Let your refrigerator do most of the work with this light and easy no-bake berry icebox cake. Made with fresh berries, graham crackers that soften up, and homemade vanilla whipped cream, this layered sheet-style cake is one of the easiest no-bake dessert recipes you’ll try this summer. Prep takes about 15 minutes and the entire cake feeds a lucky crowd!
One reader, Gwen, commented: “I made this last year for the Fourth of July and it was amazing! I’ve already had two requests from family to make it again this year. They remembered it and wanted more. I think that proves how awesome this is! ★★★★★“
Back in 2016, a reader once wrote in and explained that she’s always made a no-bake icebox cake with frozen whipped topping and pudding mix but preferred to serve something with homemade alternatives. My team and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to test out a refrigerator cake recipe! I pictured it with plenty of fresh whipped cream and summer berries.
After testing, the berry icebox cake came out better than we all imagined, and I immediately published it on my website. I’ve served it at least once every summer since. Have you ever made an icebox or refrigerator cake before? They’re a lot of fun, and you can play around with flavors. Try my s’mores icebox cake next.
Tell Me About This Berry Icebox Cake
- Flavor: Every cool and creamy bite is full of juicy berries, whipped cream, and graham crackers. I flavor the whipped cream with vanilla bean paste and almond extract. You can use regular vanilla extract, and leave out the almond extract if desired.
- Texture: As the cake sets up in the refrigerator, the graham crackers soften into a cake-like texture. The cake truly tastes like multiple layers of thin cake with whipped cream and berries in between. Like fresh berry cream cake or strawberry shortcake cake, but with more texture.
- Ease: This summer dessert recipe is wonderful for beginners. You need a handful of basic ingredients plus about 15 minutes to assemble the cake before it goes into the refrigerator. There are 3 layers of graham crackers, 3 layers of whipped cream, and 2 layers of berries (plus extra for topping). Once you put it all together, cover and refrigerate it. That’s it!
Here Are the Ingredients You Need
- Homemade Whipped Cream (heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and almond extract): Instead of using store-bought frozen whipped topping, consider making your own whipped cream. The key is to start with very cold cream: the colder the cream, the more successfully it will whip. The whipped cream is a light, creamy, and delicious addition to today’s no-bake cake—and it’s the “glue” holding all the layers in place!
- Graham Crackers: Graham crackers have the best shape for this icebox cake. They occupy a lot of space and create solid layers between the soft whipped cream. Like I mention above, the graham crackers soften into an irresistibly cake-like texture. Not crunchy at all. You could even use chocolate graham crackers for this!
- Fresh Berries: I usually use a combination of strawberries and blueberries, especially if I’m making this for the 4th of July. You can use any berries or mix of berries that you love as long as the total amount is 3 cups.
Pure vanilla extract works wonderfully in the whipped cream, but I like to use vanilla bean paste here. You can find it next to the vanilla extract in the baking aisle, or you can order it online.
Overview: How to Make This Berry Icebox Cake
The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through it quickly so you understand each step/layer before getting started.
Make the whipped cream. Beat heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, and the vanilla and almond extracts together until medium peaks form:
Create the icebox layers. Spread a very thin layer of whipped cream on the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan; this is just so the bottom layer of graham crackers stick. Arrange graham crackers on top—break them apart to fit if needed:
Now add a layer of whipped cream, a layer of sliced strawberries, and another layer of graham crackers:
Repeat with a layer of whipped cream, blueberries, and graham crackers:
Top with remaining whipped cream as the “frosting.” A small offset spatula is helpful for spreading the whipped cream:
Chill. (You AND the cake can chill out now!) Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, and up to 48 hours. I love make-ahead desserts, especially cakes. Regular baked cakes can lose their ideal texture the longer they sit, which makes them difficult to prep ahead of time. But this berry icebox cake is PERFECT for that, and tiramisu is another layered no-bake favorite!
I also have this blueberry lemon icebox cake that I make in a loaf pan. Though today’s sheet cake sets up in the refrigerator, I find the loaf shape holds shape better when frozen.
Before serving, garnish with more berries, and even some festive sprinkles, if desired. It cuts like a regular sheet cake. The slices lose *a little* structure when transferring to a plate, but I’ve never heard any complaints from taste testers! A small narrow serving spatula is especially helpful.
This cake is always so much fun to serve because no one ever believes it’s made from mostly whipped cream and graham crackers!
Other Favorite Summer Desserts
- Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Ice Cream Cake & Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pie
- No-Bake Cheesecake
- Cherry Pie & Blueberry Pie
- Berry Cobbler
- Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie
This is easy berry icebox cake, a no-bake dessert recipe that’s perfect for summer and feeds a crowd. Assembly takes about 15 minutes, and most of the work is hands-off as the cake sets in the refrigerator. This cake is always so much fun to serve because no one ever believes it’s made from mostly whipped cream and graham crackers!
- 3 cups (720ml) cold heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
- 1/3 cup (40g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 20–21 full-sheet graham crackers
- 2 cups (380g) sliced fresh strawberries
- 1 cup (140g) fresh blueberries
- optional for garnish: additional berries and star sprinkles
- Preliminary notes: There are 3 layers of graham crackers, 3 layers of whipped cream, and 2 layers of berries (plus any you use for topping). Each layer of graham crackers is about 7 graham crackers (you can break some up to fit). This recipe yields 6 cups of whipped cream and you will use 2 cups per layer.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and almond extract together on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 4 minutes.
- Spread a couple Tablespoons into a very, very thin layer on the bottom of an ungreased 9×13-inch pan. This will help the bottom layer of graham crackers stick. Layer graham crackers on top, breaking them apart as needed to make 1 even layer.
- Spread about 2 cups of whipped cream on top of the graham crackers. Then layer the sliced strawberries on top. Follow with another layer of graham crackers, 2 more cups of whipped cream, then the blueberries. Top with a final layer of graham crackers, followed by a final layer of whipped cream.
- Cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, and up to 48 hours.
- Garnish with additional berries and/or star sprinkles. Cut into slices and serve cold. A small narrow serving spatula is especially helpful for getting the slices out of the pan.
- Make Ahead Instructions: You can make this icebox cake the day before you need it because it can set overnight in the refrigerator. The graham crackers and fruit become a little too mushy by day 3 or 4, so keep that in mind with any leftovers.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | 9×13-inch Pan | Offset Spatula | Star Sprinkles | Small Narrow Spatula
- Vanilla: I love using vanilla bean paste in the whipped cream because it combines both extract AND vanilla bean seeds. You can, of course, use pure vanilla extract instead. If you want that extra vanilla bean flavor, feel free to add the seeds scraped from 1/2 of a vanilla bean. (This is in addition to the liquid vanilla extract.)
- Graham Crackers: Don’t have graham crackers where you live? You can substitute digestive biscuits or Biscoff cookies, if you have either of those options. Use however many will fit for each layer.
- Can I Use Frozen Berries? No. They will release too much liquid as the cake sets up. Even after thawing, they are a little too wet. Fresh berries are ideal.
Keywords: berry icebox cake