This Strawberry Icebox Cake with cream cheese and graham crackers is an easy, no-bake strawberry dessert recipe that takes just 6 ingredients and 15 minutes. The fluffy cream cheese filling gently infuses with the strawberry and toasty graham cracker flavour and the crackers’ crunch gives way to a soft, tiramisu-like texture. So yummy!
A strawberry refrigerator cake is the perfect, easy alternative to classic strawberry shortcake, strawberry cobbler, puff pastry strawberry tart, or *actual* baking of any variety. (Although when you have a chance, you really must try these delicious strawberry brownies!)
Strawberry Cream Cheese Icebox Cake – You’re gonna LOVE this No Bake Strawberry Dessert
There are so many reasons to love this Strawberry Icebox Cake. Here are just a few:
- It’s easy to make and requires no baking, making it the perfect dessert for hot summer months or when you’re short on time.
- The flavors are fresh and delicious thanks to the combination of sweet, juicy strawberries and tangy whipped cream cheese filling. I adore the cool, lighter-but-still-creamy cheesecake filling.
- It’s a crowd-pleaser that’s sure to impress at any BBQ or potluck. Kids love it and it’s the perfect treat for when strawberry season is in full swing.
- It’s customizable and versatile – you can switch up the fruit, add different toppings, or even experiment with different types of cake or cookie layers. Plus, it can easily be adjusted to fit different dietary needs or preferences.
- It’s nostalgic and brings back memories of childhood summer days spent enjoying cool, refreshing treats.
Gather Your Ingredients for No Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake
Before you start baking, make sure you have all the ingredients for this Strawberry Refrigerator Cake with Cream Cheese! Here’s a list of what you’ll need:
- Cream cheese: Adds a tangy and rich flavor to the no bake cheesecake filling and helps to set the cake’s texture.
- Heavy cream: The main ingredient of the cake, whipping cream creates a light and fluffy texture in this easy dessert.
- Confectioners’ sugar: Provides a touch of sweetness to balance out the tartness of the strawberries.
- Vanilla extract: A classic dessert flavor that pairs perfectly with strawberries.
- Graham crackers: One sleeve of graham crackers forms the layers of the cake, adding a slightly crunchy texture to the creamy filling.
- Fresh strawberries: The star ingredient of the cake. In-season ripe strawberries are the best.
How make Strawberry Icebox Cake: Step-by-Step Directions for Preparing this Easy No Bake Recipe
To make it, simply layer spoonfuls of whipped filling with graham crackers and strawberries in a basic loaf pan using a spoon or offset spatula. Start with filling and graham crackers and end with strawberries, don’t give too much thought to how many layers and what comes next. Go with the flow. It’s an easy, forgiving dessert recipe you will want to repeat all strawberry season.
- Line a loaf pan with parchment paper to ensure easy removal of the cake.
- Combine cream cheese and cream, whipping until smooth. Then add sugar and vanilla to create the fluffy and sweet whipped filling.
- Reserve some of the whipped cream and prettiest strawberry slices for the top layer.
- Spread a layer of filling on the bottom of the pan. Top cream cheese mixture with a layer of graham crackers, breaking them as needed.
- Top the graham crackers with more whipped cream and a single layer of strawberry slices.
- Repeat: top strawberries with another layer of graham crackers, whipped cream, and layer of strawberries until you end up with three layers of each.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least four hours until the crackers and strawberries soften.
Grab these Tools
No need to be a kitchen wizard to make this Strawberry Icebox Cake – all you need are some basic kitchen tools! Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- A loaf pan to create the perfect shape for your cake.
- Parchment paper for easy removal of the cake from the pan.
- A large bowl and electric hand mixer (or standing mixer) to whip up the cream cheese and cream into a fluffy and sweet filling.
- Measuring cups and spoons to ensure accurate measurements of your ingredients.
- A spatula to spread the layers of whipped cream and strawberries evenly.
- A sharp knife to slice the fresh strawberries to perfection.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
Looking to get ahead of the game and prepare your Strawberry Icebox Cake ahead of time? No problem – just follow these tips to make sure your dessert stays fresh and delicious right up until it’s time to serve!
- Make it ahead by refrigerating the cake for up to 24 hours before serving. The flavors will have a chance to meld together, and the cake will be beautifully set.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Trust us, you’ll want to save some for later!
- Freeze any extra slices individually for an on-demand dessert option. Simply let them thaw for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.
Variations and Substitutions
Looking to switch things up with your Strawberry Icebox Cake? Here are a few variations and substitutions to try out:
- Switch up the fruit and use raspberries, blueberries, sliced cherries, or thinly-sliced peaches instead of strawberries for a fun twist on this classic dessert.
- Add some crunch by layering in toasted coconut, or chopped nuts between the whipped cream cheese and fruit layers. Crush up some more graham crackers and sprinkle crumbs on top for presentation, if you like.
- Use a different type of cake such as angel food cake or pound cake instead of graham crackers for a more decadent dessert experience.
- Make it gluten-free by using gluten-free graham crackers or a gluten-free cake alternative.
- Use Cool Whip: Shortcut enthusiasts and 90s nostalgia fans can swap in Cool Whip for the whipping cream and omit the confectioners’ sugar.
- Vegan Strawberry Icebox Cake: Serving a vegan, someone who can’t have dairy, or simply don’t have whipping cream? Stick a couple of 14-oz cans of coconut milk in the fridge for a few hours and then scoop out and whip only the solid portion at the top for coconut whipped cream instead.
- Healthy Strawberry Icebox Cake: You can totally lighten this up by replacing up to 1 cup of the cream with Greek-style plain yogurt (because it won’t gain as much volume, use a bit less on each layer).
- Chocolate Strawberry Icebox Cake: substitute chocolate wafer cookies for the graham crackers and/or add a spoonful of cocoa powder to the whipped cream filling.
The term “icebox cake” originated in the early 1900s when refrigerators, or iceboxes, were just becoming popular in homes. The dessert was created as a way to use the new household appliance for making and storing desserts that didn’t require baking, like this Strawberry Icebox Cake with Cream Cheese. The cake is assembled and chilled in the refrigerator, allowing the layers to meld together and create a deliciously creamy and refreshing dessert.
Icebox cake is sometimes called “refrigerator cake”, “fridge cake” or “whip cream cake.” The dessert has also been known by other names over the years, such as “lolly cake,” “biscuit cake,” and even “lazy cake,” due to its simplicity and lack of baking. But regardless of what you call it, one thing is for sure – this no-bake dessert is a delicious and refreshing treat that’s perfect for any occasion.
More Favourite Foodess strawberry recipes:
Strawberry Icebox Cake with Cream Cheese
- 2 cups heavy cream (whipping cream or 35% m.f.)
- 6 tbsp cream cheese softened to room temperature
- ½ cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla
- 9 long graham crackers (one sleeve, or 5 oz by weight)
- 1 lb fresh strawberries hulled and sliced very thinly
- Line a 9″ loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the whipping cream first on its own. Once soft peaks form, scrape it into a bowl.
- Without bothering to wash the stand mixer bowl, beat the room temperature cream cheese with the sugar and vanilla until well blended. Beat in half of the whipped cream, then stop the stand mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold the rest of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture (this way, you won't collapse the whipped cream. If you do it all in one step, you may end up with bits of cream cheese instead of a smooth filling.)
- Set aside 1 cup of the cream cheese filling to make sure you have enough to cover the top layer, as well as a handful of the prettiest strawberry slices.
- Spread 1/3 cup of the cream cheese filling on the bottom of the loaf pan. Top with graham crackers to cover the bottom, breaking them as needed to fit them in. Top with about 2/3 cup whipped cream, a handful of strawberries, more whipped cream, then another layer of graham cracker. Repeat, ending with the reserved whipped cream and pretty berries. You should have 3 layers of graham crackers and 3 layers of strawberries (including the top).
- Refrigerate for 6-8 hours before slicing. Serve right out of the pan, don't try to remove the cake.
- Slice the strawberries as thinly as possible to make them easier to cut through as you slice the cake.
- If you get small lumps of cream cheese in your filling as you’re mixing it up, hold a hot cloth on the bottom of the bowl as you mix just until it warms enough to loosen the cream cheese back up.
Last Updated on July 16, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD