Lately I have been learning to not engage in things that don’t bring me any joy and I have also been learning the power of saying “no”. If I don’t have time to do something or quite frankly, if I don’t feel like doing something, I just say no. It’s funny because I used to feel bad saying no. I always felt like I was letting the other person down, completely disregarding the strain that it put on myself. I started feeling overworked and unfulfilled because I was making obligations that I truly didn’t want to commit to. I recently canceled a photoshoot because I didn’t feel like it was worth my time anymore. And that’s not to say that I think my time is more valuable than other peoples, it’s just to say that, my time is what I make it and I no longer care to do things that leave me feeling unsatisfied.
Now of course there are things that we do that make us uncomfortable from time to time, in good ways and bad ways. I like getting out of my comfort zone and trying things that I usually wouldn’t try. I like to challenge myself to try new recipes, cooking methods, or even use an ingredient I had been intimidated by. I like using my camera in new ways or shooting in a completely different setting than I usually do. These are not the things I’m talking about. I’m talking about those times when a family member asks to bake desserts for 30-40 people and you say yes because you felt obligated to. It can be hard saying no at first but once you start, you’ll realize that you now have more time to do the things that actually make you happy and you’ll feel more satisfied from day to day.
I’ve made a promise to myself that I will be putting in a lot more time on the blog. I want A Common Kitchen to grow and for a long time I just thought that it would miraculously start growing and blow up and I would have a successful food blog. I realized that there is a lot more that goes into this process and I realized that I wasn’t doing very much to change the situation. I set a few goals for myself and the blog and I’m working everyday to make my dreams for A Common Kitchen a reality.
Now on to this weeks recipe. Strawberry Ice Box Cake that is a No-Churn AND No-Bake recipe, perfect for summertime! I thought up this idea because I used to love Baskin Robbins ice cream cakes as a child and I wanted to recreate something similar. I knew, however, that I didn’t want to spend time making a custard based ice cream and have to churn it. I also knew that I 100% did not want to have to turn my oven on in the middle of summer! So, I came up with this super easy no-churn and no-bake Strawberry Ice Box Cake!
If you have never made no-churn ice cream then you really need it! It only requires five (or less) ingredients and you don’t need to invest in an expensive ice cream maker to make it! Don’t get me wrong, I love my KitchenAid ice cream attachment but it’s a lot of work to make a custard based ice cream. With this no churn recipe you just whip together some heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, salt, vanilla, and any flavoring of your choice (optional)! In this recipe, I split the no-churn ice cream base in half and keep one half vanilla and add strawberry purée to the other half. I love this no-churn ice cream recipe and I can’t wait to try new flavors!
To keep this recipe as easy as possible, I use store-bought (gasp!) Graham Crackers. As mentioned above, my apartment gets extremely hot as it as in the summer and if I have to turn on my oven, it only intensifies it! So, in the summer I try to keep my oven-necessary recipes to a minimum! Now… I wouldn’t be a true food blogger if I only posted a recipe that used store-bought graham crackers so if you want to make a homemade version (which I highly suggest doing at some point!) you can refer to my recipe for Mini S’mores Cookies. That recipe— which is still one of my fav cookie recipes— includes a recipe for homemade graham crackers. You can choose whatever shape you’d like to make them but I would suggest going with the classic rectangle shape. Again, for the hot summer months I am going to stick with store bought but if you want to homemake them, two thumbs up for ya!
The result of all of this is a super delicious, simple, and fun summer dessert! The no-churn ice cream is silky smooth and perfectly sweet. The combination of strawberry and vanilla ice cream is a classic pairing and I love having the two flavors in the cake. The graham crackers, as they sit overnight in the freezer, absorb some of the moisture from the ice cream and become slightly soft like an ice cream sandwich. All of the layers meld together to create the most delicious ice cream cake you'll ever have! And one of my favorite things about this ice box cake is the decoration. I kept things simple by ‘swooshing’ on the strawberry whipped cream to give it a rustic look and piping on some little ‘blobs’ of the whipped cream on top. I then topped the cake with some crushed freeze dried strawberries because I love the pop of color that they add. However, you can decorate the Strawberry Ice Box Cake however you would like, and I encourage you to be as creative as possible!
This Strawberry Ice Box Cake comes together so quickly and tastes absolutely amazing, truly! Jake and I both ate a couple slices and then we decided that I needed to bring the rest into work so we wouldn’t eat it all! And when I brought it into work, everyone loved it! It is such a fun summer-y dessert and perfect for a crowd! This cake could even be made in a 9x13 inch pan and served sheet cake style (although you would want to double the recipe!) for a small event. You’ll be so surprised just how easy this recipe comes together and you will be equally surprised just how much everyone enjoys it!
I hope you all enjoyed this weeks recipe for my Strawberry Ice Box Cake (No-Churn and No-Bake) as much as I did! I am so excited to finally be sharing it with you after giving you all a sneak peak on my Instagram Stories a couple weeks back. If you want to see some fun behind the scenes of my food photoshoots or to keep update on weekly recipe posts, go follow me on instagram @acommonkitchen! And please share your thoughts, feedback, and photos with me. I would love to hear from you! Happy baking everyone!
Strawberry Ice Box Cake (No-Churn and No-Bake)
For the Ice Box Cake
3 Cups Heavy Cream, divided
1 (14 Ounce) Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Box of Graham Crackers
1 Cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
1 Carton of Strawberries, washed, dried, and cut into quarters
Freeze Dried Strawberries, crushed slightly
Line a standard loaf pan with plastic wrap, ensuring that every surface is covered. Place in the freezer while preparing the other ingredients.
In the bowl of mini food processor, add the strawberries and pulse until the strawberries are about the consistency of jam. Set aside.
In a large bowl (you can also use a stand mixer) add 2 cups of the heavy cream and whip on medium-high speed to soft peaks. Add in ½ of the can of the sweetened condensed milk, salt, and vanilla extract and mix on medium-high peed until it is whipped into medium-stiff peaks. Divide the mixture evenly between two large bowls. To one of the bowls, add in ½ cup of the strawberry puree and gently fold it in with a rubber spatula until combined but do NOT over mix— this is your strawberry ice cream base and the other bowl (without any strawberry) will be the vanilla ice cream base.
Take your loaf pan out of the freezer. Spoon in enough of the strawberry ice cream base so it is about ¼-½ inch thick. Then, spoon in a layer of the vanilla ice cream base that is the same thickness as the strawberry layer. Place a flat layer of graham crackers on top of the vanilla ice cream. Repeat these same three layers until you’ve reached the top of the pan, ensuring that you end with a layer of ice cream. Cover the top tightly with plastic wrap.
Place in the freezer and freeze for at least 4 hours but preferably over night.
Once the Ice Box Cake has had time to freeze, remove the plastic wrap from the top and gently flip the loaf pan upside down onto a serving plate. Remove the loaf pan from the cake and remove the rest of the plastic wrap. Place the ice box cake back in the freezer while you prepare the whipped cream.
In a bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup heavy cream, powdered sugar, and ¼ of the leftover strawberry purée and whip to medium-stiff peaks. Transfer about ¼ of the strawberry whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a open star tip. Set aside.
Remove the ice box cake from the freezer and use a spoon or offset spatula to cover the entire cake with the whipped cream— you don’t have to use all of the whipped cream here, just use as much as you’d like.
Use the piping bag filled with strawberry whipped cream to pipe little “blobs” of whipped cream all over the top in random spots. Top with some crushed freeze dried strawberries and put back in the freezer until the whipped cream is fairly stiff— about 30 minutes-1 hour.
Once chilled, remove the ice box cake from the freezer and use a knife (run under hot water and dried off with a towel) to slice perfectly even slices of the Strawberry Ice Box Cake. Enjoy!