Strawberry Rhubarb Icebox Cake: now THAT's stacked with flavor

By now, you probably know of our deep and abiding love for Vanilla Dream cookies. They’ve shown up in blogs, on Facebook, and have spawned plenty of spin-off recipes (see Chocolate Dreams).

Most of the time we just love to munch and crunch on them plain, or with a cup of java or cocoa. I personally love the texture of a Dream dipped in coffee, where the creamy coffee encourages the cookie to crumble delicately into a million pieces.

But we’re brave kitchen explorers, and know no bounds when it comes to playing with enhancing our food experience.

Surely you’ve swept a warm cookie through a vast bowl of whipped cream. Surely you’ve spread jam between two cookies and licked around and around the rim to get it just right.

Surely you’ve been tempted to mash the whole thing together and dive in head first*pant, whew*…

Sorry, I got a little carried away there. We’ll proceed with a little more refinement, I promise.

Our Strawberry Rhubarb Icebox Cake combines our favorite crispy Vanilla Dreams, a lovely homemade compote of fresh strawberries and rhubarb, and fresh whipped cream into a symphony of spring goodness. It hails back to the classic icebox “cakes” made by combining layers of cookies and different fillings, topped with cream and left to slowly soften and metamorphose into something new and unique.

Let’s make Strawberry Rhubarb Icebox Cake.

First, you’ll need one batch of Vanilla Dream Cookies, baked and cooled. I did mine about 2 weeks ahead of time and froze them as I waited for fresh rhubarb to arrive in the stores. You can use another favorite vanilla cookie; just be sure they’re on the crisp side.

Dice 4 cups of fresh rhubarb and slice 2 cups of fresh strawberries.

Place in a large pot and add the zest (grated rind) of a medium orange. Peel and dice the orange, and add that as well.

Mix 1/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons Instant ClearJel, and pour evenly over the fruits. You don’t have to use Instant ClearJel, but we do recommend some type of thickener in the filling.

Cook over high heat until the fruits give off their juices and begin to break down.

Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the filling has been reduced to a thick consistency.

As you can see if you look at the back of the pot, this has been reduced about an inch from where it started. You’ll end up with about 2 cups of filling.

To chill the filling quickly, pour it into a heat-proof bowl and place that bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice water (water and ice cubes),  and a tablespoon of salt. Brrrrrrr!

To make the cakes, stack three cookies with layers of the fruit filling and top with a fourth plain cookie.

Vanilla Dreams are known for their crisp texture, and you’ll definitely see some breakage on the edges of the cookies. No worries there, just keep stacking and no one will know the difference.

See what I mean?

A titanic tower of terrific flavor!

Be sure not to overfill the cookie layers. You want filling up to the edges of the cookies, but not flowing down over the sides.

Place your stacks of cakes on a platter or in a pan (I used a 9″ x 13″ x 2″ pan lined with parchment, for easy cleanup).

Cover with foil and place in the fridge overnight. You can make the cakes up to 2 days ahead of time, but I found they got too soggy if left longer.

If you want a quick way to serve, place a large dollop of fresh whipped cream on each stack and serve.

For a more personalized approach, spread the whipped cream over the layers as you would frost a cake. A few sliced strawberries and some grated orange peel would make a nice garnish.

Check out the teeny tiny little layers! The cookies will have softened up and become more cake-like in consistency, with just a hint of crispness at the edges.

The fruit and cream together make a nice contrast to the sweet layers, and before you know it you’ll be wondering what other fruit filling would make great summer desserts. How about a blueberry filling? Raspberry? Ohh, oohh, MIXED berry! Yeah! The garden and your imagination are all you need to have your own endless summer of icebox treats.

Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Icebox Cake.

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MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...


  1. theproperty

    Made this yesterday and will make it again soon. I doubled the amounts for all but the orange because I was a little worried that the orange flavor would be too strong. Added about 1/3 cup water to make up for the single orange. Unexpected but welcome company arrived just as it finished simmering so it “rested” for several hours before generously pouring some over greek yogurt. Cookies and refrigerator cakes will have to be for another day. Simmered the rest of the rhubarb with a little water to make rhubarb juice. Funny how those mostly green colored stalks make such beautiful pink juice. I like to use the juice for ice cubes in homemade lemonade, or sometimes a lemonade type of drink just using rhubarb juice instead of lemon juice. Wonder what rhubarb jelly would be like?

  2. irenes

    Just when I thought my rhubarb season was over – you inspire with a new and tasty way to use my rhubarb compote. Why didn’t I think of that? Oh, right – that’s why I look to you my baking diva! Thanks MJ! Irene @ KAF


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