1poundfresh strawberries, plus a few extra for garnishwashed & allowed to dry
12ouncescream cheese, room temperature and very soft
12sheetsgraham crackers(typical boxes of graham crackers have pre-wrapped packages with 9 crackers in each.)
Get stuff ready:
Line a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, parchment paper, or wax paper to cover the bottom and sides.
Place the bowl and whisk attachment from a stand mixer into the fridge or freezer to chill for at least 10 minutes.
Whip the cream:
Assemble the chilled bowl and whisk on the mixer. Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour in the whipping cream. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip the cream until it begins to thicken.
Pause the mixer and add in the ½ cup of confectioner's sugar and the cream of tartar. Turn the mixer back on and whip the cream until it's thick and stiff.
Set aside two cups of the whipped cream. Put the rest in a covered bowl in the fridge to use on the finished cake.
Prepare the strawberries:
Set aside a few strawberries to use on the finished cake.
Hull the rest of the strawberries, and then slice them vertically into thin slices. Set them aside.
Make the cream cheese mixture:
Beat the room-temperature, softened cream cheese on medium-high speed until it's very smooth. Beat in the 1 cup of confectioner's sugar and the vanilla extract.
Fold in the two cups of whipped cream using a rubber spatula, until it's fully incorporated.
Assemble the icebox cake:
Take a third of the sliced strawberries and arrange them in an even layer in the bottom of the prepared loaf pan.
Spread a third of the cream cheese mixture in an even layer over the strawberries.
Break graham crackers along the perforations and lay them in a single layer over the cream. Fit the pieces together as closely as you can.
Repeat these layers of strawberries, filing, and graham crackers two more times which should fill the loaf pan.
Cover the top of the pan with plastic wrap, and lightly press down on the layers in the pan. Chill it in the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Finish the cake:
Remove the cake from the fridge and carefully invert it onto a serving platter or cutting board. Peel off the parchment or plastic wrap.
Retrieve the rest of the whipped cream from the fridge and use it to "frost" the top and sides of the cake.
Slice the strawberries you set aside and use them to decorate the top of the cake.
Slice the icebox cake and serve immediately.
Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The recipe makes 8 servings.
Can Strawberry Cream Cheese Icebox Cake be made in advance?
Absolutely! The recipe needs to rest in the fridge overnight to set up properly, so it is very literally a make-ahead dessert. You can assemble and hold this icebox cake in your fridge up to three days in advance.
How do you get even layers in the icebox cake?
The recipe tells you how much of each ingredient to add to each layer. This, plus taking time to smooth out the cream cheese mixture and to lay out the berries and crackers neatly, will give you the evenest layers possible. Keep in mind though that this is a casual dessert, and it doesn't need to look perfect to be delicious!
Chilling the mixing bowl and whisk attachment before making the whipped cream helps ensure that the cream sets up correctly. Cream of tartar in the mixture helps make the whipped cream more stable in the finished icebox cake.
It's important that the cream cheese be given time to warm up to room temperature—it should be really soft—so that it blends up smoothly. Otherwise, the mixture will look lumpy.