Last summer, right around this time, I made an icebox cake. It’s icebox cake season!
Along with stovetop recipes, cakes that you can assemble and stick in the freezer are popular in my kitchen right now. Last year, I adapted this funfetti one—it was totally delicious. I used two cans of those aerosol whipped cream cans. Also cake mix, cornstarch and sugar. I think I thought it was healthy because the pudding was mostly milk, with not a ton of sugar.
Are you lost? I don’t think I knew what an icebox cake was either before before I saw this. It’s traditionally a cake made with whipped cream and chocolate wafers, stacked and left overnight to soften the wafers to a cake-like consistency. This version layers chocolate pudding and graham crackers, frosted with Greek yogurt. It’s not traditional, but I am a BIG FAN.
So first, there’s the pudding, adapted from this deliciousness. It uses chia seeds as a thickener instead of cornstarch or funky thickeners. Chia seeds, which greatly resemble poppyseeds, are (1) way more nutritious (great source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and protein) and (2) often used as an egg substitute in vegan baking since they have this wild ability to absorb water and create a gel-like texture (I use one tablespoon to every three tablespoons of water, but ratios differ). So once you create that gel texture and blend it up, you have an amazingly healthy pudding!
Then, there’s the easiest frosting you’ll ever make: maple-sweetened Greek yogurt. The Chobani folks were kind enough to offer me some yogurt to play around with–little did I know that would mean carrying a heavy box the size of two of my torsos up the stairs to find a refrigerated package encasing SIX TUBS of yogurt. SIX TUBS! I squealed a little.* And then dug into the lusciously thick 2 2% plain tub to make this heavenly, healthy frosting. Seriously delicious stuff. Have you tried any of their fruit flavors? I’m not normally a flavored yogurt fan, but I’m intrigued.
The only thorn in my side is the graham crackers. Baking some type of healthy wafer would totally defeat the purpose of a no-bake cake, and I couldn’t exactly send Erik on a mission to find a healthy, minimally processed wafer/cracker at Kroger while I was up to my elbows in chia pudding. If you have any ideas for a better cracker, let me know in the comments!
If all goes well, by the time you read my next post (about pie and pancakes, but not IN pancakes), I’ll be sun-basking on an LA beach.
Vacation! Eep. Let’s get down to cake:
*This was also due in part to the fact that I was about to drag Erik to a concert by these guys. Swooooon. #dorkalert
Boyfriend rating: 8
Comments: “Very good! [In response to my query:] Yes, it tastes healthy, but in a good way. Great combination of everything–I can’t believe how good the frosting is, since it’s mostly yogurt.”
This no-bake icebox cake layers protein and fiber-packed chocolate chia pudding with graham crackers, topped with Greek yogurt for a healthy and delicious summer treat!
- For the pudding:
- ½ cup chia seeds
- 2 cups almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder or raw cacao powder, if you have it
- For assembling the cake:
- 1 box graham crackers (you will need about 2/3 of the box)
- For the frosting:
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (I used Chobani plain 2%)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Whisk together chia seeds through cocoa powder until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
Line an 8x8 pan with one sheet of plastic wrap large enough so that the ends can be folded over the top of the pan (smooth out as many wrinkles as possible so they don’t get stuck in between cake layers).
Cover the bottom with one layer of graham cracker sheets, breaking the sheets if necessary to get a flat layer. Spread a thin layer of pudding over the sheets—about ½ to ¾ cup. Repeat layering until pudding is gone, ending with a layer of graham crackers. Freeze for at least two hours.
Once frozen, unmold the cake by gently overturning the pan over a cutting board or serving plate and removing the plastic wrap.
Combine the Greek yogurt with vanilla and maple syrup--consistency will be pourable. I sort of poured most of it on top and let it drape over the sides, using a spatula to spread it around more evenly. Top with fresh cut fruit, sprinkles, shaved chocolate, etc. and freeze for an additional 25-40 minutes, or until yogurt hardens.
Slice and serve!
Store in the freezer (yogurt may get soft in the fridge). Thaw at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before serving.
I originally used 1.5 cups of almond milk in the chia pudding, but I would suggest using 2 cups (as written) purely for more volume since I think thicker layers of pudding could only benefit this cake.
I also found myself wishing for more frosting. Next time around, I might try doubling the "frosting" recipe and layering that inside the cake alongside the chia pudding.
Adapted from here