No Bake Black Forest Icebox Cake
You really can’t beat this very simple treat that requires very little effort and very few ingredients and yet looks this fancy. I just love icebox cakes. They are layered desserts that usually involve whipped cream or pudding/custard and many times fresh fruit or a fruit purée layers sandwiched between graham crackers or wafer cookies. As they all hang out in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, they slowly merge into a moist, creamy cake texture. It’s just the best treat and I had to make one with cherries!
You can totally “cheat” and go store bought for all components but if I can, I usually like to whip my cream myself and also make my own cherry sauce. But it’s totally fine if you want to make this an even quicker dessert recipe than it already is, after all a good cheat dessert in the back pocket is always welcome. It was quite easy finding chocolate wafers here but if they aren’t an easy find where you live you can sub them out for graham cracker cookies. Or if you are really adventurous you can make your own like I did while living in Trinidad where I couldn’t find any and I was doing a recipe for cookbook club and needed some. I was not prepared to separate two boxes of Oreos for it so I decided to make my own. They were quite easy to make and the link for them is here.
I had lots of cherries so there was no need to use cherry pie filling from a can. If that is all you have or is all the energy you want to put into making this, that is totally acceptable. I had plenty of frozen ones from an earlier baking project and lots of fresh ones so I decided to use up all the fresh ones I had so that they wouldn’t go bad. Pitting them is always a bit of a pain but this year I actually bought a pitter which was super helpful. The filling comes together quickly once the cherries are pitted and it’s quite delicious and worth the effort if you have the time and patience.
The whip cream can also be store-bought whipped topping but it’s just as easy for me to whip up my own and with homemade you can also control how sweet it is. I actually didn’t make it too sweet along with the cherry sauce. It’s such a decadent dessert and the fruit is already nice and sweet and so are the chocolate wafers so I prefer it with a lot less sugar. If you taste either the sauce or the whip and feel it needs a bit more sugar for sweetness please adjust as needed. I usually have store bought fudge sauce in the fridge cause my hubby likes to make an occasional sundae but if you wanted to make yours from scratch a simple recipe for a DIY one is here
As you can see each component can be either store-bought or homemade. It all depends on how much time and patience you have. Whatever route you take I know you will love how luscious this ice box cake is! Once you have the basic formula down for making an icebox cake there is no turning back. You will want to make them with all sorts of combinations and seasonal fruit. Hope you enjoy this cherry and chocolate version as much as we did!
- 24 ozs fresh or frozen pitted cherries, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- A pinch of salt
- 1 tsp corn starch or tapioca starch
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cherry-flavored liqueur, optional
- One 9-oz box chocolate wafer cookies
- Hot fudge sauce for drizzling (store bought or homemade)
- In a small sauce pan melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the chopped cherries, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, lemon juice, and corn starch. Stir together, bring to a simmer and cook until the cherry sauce is thick and syrupy, about 8-10 minutes. Once done, remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl beat the heavy cream, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, vanilla, a pinch of salt and the cherry liqueur if using with an electric mixer on medium-high until stiff peaks form.
- Spread a very thin layer of whip cream at the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan then layer it with a third of the cookies - it’s ok if they overlap slightly.
- Evenly spread 2 cups of the whipped cream mixture on top of the cookies then drizzle half of the cooled chopped cherries evenly over the cream. Repeat with another third of the cookies, 2 cups of the cream, and the remaining chopped cherries.
- Finish with the remaining third of the cookies and top with the remaining whipped cream mixture.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 12 hours to allow the cookies to soften and the whipped cream to set.
- When ready to serve, unlock and remove the collar from around the spring form pan and set the cake on a plate or platter. Garnish the with cherries and a drizzling of the fudge sauce and then slice and serves with extra fudge sauce.