Lemon Icebox Cake is a creamy, frozen treat that is refreshing and a lemon lover's favorite. It's a no-bake dessert that is made in a loaf pan, frozen, and sliced for a beautiful presentation.
Frozen desserts and especially lemon desserts are refreshing on a hot summer day. The combination of sweet and tart is a perfect balance.
Lemon Icebox Cake is made with layers of graham crackers, creamy lemon mascarpone filling, lemon cream, and finished with homemade whipped cream. Slice into this delicious lemon cake to reveal beautiful layers.
Why this recipe works
- It's a lemon lover's dream.
- No baking required.
- It's creamy and refreshing on a hot summer day.
- You can prep this cake in advance.
- The layers make for a beautiful presentation.
Before you begin
Take out the following baking equipment.
Read the recipe through from start to finish.
Mascarpone is known as Italian cream cheese. Because it has a higher fat content than traditional American cream cheese it adds a richer, creamier flavor. Mascarpone is also softer and less tangy than cream cheese which creates a smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture that complements this frozen dessert.
Some recipes call for granulated sugar in homemade whipped cream. However, using powdered sugar as the sweetener will eliminate the possibility of a grainy texture. To make whipped cream, always begin with cold heavy cream as it will produce a light and airy whipped cream. Warm or room temperature heavy cream will not whip up into a beautiful whipped cream.
For making homemade whipped, cream, use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream as they are essentially the same. Both heavy cream and heavy whipping cream must contain at least 36% milkfat while whipping cream contains 30%-35% milkfat. The lower fat content will not produce desired stiff peaks!
How to make lemon icebox cake
Make lemon cream. Make the lemon cream in advance as it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Once it's made, it needs to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours to set up before using it in this frozen dessert.
Prepare loaf pan. Line a 9×15-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing it to hang over all the sides so that you can cover the finished cake.
Make mascarpone filling. Use a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment to beat the mascarpone, sugar, and lemon zest on medium speed until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and slowly add the heavy cream. Increase speed to medium and mix until medium peak forms.
Layer the cake. Place a layer of graham crackers on the bottom of your prepared loaf pan, trimming as necessary. Spread 1/3 of the lemon cream over the graham crackers and top with 1/3 of the mascarpone filling. Spread evenly. Top with another layer of graham crackers and repeat with the lemon cream and mascarpone filling. Repeat one more time so that you have three layers of graham crackers, lemon cream, and mascarpone filling. Top with a final layer of graham crackers.
Freeze. Using the excess plastic wrap, cover your cake and freeze for at least 6 hours to set up.
Unmold. Uncover the cake and invert onto a cake stand or serving dish. Unmold and remove the plastic wrap.
Make the whipped topping. Use a hand-help mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla on medium-low speed until frothy. Increase speed to medium-high and continue whisking until medium peaks form about 3 minutes.
Decorate the cake. Using an offset spatula, cover the cake with the whipped cream.
The perfect whipped cream texture
When making homemade whipped cream, the texture is very important. It's essential to keep a close eye on your mixture, or else you can quickly end up with overmixed whipped cream that will not spread evenly. If you do not whisk the mixture long enough, it will not adhere to your cake in a smooth layer.
The cream is perfectly whipped to medium peaks when it holds its shape on the end of the whisk. Its tip will slightly curl over but not lose its shape.
How to serve icebox cake
This icebox cake is delicious served from the freezer. It also makes it easier to slice when you serve this dessert from the freezer. Once you unmold the cake from your loaf pan, apply your whipped cream topping. You can either immediately serve the cake or pop it back into the freezer to chill the whipped topping. If you prefer, you can also allow the cake to sit at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes to soften slightly.
Tips and takeaways
- Make sure the mascarpone cheese is at room temperature. If you try to mix it while still cold, you will have lumps in your mixture.
- Trim your graham crackers to fit using a knife. You will get cleaner edges and fit the pieces together better than breaking them by hand.
- For extra lemon flavor, you can add the zest of 1/2 a lemon to the whipped cream topping.
Love lemon? Try these recipes...
Make sure to tag me @thesweetoccasion on Instagram and leave me a review below if you make this Lemon Icebox Cake. I'd love to see your creations and read your feedback. And if you would like to make this recipe later, be sure to pin this recipe using the button on any of these images. Let's make every occasion a sweet occasion!Print