Strawberry Icebox Cake is an easy, no-bake dessert and the perfect summer treat. Homemade strawberry whipped cream is layered with softened graham crackers and sliced strawberries and served cold.
Strawberry icebox cake is the perfect warm weather dessert. And there's no need to turn on the oven - this cake is assembled in minutes and refrigerated until ready to serve.
Homemade strawberry whipped cream is layered with graham crackers and sliced strawberries, then refrigerated. Resting the cake before serving turns the graham crackers into soft, cake-like layers.
This strawberry cake is light, not too sweet, and family friendly - everyone loves it! Perfect for summer barbecues, birthday parties, Valentine's Day, or just because.
Ingredients and substitutions
For this recipe, you'll be making a homemade whipped cream, which you'll layer with sliced fresh strawberries and graham crackers.
To make your whipped cream layer, you'll need to use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream. Anything with a lower fat percentage (light cream, half & half, or whole milk) will not whip up into whipped cream, and cannot be substituted.
The whipped cream layer can be substituted with 4 cups of Cool Whip. However, I highly recommend trying to make your own from scratch - it tastes better and you'll know exactly what ingredients are in your homemade version.
Graham crackers can be substituted with vanilla wafers or chocolate wafers (cookies may take longer to soften in your cake).
Strawberries can be substituted with your favorite berries - blueberries or raspberries would be great. Same goes for the jam - I used seedless strawberry jam, but any variety of jam will work.
Making whipped cream
Never made whipped cream before? Check out my post on Homemade Whipped Cream for even more details and step-by-step photos.
Make sure your heavy cream is very cold and straight from the refrigerator. Even better, chill your bowl and whisk in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before starting.
The entire process will take about 2-3 minutes as your cream goes from frothy to thick and creamy. You're looking for medium peaks, which will mostly hold their shape, but eventually droop slightly.
Once you've made your whipped cream, fold in the strawberry jam and gently mix until it is evenly incorporated. Your whipped cream should have a very light pink tint, with a light strawberry flavor.
Assembling your icebox cake
In an 8x8 square pan, add a thin layer of whipped cream. Next, add a layer of graham crackers. For the first layer, I used 3 ½ crackers. Next, add a thick layer of whipped cream and spread into an even layer. Last, add a layer of sliced strawberries.
Next, you'll repeat your layers two more times - for a total of three layers of graham crackers, three layers of whipped cream (not including that first thin layer), and three layers of strawberries.
As you can see, my pan got gradually larger as I assembled, so I used about a ½ cracker more with each layer. I used 12 long graham crackers total for my pan. This may vary slightly based on the dish you use.
Chilling your icebox cake
Once your cake is assembled, cover and refrigerate for about three hours.
I found the texture was best at around three hours - this gives your graham crackers time to soften into a cake-like texture, but they aren't so soft that they become mushy.
If you'd like a firmer cake, I'd suggest serving it after one hour instead of three.
This cake can be assembled and chilled the day beforehand. Keep in mind that your graham crackers will continue to soften and lose texture the longer your cake sits.
If you'd like to prepare this ahead of time, I'd suggest slicing your strawberries and making your whipped cream, then storing them separately overnight. About three hours before your event, assemble your cake and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Strawberry Icebox Cake
- 2 cups heavy cream or heavy whipping cream very cold
- ¼ cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup strawberry jam
- 12 graham crackers
- 16 ounces strawberries thinly sliced
- In a large bowl, add cold heavy cream, confectioner's sugar, and vanilla extract. Whip with a hand mixer or stand mixer until medium peaks have formed. Add strawberry jam and gently fold into whipped cream until evenly incorporated. Set aside.
- In an 8x8 square pan, add a thin layer of whipped cream (this layer is not repeated). Top with a single layer of graham crackers. Top graham crackers with a thick layer of whipped cream, spread into an even layer. Top whipped cream with a single layer of strawberry slices. Repeat these layers two more times, for 3 layers each of graham crackers, whipped cream, and strawberries.
- Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour for a firm cake, or 3 hours for a softer cake. Graham crackers will continue to soften over time and cake is best served within 24 hours.
- Slice and serve cold.
- Heavy cream, confectioner's sugar, and vanilla extract can be substituted with 4 cups of Cool Whip.
- Amount of graham crackers may vary based on size of pan used. Graham crackers can be substituted with vanilla or chocolate wafers.
- Whipped cream can only be made with heavy cream or heavy whipping cream - light cream, half & half, or whole milk cannot be substituted.