All you need is six ingredients, a loaf pan, and your fridge.

By Bridget Hallinan
May 08, 2020
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In this episode of Mad Genius: Home Edition, Food & Wine Culinary Director-at-Large Justin Chapple walks us through a super simple icebox cake, no oven needed. The recipe only calls for six ingredients—mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, prepared lemon curd, kosher salt, graham crackers, and blueberries. Once it’s assembled, all that’s left to do is throw it in the fridge (aka the icebox). The end result is creamy, spongy, and sophisticated—it's the ultimate low-lift treat. Read on for Justin’s key tips for making the cake.

Get the Recipe: Lemony Layered Cheesecake

First Thing’s First—What’s an Icebox Cake?

Icebox cakes are made by layering something super creamy, like this mascarpone filling, with wafers or cookies (in this case, graham crackers) in a pan. You throw it in the fridge overnight—the graham crackers will absorb some of the moisture from the filling and achieve a spongey, cake-like texture, no baking required.

Grab a Big Mixing Bowl

Since you’re beating the filling with a hand mixer, make sure you do it in a large bowl, as it can easily get messy. Start on a low speed to help prevent splatters, and be careful not to over-beat. (You’re making cheesecake here, not butter, Justin says.)

Don’t Forget the Secret Ingredient

The beauty of this recipe is using prepared ingredients, like the “secret ingredient,” the lemon curd.

Always End with Crackers

When you’re building the layers, make sure the final layer is graham crackers—that's going to be the base of your cake. After it's set in the fridge, you’ll have to un-mold it by inverting it onto a cutting board or platter.

Feel Free to Add Lemon Zest

In addition to the blueberry topping, you can grate a little lemon zest on top for extra flavor.

More Icebox Cakes

If you love this recipe, we have several more icebox cakes you can try. Grace Parisi’s icebox cheesecake recipe only requires three ingredients, and Justin has another icebox-style cake prepared with alternating layers of chocolate ganache and Leibniz butter cookies. And Mathew Rice’s icebox pie is a riff on the classic tiramisu.