Stunning Black Forest icebox cake

Aaron Hutcherson

THE WASHINGTON POST – The icebox cake is an ideal dessert for the hotter parts of the year.

At its simplest, all you need are cookies, whipped cream, a little assembly and some time in the refrigerator (aka icebox) to create this cool confection.

Here, I’ve transformed the classic Black Forest cake into a no-bake dessert that is perfectly suited for a hot day – or any time of the year.

Black Forest cake is a delightful combination of chocolate cake, whipped cream and cherries.

Instead of chocolate cake, this recipe uses store-bought cookies (though you could certainly bake your own from scratch) that soften as they sit between layers of cream and take on a light and fluffy texture.

Black Forest icebox cake. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

Thin and crispy cookies, such as the icebox classic Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, are best in this kind of cake.

Instead of a plain whipped cream, I used cream cheese for a tart, more stable cake. It is
sweetened with cherry preserves.

Fresh cherries are a great option when in season, but thawed, previously frozen fruit will work just fine during other parts of the year.

Aside from whipping cream and pitting cherries (if you’re using fresh fruit), the only other work required is assembling this chocolate and cherry icebox cake. Just add layers of cream, cookies and cherries to a pan and then chill it in the fridge for a few hours.

A springform pan is your best bet if you want to attempt clean slices of cake – popping it in the freezer to firm up a bit also helps – otherwise, a large casserole dish, such as a nine-by-13-inch pan, works for scooping out more rustic portions.

Wait to sprinkle the top with the crushed leftover cookies until just before serving to add a little bit of crunch to smooth cream, softened cookies and firm fruit.

Make Ahead: The unsliced cake will keep, loosely covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to three days, or frozen, after it has set up in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminium foil, for up to one month.

Storage Notes: Leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container and refrigerated, and are best within one day.

BLACK FOREST ICEBOX CAKE

Ingredients

Non-stick cooking spray for the pan

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

Three cups heavy cream

Three-quarter cup cherry preserves

50 thin chocolate wafer cookies

Two cups stemmed, pitted and halved sweet cherries, plus optional stem-on cherries for decorating

DIRECTIONS

Grease the sides of a round nine-inch springform pan that is three inches deep with cooking spray. Line the sides with a strip of parchment.

Add the cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until smooth, about three minutes.

Turn off the mixer, add the heavy cream and cherry preserves and whisk on low until incorporated. Gradually increase the speed to medium-high and whisk the mixture until it holds stiff peaks, one to two minutes, making sure to scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula so that it is fully incorporated.

Spread a layer of whipped cream mixture on the bottom of the pan and cover with a layer of cookies, filling any gaps with broken cookies (breaking them, if necessary). You want a reasonably solid layer where the pieces touch or overlap a little bit, but it doesn’t need to be completely solid.

Scatter two-third cup cherries on top of the cookies. Continue layering with the whipped cream, cookies and cherries two more times, ending with a final layer of cream.

Cover the top of the cake and refrigerate for nine to eight hours or overnight. Crumble any remaining cookies and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

To serve, remove the sides of the pan and peel away the parchment strip. Place the cake on a serving plate, sprinkle the top with the reserved crumbled cookies, garnish with whole cherries and slice as you would a layer cake.