Lemon Yogurt Icebox Cake with Berries
I’m often drawn to old-fashioned recipes that make a modern-day resurgence. Case in point is the classic icebox cake, which has been showing up in my Instagram feed of late. This is probably why it popped into my head when I needed a quick dessert for a last-minute dinner party. It’s not part of my typical repertoire, but I figured an icebox cake was about all I had time for. After considering the season, my pantry, and my desire to make something on the lighter side, I pulled together this Lemon Yogurt Icebox Cake. It was as easy as I’d expected and as creamy and delicious as I’d hoped.
What is an Icebox Cake?
Icebox cakes were popularized starting in the 1920s and 1930s when home refrigerators (then called iceboxes) and packaged cookies became more mainstream. A variation on a trifle or a charlotte, these no-bake cakes are traditionally made by layering cookies with whipped cream, then refrigerating it long enough for the moisture of the cream to soften the cookies. I imagine home cooks have been riffing on the icebox cake since its inception, swapping in pudding for cream, adding fresh and canned fruit, and working in all manner of other ingredients, from peanut butter to crumbled brownie.
Lighter Lemon Yogurt Icebox Cake
This variation on the theme involves folding the whipped cream into Greek yogurt that’s been perfumed with lemon zest and sweetened with maple syrup. The sweet and tangy cream gets layered with fresh strawberries and blueberries, with graham crackers playing the role of cookie.
What Makes this Icebox Cake Healthier?
I’m not hawking this recipe as health food, it’s still very much a sweet. That said, I do think you’ll walk away from the dessert table without feeling like you need a recovery nap. It’s not nearly as rich or calorically dense as many conventional icebox cakes (mine has about 1/3 of the calories and a fraction of the saturated fat). Plus, nutrient-dense berries and probiotic-rich yogurt are always welcome on my plate.
Swaps and Substitutions
Like nearly all icebox cakes, this one is flexible and forgiving. Here are a handful of ideas for swaps and substitutions that may be of interest:
- Use frozen, defrosted berries in place of fresh. Measure the fruit before you defrost it, since the volume decreases as the berries defrost.
- Swap in other fruits, such as blackberries, raspberries, thinly sliced peaches, or chopped pineapple. You may want to adjust the sugar in the cream depending on the sweetness of the fruit.
- Use other cookies instead of graham crackers, such as Gingersnaps, Biscoff, or Nilla Wafers.
- Use gluten-free graham crackers instead of conventional.
- Make a dairy-free version using your favorite dairy-free whipped cream. The volume of heavy cream about doubles when whipped, so figure you’ll need two cups if buying already whipped cream.
If you like Lemon Yogurt Ice Box Cake, check out:
Lemon Yogurt Ice Box Cake with Berries
- 1 cup low or nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- Zest of 1 large lemon
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 12 whole graham crackers (24 squares)
- 2 ½ cups sliced strawberries
- 2 ½ cups blueberries
In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, maple syrup, and lemon zest. Set aside.
Use an electric mixer to beat the heavy cream to firm peaks. Use a rubber spatula to transfer the whipped cream to the bowl with the yogurt. Fold the cream gently into the yogurt until the evenly combined.
Cover the bottom of an 8×8 or 7×9-inch casserole dish or baking pan with graham crackers, breaking them into smaller pieces as needed to fit the pan. It’s ok to have a little space around the graham crackers.
Put ⅓ of the cream on top of the graham crackers. Use the back of a spoon to spread the cream evenly over the graham crackers. Scatter ⅓ of the berries over the cream. Repeat this pattern two more times in the same order: graham crackers, ⅓ cream, ⅓ berries. You’ll finish with berries. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to 24 hours.
Keep chilled until ready to serve. Cut into squares.