An icebox cake is a cake made by freezing instead of baking. The chilled mixture of layered ingredients harden to form a solidified dessert. An icebox cake also ends up saving you from heating the house with the stove and it makes an excellent finish to a meal. The elegant Italian flavors of espresso and mascarpone are highlighted in this creamy and satisfying cake. If you are drooling over the picture and must make this recipe,
3 cups chilled heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup mascarpone cheese (about 9 oz) at room temperature
1 (9-oz) box chocolate wafers such as Nabisco Famous
1 tablespoon instant-espresso powder*
Special equipment: a 9 1/2- to 10-inch springform pan (about 26 cm)
- Beat 2 cups cream with 6 tablespoons sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until it just holds soft peaks, 2 to 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low, then add mascarpone and mix until combined.
- Spread 1 1/4 cups mascarpone mixture evenly in bottom of springform pan and cover with 14 wafers, slightly overlapping if necessary. Spread with another 1 1/4 cups mascarpone mixture, followed by 14 more wafers arranged in the same manner.
- Spread remaining mascarpone mixture on top. Smooth top with a metal offset spatula, then cover pan with foil and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.
- Transfer from freezer to refrigerator and chill, covered, until a sharp knife inserted into center cuts through softened wafers easily, about 8 hours.
- Pulse remaining chocolate wafers in a food processor until finely ground.
- Beat remaining cup cream with espresso powder and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar using electric mixer at medium speed until it just holds stiff peaks, about 3 minutes.
- Remove foil and side of pan and frost cake all over with espresso cream. Sprinkle edge of top lightly with wafer crumbs. Serve cold.
Notes: Cake, without espresso cream, can be chilled up to 2 days. Cake can be frosted with espresso cream 4 hours ahead and chilled, loosely covered with foil.
*Available at most supermarkets and The Baker's Catalogue (800-827-6836). Or you could do what I do and ask your local Starbucks for a tablespoon of espresso powder when picking up your morning coffee.