Friday, May 31, 2013

Strawberry-Lemonade Icebox Cake

Layered icebox cake dessert
I'm surprised I like the idea of icebox cakes, it's cookies layered with pudding/whipped topping that you pull together ahead of time and let it sit overnight to allow the liquid parts to soften the cookies.  Usually I think pudding is gross and soggy cookies don't sound like my idea of a good time, but I really like this dish. 

One reason I like this dish is because I like things you can make ahead of time since it gives you time to focus on other things. And this dish you HAVE to make ahead of time, it needs time to work it's magic.

Plus the icebox cake concept can be used as a base for a lot of different flavor variations. When you think about it, this is pretty much just the Midwestern version of Italian tiramisu.


Cooking Light Chocolate-Eclair Icebox Dessert

I've made the chocolate version of this recipe but this time I used the recipe as a guide for making a totally different flavor.  I based it on the box of instant pudding I had at home, which was lemon.  I went with a strawberry-lemonade concept since I had a few fresh strawberries left.

I modified the recipe to make a half-size batch since we didn't need a full 9x13 pan of dessert for our family of three.  An 8x8 pan is approximately half the size of a 9x13 pan, but I experimented and found that my 9x7 pan was a better fit for the graham crackers.  I prefer more "cake" layers than pudding, so I always add an extra layer of graham crackers.


  • 12-14 sheets (about 1/2 of a 14-ounce box) honey graham crackers
  • 1.5 cups almond milk 
  • 1 (3.4-ounce) package lemon instant pudding mix
  • 3 ounces fat-free cream cheese (I used three wedges of Laughing Cow strawberries & cream spread)
  • 1/2 (8-ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • handful of strawberries, cut into flat slices


Put a layer of graham crackers down in a 9x7 pan. 
first layer of graham crackers
In a large bowl pour the almond milk and sprinkle the instant pudding mix on top.  Mix it with your blender.  When that is combined, add the cream cheese and blend until smooth. Mine never really got completely smooth, but no big deal.
Some ingredients of the pudding layer

Mixing up the pudding layer
Gently incorporate the whipped topping into the pudding mixture.  Spread 1/4 of the mixture on the graham cracker base you already laid down in your pan. 

Pudding mixture on the grahams

Add more graham crackers on top and add more pudding mixture. 
Add more grahams
Add another layer of graham crackers and layer your strawberries on top. 
Add a layer of sliced strawberries
Add pudding mixture and cover with grahams.  Keep going with another layer of grahams and another layer of pudding mixture.  End with pudding on the top for however many layers you want. 
More pudding mixture


I liked the flavor combo of strawberries and lemon but felt the strawberries were a little out of place since they were too firm in the middle of this super-soft dessert.  But I also don't like nuts in my brownies since it's a different texture, so this was probably the wrong choice for my preferences.  In the future I would not use whole fruit but whiz it up into the pudding layer. 

The taste was really good.  The cream cheese never got smoothly incorporated, but that's fine since it was sweetened and wasn't huge chunks.  I personally don't think you need the cream cheese, maybe next time I'll go without.    

Other flavor variations I'd like to make in the future:
  • Strawberry shortcake - Strawberries, graham crackers, and vanilla pudding.  or cheesecake pudding for a strawberry cheesecake.
  • Chocolate-banana - banana slices, graham crackers, and chocolate pudding.  could also add some regular or powdered peanut butter
  • Mocha -  chocolate cookies, and chocolate pudding with decaf coffee crystals
  • Oreo - Oreo cookies, chocolate pudding or Oreo pudding since they make that, but it might be hard to find.
  • S'mores - add marshmallow fluff to the pudding mix, grahams, chocolate pudding.  some chocolate sauce or shaved chocolate would be welcome here.
  • Chocolate-covered strawberries  - strawberries, chocolate pudding 
  • Peaches & cream - peaches, vanilla pudding with peach schnapps

Wanna Chat?

I turned off the 'leave a comment' feature, so if you want to share what you're thinking about this or anything else, drop me an email at jhk1013 (at) It's so much more cozy than a comment, plus we can have a real conversation!