the cake is in the freezer and let is sit in the fridge to get really cold. Enjoy!
There are a few references to shortening but where is in the recipe and how is it used?
When you say vegetable shortening do you mean Crisco or vegetable oil?
Crisco shortening is what I used. Enjoy! Let me know how it goes.
Does this freeze well for say a week for a make ahead dessert?
I have frozen it for longer actually. Cover it really well with aluminum foil and leave it in the pan. Then whip up the frosting, frost the cake and pop in the freezer about 1 hour before serving. Enjoy! Let us know how it goes.
My frosting was a bit runny….did I do something wrong like whip it too much? I was thinking the consistancy would be similar to cool whip, but instead it slid off the cake.
Hi Kristi, I would think it was not whipped enough. It should stand up on a spoon if it is thick enough. I would try again and whip it until it is thicker like icing.
Email me if you have more questions. Enjoy! Let me know how it goes.
My whipping cream turned into curdle
I made this earlier in the week& froze it. When I took it out of the freezer I cut up fresh strawberries on top. Oh, I also used cream cheese in place of the shortening. It took away some of the sweetness (that I don't care for). We loved it & will make it again soon.
Can I use nestle all purpose cream instead of heavy cream? I don't have a mixer too 🙁 what's an alternative. Thanks so much!
I am not familiar with Nestle all purpose cream. Heavy cream when whipped created whipped cream, if it does the same thing I would imagine you can replace it. You can use a whisk to beat the cream, but it will take a lot longer. Enjoy!
This dessert was very different and went over fabulously with my coworkers. It was requested as a birthday dessert. The only trouble I had was that the icing, although very thick slid off the cake forming gloopy messes. No one minded, but that's not how it is in the picture. I can't see how this could be avoided when you are putting icing on a frozen cake that is creating condensation as it warms. The condensation causes the frosting to run right off the top and sides. Did I miss something that would help?
This recipe went over fabulously with co-workers. The only thing I struggled with was the frosting. Even though it was thick, it slid off the cake creating globs of frosting goop. It was still wonderful, and no one minded running their fingers through the icing remnants. However, the picture doesn't look like what I experienced. I really can't understand how you can get the frosting to stick. When the frozen cake is warming up, even in the fridge, it creates condensation, and that condensation causes the frosting to ooze off the top and sides. If I missed something that could prevent this, please let me know.
I am so happy you enjoyed the recipe. It is always a hit at our parties. I started leaving it in the freezer until ready to serve and have updated the recipe with the process. Thank you for commenting!
Thank you for your response. I will try it frozen!
In case you're interested, you can use 1 tablespoon of dry instant vanilla pudding mix (right from the box) to stabilize a pint of whipped cream instead of the salt and shortening. Easy and quick, it gives it enough body to use as frosting — and the whipped cream "holds" well for a few days in the refrigerator!
Wow, what an awesome tip. Thank you.
When you refer to 'powdered' sugar, is that what I know as granulated sugar or icing sugar? Thx.
Granulated is what you use in say coffee, tea. Powdered /confectioners sugar for icing n
Please ladies and gentlemen, correct me if I'm wrong.
Thanks in advance
Can you make this with Raspberries?
can bananas be used instead? 🙂
That's a lot of heavy cream in a recipe, I'm super curious to see how this will turn out.
Sounds so yummy, can't wait to try it! Love how easy it is, too. Thanks, love your recipes! -greta
If I want this in a 9 x 13 pan do I double all ingredients or more than double?
I just made this and I am sure it will be great (haven't served it yet), but I have a couple questions. Am I suppose to put a 1/4 cup GRANULATED sugar in the strawberries or just a sprinkle? A 1/4 of cup was VERY sweet. And what are all these comments about shorting and cream cheese…what am I missing in the above recipe?????
Made this cake last night and left in freezer overnight, frosted it this morning. Oh my goodness, it is delicious! I followed the recipe exactly and it came out wonderfully. I did have quite a bit of frosting left over, so I will be more generous with my layers next time. This might be a new regular dessert for gatherings! Thank you for the recipe! Will have to try it with blueberries or blackberries.
I made this wonderful dessert last weekend. My hubby, not usually a fan of strawberries, had 3 helpings! It's so easy to make, light & refreshing. I love that you can substitute other fruits. Next time, I'm adding bananas!
Do you use instant pudding?
Yea, you use unprepared instant pudding mix. Hope this helps!
TSRI Team Member,
Made this today and froze it. It was tasty though didn’t look good or slice well. I will not freeze it in the future as doing so turned the strawberries icy, and the cream didn’t soften the crust. The frosting part was so difficult to spread on the frozen whipping cream. It was too sweet also. In the future I would just use the last third of whipping cream to cover up the last layer of crackers, and not make it into frosting. I will also crush the crackers to have them slice better. Most ice box desserts are usually refrigerated to meld together properly.