Icebox Cake

Today is my Grandma’s 90th birthday, and I wanted to commemorate the occasion here on Brown Eyed Baker by sharing one of her recipes. My first inclination was to featureĀ Pepperoni Bread, but that has already graced the screen here, plus I really wanted to share a dessert. (But please don’t overlook the pepperoni bread – I can devour multiple loaves in one day!) This icebox cake has been one of her specialties for as long as I can remember, and from what I understand, something she has been making since my mom was a little girl. It’s a very simple dessert with simple ingredients, but it’s one of those feel-good dishes that makes you giddy when you see it sitting on the table. And then years later, when you see it or taste it or think about it, it makes you feel warm and cozy inside. It really epitomizes the notion that food doesn’t always have to be fancy or made to impress, but it should make people feel comfortable.

One of the best things about this dessert is that you can make it with any flavor that tickles your fancy. We usually always had it either with all vanilla pudding or with one layer of chocolate and one layer of vanilla. With all of the new flavors abounding for instant pudding, you could go crazy with a lot of different options. You could even add layers of sliced fruit (bananas or strawberries would be great!), and include whipped topping for a bit more decadence. Feel free to use more pudding and add even more layers too!

Happy 90th Birthday to a truly wonderful woman who has seen so much in her life and has given so much to those around her!

Icebox Cake

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes (active), 3 hours (inactive)

Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients:

Graham crackers
2 boxes instant pudding (flavors of your choice)
Whipped topping (optional)

Directions:

1. Prepare the instant pudding according to the package directions and set aside to thicken.

2. Line the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan with whole graham crackers. Break them in half if needed to fit.

3. Cover the graham crackers with half of the pudding. Add another layer of graham crackers on top of the pudding. Top with the rest of the pudding.

4. If desired, cover the top layer with whipped topping. Crush extra graham crackers on top, cover and refrigerate until cold and set, about 3 hours.

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54 Responses to “Icebox Cake”

  1. Tina @ Mommy's Kitchen on February 10, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Happy Birthday Grandma!!!!!!!!!!!! your ice box cake looks so delicious. I am going to try this with my kids. They will love it.

    Reply

  2. Jessica @ How Sweet It Is on February 10, 2010 at 11:32 am

    It looks so simple and delish! Happy birthday to your grandma. :)

    Reply

  3. annie on February 10, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Thanks for this simple and easy to prepare dessert with ingredients we have in the pantry. Wish Grandma a happy 90th, and many more to come. My grandmother is 99, and we’re hoping to celebrate her 100th this fall. They have seen and experienced so much in their lifetime!

    Reply

  4. Meghan on February 10, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Happy Birthday to your grandma!!! I love how easy this dessert is to make; pudding and graham crackers are great together. You’ve made it look so elegant :)

    Reply

  5. TammyJo Eckhart, PhD on February 10, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I hope your grandmother has a great birthday! Thank you for sharing this moment and this recipe with us.

    Reply

  6. Allison on February 10, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Its so nice that you are highlighting such a simple and classic recipe that has been in your family for many years. It is very easy to get caught up in searching for the newest, most extreme types of dessert these days, so its like a breath of fresh air to remember recipes of days gone by.

    Reply

  7. S on February 10, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Happy 90th birthday to your grandma! :)

    The cake looks simple and yummy!

    Reply

  8. Michele on February 10, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Awww! How sweet! My mom always made this with chocolate. It never looked as pretty as yours! I never would have thought this was an icebox cake!

    Reply

  9. Amanda on February 10, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    This looks wonderful! happy birthday grandma! :)

    Reply

  10. Alta on February 10, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Happy Birthday to your Grandma! Yummy-looking cake.

    Reply

  11. Amber on February 10, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Yum!! This looks incredibly delicious!!

    Reply

  12. Aimee on February 10, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Aw! Happy Birthday to your grandma! Mine turns 90 in a few months! Your grandmother knows a good cake to make, that is for sure! :)

    Reply

  13. grace on February 10, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    what a sweet homage to your gran! not only have you recognized what a lovely lady she is, but you’ve also shared a simple, versatile, and undoubtedly scrumptious recipe–thanks!

    Reply

  14. B on February 10, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    I have a Weight Watchers recipe similar to this but it’s make with unsalted saltine crackers. It sounds even better with graham crackers!

    Happy Birthday to your grandmother!

    Reply

  15. Sam (Merit to the Carrot) on February 10, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Genius, plain & simple.

    Reply

  16. Stella on February 10, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe how simple this is! I thought it was going to be complicated just by looking at the photo. I will be trying this-I love easy food that seems like a lot of work…

    Reply

  17. jessica on February 10, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    we put bananas in our ice box cake.

    Reply

  18. jessica on February 10, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    oh and chocolate pudding!

    Reply

  19. Terry Belcher on February 10, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Well, happy birthday to Grandma! I wish I had some of this yummy cake right now!

    Reply

  20. shelly (cookies and cups) on February 10, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Icebox cake is an all time favorite in our house and we make it with chocolate pudding, but usually each slice is so covered in whipped cream that you can’t even see it :)

    Reply

  21. kayte on February 10, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Happy Bday to your Grandma! I hope she was able to celebrate in a way that helped her remember all of the wonderful times of her life. this cake looks so simple and so delicious. i don’t think i’ve ever had icebox cake before, but i will definitely be making this the next time i need a simple, yet delicious dessert.

    Reply

  22. Carla on February 10, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Growing up, my family made a version of this called Eclair Cake: use French Vanilla pudding, make three layers [with the top being a cracker layer], and frost the top layer of graham crackers with chocolate frosting. Sooooo yummy. :)

    Reply

  23. Lorie on February 10, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    I’ve made a cake similar to this called chocolate eclair cake.
    Graham crackers
    layer of vanilla pudding
    more graham crackers
    another layer of vanilla pudding
    more crackers
    then a layer of chocolate pudding made with about half the milk it usually calls for. it turns out thicker, more like a frosting.
    SO easy, but SO yummy!
    I’ve also used chocolate graham crackers. YUM!

    Reply

  24. Memoria on February 11, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Happy birthday to your grandmother! I know she’s a good woman because she is an Aquarius…like me! hahaha What a great looking cake!

    Reply

  25. Catherine on February 11, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Happy 90th Birthday to your Grandmother! :) The Icebox cake looks soooo delicious and the Pepperoni Rolls even more so! :)

    Reply

  26. Rodzilla on February 11, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Happy B-day to your grams. You’re pictures are great, that looks so decadent, I was expecting a much more intricate recipe.

    Reply

  27. JIM-49 on February 11, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Happy Grandma,wish I could say it again to mine!! You Ladies are the reason we are here!! Super Icebox cake,you could add fruit in the first layer(banana,strawberry,cherry,or a cream cheese layer).Very wonderful,and easy to change up!! To me a recipe is a idea,what you can do with it,is really,how far your mind can go.I see 1500 choc chip cookies recipes,but this is “SUPER”!!

    Reply

  28. Mary on February 11, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Happy birthday!
    What a flash back! I hadn’t had this in years. My family used chocolate and lemon layers with graham crackers between them. So simple, yet wonderful.

    Reply

  29. Jeanne on February 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Happy birthday to your Grandma! I love how specific dishes can bring back so many memories.

    Reply

  30. Kim on February 11, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Looks delish. How do you cut the cake without making a mess? Serrated knife?

    Reply

  31. Eliana on February 11, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    what an awesome recipe (thanks grandma). i love you one can get really creative with the flavors.

    Reply

  32. Claire on February 11, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    holy moly, that looks amazing!

    Reply

  33. bridget {bake at 350} on February 11, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Happy Birthday to your Grandma!!! I’ve never heard of this cake! So simple and pretty!!! Thanks for sharing it!

    Reply

  34. Simply Life on February 12, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    happy birthday to your grandma!

    Reply

  35. Michelle on February 16, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Hi Kim,

    I actually just use a sharp sandwich knife (short chef’s knife). The key is just to make sure it has set in the fridge for a few hours and it will cut nice and clean. Enjoy! :)

    Reply

  36. Ann on February 18, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Wow, this remminds me of Southern babana pudding (minus the bananas). What a neat idea, and an easy dessert to make when you are rushed. Bookmarked!

    Reply

  37. Ann on February 18, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Oh…that would be BANANA, not BABAna….tee hee….

    Reply

  38. Meredith on February 21, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Made this on the weekend and we loved it. So easy! thanks!

    Reply

  39. Alyson on March 3, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    My Grandma always makes icebox cake too! Usually chocolate and vanilla, and once and a while she would do a layer of bananas in it as well :)

    Reply

  40. jenna on March 8, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Happy belated BDay, nonni

    My fave is Anna’s Ginger Thins with a blend of homemade custard and whipped cream. Yeah, homemade custard kinda belies the “modern convenience” of an icebox cake. But, the flavor can’t be beat. XD

    Reply

  41. maria on February 10, 2011 at 8:08 am

    awe, thanks for the memory. my mom and favorite aunt made this icebox cake all the time.

    Reply

  42. Joni Jobs on August 11, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    What size boxes of instant pudding do you use for this recipe?
    Thank you…can’t wait to make it!

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 12th, 2011 at 9:13 pm

      Hi Joni, The pudding boxes are 3.4 ounces each. Enjoy!

      Reply

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  44. Nancy on April 19, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I’ve just recently discovered your bog and love it!! This recipe brings back great memories of my grandma. Icebox cake was always served during the summer months at our house – grandma lived with us.

    Reply

  45. Erin on April 19, 2012 at 10:02 am

    I’ve never heard it called “Icebox Cake,” but my mother made something similar often when I was little, and I make it now as a dessert to take to pot-lucks and so on. Somebody else mentioned an “Eclair” version above; my mother’s take on this is Eclair Squares on steroids. She made it into a proper torte, with at least 5 layers each of graham crackers and vanilla pudding with whipped cream folded in (to make the consistency more like pastry creme). To top it off, she nukes chocolate frosting just a little to make it very easy to spread, then applies liberally to the top layer of graham crackers. So good!

    Reply

  46. jude jam on April 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    this is a great recipe to use for my diabetic friends: instead of the regular pudding and cookies i will use sugarfree cookies and puddingmix.. no topping is needed, if you use the thicker version of a matching pudding. love the idea, and i think my friends will love me too for finally having something they can have too..

    Reply

  47. Linda on August 4, 2012 at 7:48 am

    My Granparents made this, my mother made this and I have been making this for my children for many, many years. I actually just made it last week for my 35 year old son. One of our favorite traditions!

    Reply

  48. Merideth on September 19, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Your grandma sounds a lot like my Noni. She’s 91 and she made us a lot of the same things when we were growing up. Seriously, it was the same all the way down to giving us Klondike bars. I never really liked sweets, but I LOVED (and still love) Icebox cake. Pistachio and vanilla was my favorite. I haven’t made it since I was in college. Reading this was like a blast from the past. I think I need to make some now. And try your rum cake recipe… Thank you for sharing!

    Reply

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