That’s all you need to make this amazing, surprisingly light, deliciously tasty summer dessert.
I had a feeling this would be good, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out exactly how seriously good it really was. There’s just enough chocolate to keep the chocolate fans happy, it’s light enough that it won’t weigh you down after a big meal, and it’s different enough to make people think that you’ve spent a ton of energy on it. Only you need to know that it’s actually pretty simple!
I started by peeling the zest from two oranges, and then grating the zest of the third.
The layers of this dish are drizzled with an amazing orange-caramel sauce. A lot of the flavor comes from that zest, but then the strips of zest can be set aside to use as a garnish for the finished product. I love it when food multitasks!
After I zested the oranges, I juiced them, and was quickly reminded of how wonderful freshly squeezed orange juice was, and how I should really juice some up more often. Isn’t that pretty?
Now, it was time to make my caramel.
I put the strips of zest in a skillet along with some sugar, and let them cook together over medium heat. The sugar melted, and started to turn a beautiful amber color, at which point, I added in my orange juice. I let the orange juice and sugar mixture simmer for about 15 minutes, until the juice had reduced by half, and then I stirred in a bit of heavy whipping cream.
The creamy orange caramel bubbled away on my stove top for about five minutes more, and then I removed it from the heat, stirred in some vanilla, and let it cool to room temperature.
At this time, I also removed the strips of orange zest from the caramel, and laid them out on a sheet of parchment paper, where they would cool and dry into beautifully candied orange strips.
Once the caramel was cooled, about 45 minutes later, it was time to build my icebox cake.
First I whipped some heavy cream in a bowl. Then I took my caramel sauce and poured about two-thirds of it into another bowl. The leftover third would be used for drizzling. I folded in one cup of the whipping cream and the grated zest into the caramel
Once that was combined, I folded in the rest of the whipped cream.
I lined my 8-inch springform pan with plastic wrap, and then layered some chocolate wafer cookies into the bottom. These little cookies can be hard to track down, but if they aren’t in the cookie aisle, check by the ice cream toppings or near the graham cracker crusts in the baking aisle.
I layered my pan carefully with cookies, then some of the orange-caramel whipped cream, and then a drizzle of caramel, until I had about 7 layers of cookies, cream, and caramel.
Just keep layering until you reach the top of the pan.
Once my pan had its fill, I folded the plastic wrap over the top of the last layer, and popped it into the refrigerator to set up. This icebox cake is best made the day ahead, as it needs at least 6 hours to set up. We found that letting it sit for a day really helped intensify those flavors together! It just keeps getting better!
When it was time to serve it up, I unlatched the springform pan, unwrapped the top of the cake, and carefully flipped it out and unwrapped it on my cake stand. It looks simple enough, but then when you cut into it, prepare for oohs and aaahs, and for the kids to start drooling. (The adults do too, they’re just a little more subtle about it.)
Five ingredients!! So simple, and soooo good.
ICEBOX CAKE WITH ORANGE-CARAMEL CREAM
Adapted from The Food Network
- 3 oranges
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 3 cups cold heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1½ tsp. vanilla
- 2 (9 oz.) packages chocolate wafer cookies (I use Nabisco. You don't need all of both packages, but it's safe to buy two as many cookies may be broken once you open them up! They're fragile! Save the broken ones for making a chocolate cookie crust for your next pie...or for nibbling on.)
- Wash the three oranges and dry them well. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest in strips from two of the oranges. Grate the zest from the third orange. Juice all three oranges and set the juice aside.
- In a skillet on the stovetop, add the strips of zest and the sugar. Cook, over medium heat, without stirring, until the sugar melts. Swirl the pan a bit, moving things around, until the sugar starts to turn a dark amber color. At this point, stir in the orange juice.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, and cook at a rapid simmer until the mixture is reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in ½ cup of the cream, and allow to cook until the cream is incorporated, about 5 minutes more.
- Remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Using tongs, remove the strips of orange zest from the caramel, allowing the excess to drip back into the pan. Place the strips on a sheet of parchment or waxed paper and allow to dry.
- Allow the caramel to come to room temperature before continuing, about 45 minutes.
- Once the caramel is cool, transfer two-thirds of the caramel to a medium sized bowl.
- In a different bowl, beat the remaining 2½ cups whipping cream with a mixer until soft peaks form. (Do not overbeat!)
- Stir 1 cup of the whipped cream and the grated orange zest into the bowl with the caramel. Once it's incorporated together nicely, fold in the rest of the whipped cream.
- Now, it's time to build the cake! Line an 8 inch springform pan with plastic wrap. Place 7 cookies in the bottom of the pan. Spread ½ cup of the caramel whipped cream on top, and then drizzle on 2 tsp. of the reserved caramel sauce.
- Repeat the layers until you have filled the springform pan. You'll have around 7 or 8 layers.
- Cover the springform pan with plastic wrap, and place the cake in the refrigerator to chill at least 6 hours, preferably overnight, before serving.
- To serve, unhook the springform pan, unwrap the plastic wrap, and flip it out onto a serving platter. Garnish with the candied orange zest.