This Black Forest Icebox Cake is completely no bake – perfect for hot summer days! It’s made with layers of chocolate graham crackers, sweet cherry preserves, and homemade whipped cream. Prepare to impress everyone who eats this when you slice into all those layers!
What is an Icebox Cake?
It’s a unique old-school type of dessert, where some type of cookies (graham crackers in this case) and whipped cream are repeated in thin layers, and then chilled. The chill time allows the whipped cream to soften the graham crackers, so that when you take a bite, it’s like tasting dozens of thin layers of cake and whipped cream. Pretty cool, right??
How to Make an Icebox Cake:
Let’s make this Black Forest Icebox Cake! First, make your whipped cream. It may look like a lot, but you’ll need a lot to make all the layers, and to later cover the entire outside of the cake. This whipped cream is spiked with a hint of kirsch, since this is a black forest inspired icebox cake.
Place some wax paper onto whatever serving plate you want to use, and then begin making your layers. Start with a chocolate graham cracker square, then add a thin layer (a spoonful or so – no need to measure this precisely) of cherry preserves, and a generous spoonful of whipped cream.
Stack a few of these on top of each other, then stand them on end on your prepared platter. You’ll want to create 3 rows with about 12 graham crackers in each row.
Once this is assembled, chill the entire thing in your freezer for about 30 minutes, to help firm it up. This will allow you to spread on the whipped cream without knocking over these layered rows. (On a particularly warm or humid day, you may need to cover the outside in layers, letting the cake chill in the freezer in stages between each layer.)
Once your cake has chilled for a few hours, you can top it with fresh cherries, chocolate shavings, and slice it up!
Those layers are sure to impress when you cut into the cake. It really does look like you made dozens of tiny cake layers and frosted between each with whipped cream!
Variations on this Recipe:
Here are a few other ways to make this recipe if you want to use different flavors, make it gluten-free, or omit the alcohol so it’s kid-friendly.
Can I omit the alcohol?
- Yes, you definitely can! No need to sub anything else in it’s place, just omit it.
Can I use flavors other than cherry and chocolate?
- Yes! You could use another flavor of fruit preserves here like blueberry, strawberry, or raspberry. You can also change out the chocolate graham crackers for regular graham crackers.
Can I make this gluten-free?
- Yes! Just use your favorite brand of gluten-free graham crackers.
Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment below letting us know how you liked it!
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Black Forest Icebox Cake
For the Whipped Cream
- 2 and 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp cherry kirsch *can omit if needed
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
For the Cherry Filling
- 1 jar cherry preserves (One 12-13 ounce jar)
- 2 tbsp cherry kirsch *can omit if needed
- Splash of almond extract
For the Rest of the Cake
- 1 box chocolate graham crackers
- fresh cherries, for garnish
- chocolate shavings, for garnish
- Prep: Line your serving platter/plate with wax paper or parchment paper. Get your graham crackers out, and break each sheet in half. Stir the kirsch and almond extract into the cherry preserves.
- Make the Whipped Cream: Add the heavy cream, kirsch, powdered sugar, and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Mix on high speed with an electric mixer until the cream begins to thicken. Continue mixing until stiff peaks form. Don't overmix!
- Assemble the Icebox Cake: Spread a spoonful of cherry preserves onto a graham cracker square. Add a generous spoonful of whipped cream on top. Repeat this, placing one coated graham cracker on top of the previous until you have a tower that's 4 pieces tall. Flip this on its side and place it on your tray. See photos above if you need help visualizing this. Repeat this two more times to finish the row - it should have 12 graham crackers, with the end pieces having nothing on their outside-facing sides. After you've finished the whole row of 12 squares, repeat that whole process two more times so that you end up with 3 rows of 12 graham pieces in each. If any of your rows don't line up perfectly, you can always add another coated graham where needed to even things out. Chill this in the freezer for 20-40 minutes. Cover the remaining whipped cream with a kitchen towel, and pop it in the fridge while the cake chills. Chilling the cake here is important so that you can cover it with the whipped cream without knocking down the rows you just made. Once the cake has chilled, cover it on all sides and the top with the remaining whipped cream. (You may have to do this in layers, especially on particularly hot and humid days, letting the cake chill between each layer or side "frosted" to keep the whipped cream set.)
- Chill, Serve, + Store: Chill the cake at least 2 hours in the fridge, and up to overnight before serving. If chilling overnight, cover the cake. This gives the graham crackers time to soften, making it a true icebox cake. Decorate with fresh cherries and chocolate shavings before serving. Cut into slices, and enjoy! Leftovers can be kept in the fridge, tightly covered, for up to 4 days.
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