Tuesday, December 8, 2015

On icebox cakes

The allure of the ice box cake lies in its assembly.  It is more than the some of its parts.

It isn’t necessarily quick to put together.  And it sits overnight in the fridge to soften, so it isn’t something that can satisfy a sweet tooth instantly.

But once one gets into a rhythm - layering the cookies or crackers, spreading the cream, arranging the fruit, an inelegant flick of the wrist to drizzle on the chocolate, and then starting the whole thing again - the time can pass rather quickly (admonishments to Max to stop eating all the ingredients, not withstanding).   The cookies.  The cream.  The fruit.  The chocolate.  

And all that repetition lets your mind wander.  Back to those days when an icebox cake would sit in my mom’s fridge.

It was the kind of cake that necessitates sticking a fork right into the pan and taking a bite.  Just one.  And then enjoying that bite so very very much that you need another one.  And another.  Until you realize that you should have just cut a piece of it out, but really, this way feels so much naughtier.  Those surreptitious bites taken when no one was looking brought such joy. 

And eventually my reveries and my assembling come to an end.  Then the whole thing sits in the fridge and melds together into cake, it becomes so much more than the cookies, the cream, the fruit, and chocolate.  Try the ingredients on their own, and you may find the cookies to be not super flavorful, the cream perhaps too flavorful, and the fruit – well, you know fruit.  But together, they sing.

27 chocolate wafer cookies ( I made my own, but feel free to use store bought)

6 ounces blueberries
16 ounces strawberries
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon dried lavender buds

1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon heavy cream

8x8 pan

In a bowl, gently mix together the berries and lemon juice/zest.  Over gently heat, warm the 1 cup of cream with the lavender buds.  Once warm, take off heat and then refrigerate. Once that cream is nice and cold, whip that lavender cream with the remaining cup of cream, sugar, and vanilla until it holds together and is wonderfully fluffy.  With either a double boiler or carefully in a microwave, melt the chocolate with the 1 tablespoon of cream.  

Cover the bottom of the pan with cookies ( I got about 9 on each layer).  Then assemble - a layer of cream, then a generous sprinkle of berries, then a drizzling of chocolate.  Repeat until the pan can't hold anymore layers.

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