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 / Updated  / Source: TODAY
By Andrea Lynn

Yearn for a cake but don’t want to crank up the oven in the summer heat? Opt for an icebox cake made from layers of thin store-bought cookies and whipped cream. After it sits in the fridge for 24 hours, the cookies absorb the moisture from the whipped cream, turning it into a luscious delight.

Chronicle: Ice Box CakesTara Donne

How to make a free-forming icebox cake

Jean Sagendorph, co-author of the recently published cookbook, “Icebox Cakes: Recipes for the Coolest Cakes in Town,” offers advice for pulling off any type of icebox cake.

Best store-bought cookies to use: Sagendorph and her co-author, Jessie Sheehan, are partial to Nabisco's Famous Chocolate Wafers, Nabisco's Nilla Wafers, Keebler's Vanilla Wafers, Nabisco's Graham Crackers, Trader Joe's Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins, Anna's Thins, and store-bought ladyfingers.

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Easy mix-ins to flavor the whipped cream: The book highlights many options to incorporate into whipped cream: peanut butter, Nutella, orange juice plus orange zest, espresso, and alcohol. “Flavorings and extracts work well,” says Sagendorph. “Add (very) little at a time till you get to the flavor level that you like. I'm a big fan of Dutch processed cocoa because chocolate is never wrong. Flavored liqueurs (hello, blackberry!) is always a treat and Grand Marnier whipped cream will make your guests scream with joy.”

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The best pan to layer your icebox cake: Sagendorph says that loaf pans work especially well if you'll be freezing and later transporting the cake to a friend's house. “I also love to make icebox cakes in canning jars of all sizes,” she says. The majority of the recipes in Icebox Cakes use a loaf pan, a spring-form pan, or an 8-inch by 8-inch brownie pan.