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5 Easy Icebox Cakes That Will Impress Your Friends This Summer

Here are five particularly delicious icebox cakes to make this summer. Once you master the format, tweak the recipes with different fruits, cookies, and whipped cream flavors.

Icebox cakes are desserts that “cook” in your fridge or freezer, rather than your oven. Most are incredibly easy to put together, their instructions a simple list of chopping ingredients then layering them together. When you pull the dish from the refrigerator though, your cake or pie will have transformed into something much greater than the sum of its parts. With the first cool, sweet, and refreshing bite, you’ll be almost as impressed with your creation as your friends.

Here are five particularly delicious icebox cakes to make this summer. Once you master the format, tweak the recipes with different fruits, cookies, and whipped cream flavors.

The Chocolate Cream Classic
If you were teaching someone how to cook, this could be your first lesson. The work is so easy and the payoff so big: there’s a reason this is a classic. Cobble together a quick crust from crumbled graham crackers. While it cooks for 10 minutes, make a filling from chocolate, cocoa, sugar and whipped cream. In the fridge for an hour, this chocolate concoction solidifies to a sliceable consistency. Top the rich slices with more whipped cream. You can use almost any cookie or cracker, from chocolate wafers to saltines, to give the crust a different character. See the recipe here.

Meyer Lemon Icebox Cake

You might know a good old-fashioned icebox cake recipe from your childhood—the one from the back of the chocolate wafer cookie box. All you need are the cookies and homemade whipped cream. When you layer the two together, they marry together, cookies softening and cream thickening, to become a cake. This is that, only gone to the lemonade stand. Mascarpone cheese gives body to the cream, while limoncello, lemon zest, and lemon juice add puckery notes. For cookies, choose lemon wafers (or vanilla wafers if you can’t find lemon). See the recipe here.

Strawberry + Pretzel + Cheesecake
You’re really not going to believe how good this is when you read through the ingredients. The saltiness of a pretzel crumb crust sets up the two layers above it. The first is a creamy, quick-to-make cheesecake. The second is—stay with us here—strawberries set in fruity jello. Together the three layers are salty-sweet deliciousness. See the recipe here.

Mint Chocolate Semifreddo

Semifreddo is an Italian specialty that predates American icebox cakes confections. Though you “cook” it in the freezer, not the fridge, it’s too good to overlook. Semifreddo achieves an ice cream-like texture without making use of an ice cream maker at all. Instead, by beating eggs until they’re voluminous, then combining them with whipped cream, you make an airy but rich batter that freezes to a perfect, scoopable texture. This version is minty, with flecks of chocolate woven throughout.
See the recipe here.

Peanut Butter Banana Pie
See if you can make this pie and not send guests over the moon with delicious. Gooey peanut butter only gets more decadent with the addition of cream cheese and whipped cream. A graham cracker crust is the base, topped with a film of chocolate ganache, followed by bananas. Only then does the peanut butter mousse fill up the rest of the tart tin. Though delicious, consider the bananas optional; you can also use other complementary fruit here, like strawberries, or leave out the fruit altogether. See the recipe here.

(Image: Buzzfeed, RecipeChart, Martha Stewart)

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