Icebox Cake Makeover

IMG_2852I am a closet icebox cake eater.
I love them.

Do you remember them from years and years ago? You know, the ones that were made from chocolate wafer cookies stacked on their side, and then those stacks would be placed side by side to create a log…all with whipped cream in between them to act as a binder? Then the whole log of wafer cookies would be frosted in whipped cream, and then when sliced, you had stripes of chocolate and whipped cream. The chocolate cookie wafers would soften, so it was just like eating a rich fudge cake. Delicious.

Back in the day, it was a gorgeous dessert….and I still love it today. But because it’s not “pretty” or up to today’s culinary “snobbishness”, I’ve been a closet icebox cake eater, first of all, because I love it, and second, I personally don’t care what it looks like….

But today, with the standards of desserts set so high… it would be considered a train wreck at any fancy dinner party.

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Ok, maybe I exaggerate, maybe not a train wreck….but I’m keeping it real here…that old time dessert isn’t something that I’d bring to a fancy dinner party. I’m sorry, I just wouldn’t. Instead, I’d spend all of my time stressing over what to bring, stressing that it had to be the fanciest, and the prettiest dessert, because I’d want to please the hostess of the party. I’d want her to be proud to put it out on her table for all of her guests. Most likely, I would order something from a bakery.  Nope…not “most likely”… I would definitely would order from a bakery.

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But no more. I’ve decided to give that old fashioned icebox cake a makeover. One that I’d be proud to bring to a dinner party, and confident that the hostess would be pleased to serve to her guests.

And this one is so simple to throw together…it’s one of those desserts that you can throw together about two hours before the party…minimal time…minimal effort. Perfect for a hot summer’s day when you don’t feel like firing up the oven, or spending a fortune at a bakery!

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And…it’s delicious. The raspberries, whipped cream, and chocolate were just made for each other. Not fond of raspberries? Use any fruit that tickles your fancy! It is truly that versatile. Just make sure that the fruit that you choose can be sliced through easily!

I’ve shared this with my lovely friends at The Novice Gardener’s, Angie’s Fiesta Friday…. and with my lovely friends at Love in the Kitchen’s Tuesday’s Table. …. And I’m proud to say that it was my very first feature on Food gawker!

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Life is good, it’s a “Throwing together a dessert in less that an hour, but it looks like you slaved all day” kind of good!

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Icebox Cake
Serves  10 to 12 People

Just a quick note:  Keep in mind that this does need to be refrigerated for at least two to three hours (or more) before you serve it, so that the wafers have time to soften into a cake like texture.  I let this particular cake refrigerate for three hours before I couldn’t stand it any longer, and had to slice into it!

And honestly, use whatever type of fruit you’d like.  Just make sure that it’s a fruit soft enough to slice through, otherwise, you won’t get perfect slices.

Choosing the right plate is important. I’ll pick a couple of plates, and then place the cookies around the outer edge in a circle to see if they’ll all fit around the plate perfectly. If they do, then that’s the plate you want to use!

If you’re not familiar with the chocolate wafers, here is a photo of the box:

chocolate wafers2 boxes Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
1 quart heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/3 cup of sugar (or more, depending on your desired sweetness)
3 pints fresh raspberries (or your favorite fruit)

Begin by whipping the heavy cream in a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer). Let it whip until it hits that point just before it starts to turn to butter. You don’t want it too soft, because you want it to be able to hold up the cookies and raspberries. Add the sugar and vanilla, and whip for another minute or so, until they’re fully combined. Don’t worry if the sugar isn’t dissolved at this point. It will continue to dissolve as the cream sits.

On your favorite plate or cake plate, spread a small amount of whipped cream over the plate. This will act as the glue to keep the base cookies in place. This is kind of important because the cake will fly off the plate the minute you try to carry it, and if you’re trying to make a grand entrance with it… let’s just say.. it will be grand alright, all over your floor!

Place the  cookies around the plate in a circle. You don’t want them to overlap. Fill in the middle section with about three or four cookies. It doesn’t matter if the cookies in the middle overlap. Place a second row of cookies on top of the first row.
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Using a pastry bag, and Ateco tip #824, begin making rosettes all around the top of the cookies. Gently place one pint of raspberries on top of the whipped cream. Make whipped cream rosettes on top of the raspberries. You want to be very gentle with this, so that each layer doesn’t get mashed down. You should be able to see each layer as separate layers.
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Repeat with another layer of cookies, whipped cream, raspberries, and whipped cream. And then finally repeat a third time, ending with the raspberries on top of the cake.
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Refrigerate for at least two to three hours, or overnight.
This is best when served cold. Keep any leftovers refrigerated. It will keep for a day or two in the fridge.

Enjoy!

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Writing Process Blog Tour, Part II: Suzanne’s Whipped Chocolate Caramel Ganache

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I’m finally home from vacation! It was a nice relaxing time, but I was pretty homesick the last couple of days, so it’s nice to be back, and into my regular routine. I’ll get caught up with all of your lovely comments in the upcoming week!

This is the very last post for my Writing Process Blog Tour, Part II…. I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the tour a little over a month ago, and had the honor of introducing you to some outstanding bloggers, including Suzanne, from A Pug in the Kitchen.

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I went ahead and opened my big mouth during the first day of the tour…and said “Oh yeah, I’ll give Suzanne’s Whipped Chocolate Caramel Ganache a try!” It’s not enough that her recipe is a winner in a Food52 contest…Nope… I said that I was going to make it, and then post it for all the world to see.

Yep. Me.
The non-baker.
The un-bakeable-ist.

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So…when I put all of the ingredients in front of me, I’m not kidding when I say that I think I broke out in a little sweat. Panic set in. I stood there looking at everything… reading the recipe over and over again, and then looking at everything again.

I really wanted to make Suzanne proud.
Because, well…it’s Suzanne, you know?
She is one of the most highly respected bloggers in our blogging community.
We love her.

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Honestly, there was nothing to worry about…she made the instructions so clear, that this absolutely beautiful and delightful ganache is a breeze to make!

And seriously…this stuff is good. I mean really, really good… and when you make this ganache, be prepared for burned fingers and tongues. Because that’s exactly what’s going to happen the second you add the butter to the amber colored liquid sugar. You’re going to start dipping your finger in, knowing full well that burns and discomfort will happen… but you’re not going to care. That delicious caramel with the chocolate is completely and utterly burn worthy.

I mean…look at it…how could you not take that chance??

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And while it was whipping in my mixer, I was so impressed at how quickly it all came together, to produce such a perfectly fluffy and delicious ganache. This is definitely a recipe that quickly became one of my favorites, one that will be my go-to whenever I need a chocolate frosting.

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I’m so pleased to share this with you today, and I hope that you’ll stop by Suzanne’s blog to visit her, and to see what she has cooking up her sleeve. I can guarantee that it will be amazing!

Life is good…it’s a “Finding a new favorite chocolate frosting, and totally knowing that you can rock that frosting out of the house!” kind of good…

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Whipped Chocolate Caramel Ganache
Copied from Suzanne’s blog: A Pug in the Kitchen

Makes enough frosting to fill and frost a 9-inch cake

Chocolate Caramel Sauce:
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons salted butter cut into tablepoon-size pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 ounces dark chocolate (I used bittersweet)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put the heavy cream in a glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 45 seconds, add chocolate and microwave another 30 seconds Stir until its smooth, add the vanilla extract and stir to combine, set aside so that it will cool before adding to the caramel.

In large saucepan add the sugar, turn heat to med/high and let sit until it starts to liquefy. Start stirring with a heat proof spatula. The sugar will crystalize but that’s alright — keep stirring until its all liquid. Stop stirring and let it cook until it turns amber in color, then add the butter and stir to combine.
Remove from heat and add the chocolate cream. Stir until its incorporated. Store in a container at room temperature until ready to use. Note: If you make this ahead of time, simply place the bottle or jar in hot water to warm the caramel so it’s pourable.

Ganache :
4 ounces dark chocolate broken into small pieces
4 ounces milk chocolate broken into small pieces
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon liquor (I like cointreau or kahlua) or vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate caramel sauce

Heat cream to scalding (not boiling). Pour over the pieces of chocolate that are in a mixing bowl. Let sit 5 minutes then stir until there are no pieces of chocolate and it’s smooth and shiny, then add the chocolate caramel sauce and stir to combine.
Place bowl in an ice bath and stir or whisk until it’s cool but not cold — it will stiffen fairly quickly if it gets too cold. Remove from the ice bath and beat with a mixer or whisk until the ganache is fluffy and spreadable. Frost the cake immediately. Best served at room temperature.
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Enjoy!