American icebox cakes, or refrigerator cakes for our UK bakers, are so much fun to make and will wow your guests.
This Gingerbread Icebox Cake from our cookbook Life is Sweet requires a little assembly, but with our simple instructions you’ll be enjoying a delicious dessert straight outta the icebox in no time.
Spiced gingerbread wafers taste wonderful offset by the cool whipped cream and the process of refrigeration firms up this cake so it slices beautifully with lots of luscious layers once set. Cool, huh?
Watch Tarek make the Gingerbread Icebox Cake here.
Gingerbread Icebox Cake
Southern bakers had plenty of time on their hands and many older recipes do have many steps and processes to create that show-stopping star.
This icebox cake involves making gingerbread wafers and arranging them into a tower held together with cinnamon whipped cream. We suppose you could buy the ginger biscuits, but making them is half the fun!
For the gingerbread wafer biscuits:
670g (1lb 7oz) plain flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
170g (6oz) unsalted butter, softened
160g (5½oz) soft light brown sugar
2 large eggs
175g (6oz) pure cane molasses, such as Meridian
For the cream filling:
585ml (1 pint) whipping cream
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp icing sugar
6cm (2½ in) round cutter
- To make the wafers, in a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Using a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand-held electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together for around 5 minutes on a medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, on a lower speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Continue mixing on a low speed and add the molasses. Add the dry ingredients in one go and continue to mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until a dough is formed.
- Divide the dough into four equal amounts and shape each quarter into an oblong about 2.5cm (1in) thick. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours until the dough is firm enough to roll out.
- Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F), Gas mark 4. Line four baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment.
- Once the dough is cold and firm, lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough with a rolling pin to about 3mm (1/8 in) thick. Cut out the wafers using a 6cm (2½ in) round cutter. Place the wafers 2-3cm (1in) apart on the lined baking sheets. Use up as much of the dough as possible to make about seventy wafers. If the dough gets too warm, put it back into the fridge to cool down and get harder. If there is leftover dough, you can use it later, as this dough will last several days in the refrigerator or 2-3 months in the freezer.
- Bake the wafers for 12-14 minutes until the edges are slightly darker and the tops of the wafers are firm to the touch. Cool on the sheets for about 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely while you make the filling.
- In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer with the whisk attachment or using a hand-held electric whisk, beat the cream, cinnamon, vanilla and icing sugar on high speed until soft peaks form.
- To assemble the cake, spread 2 tablespoons of the whipped cream onto your cake plate to hold the first layer down, then place six wafers in a circle with the sides touching each other, and one more wafer in the centre. Put about 8 tablespoons of the cream on top and spread it evenly to cover most of the wafers, leaving the outside edge of the outer wafers uncovered. Repeat with seven more wafers, but this time offset the wafers so that they stack up in between the wafers below and not directly on top. Repeat until you have ten layers of wafers, covering the top with the last of the whipped cream. Refrigerate overnight, covering with an upturned cake tin if you like.
Recipe taken from Life is Sweet: 100 original recipes for happy home baking by Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers (Fourth Estate, 2015)
For any questions relating to our recipes, we have a wealth of baking information over on The Hummingbird Bakery Blog and FAQs to help.
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