lemon ginger ice box cake for alex’s lemonade stand & melissa’s produce challenge
Disclaimer: I was provided with complimentary produce to create my recipe below. I received no further compensation for this post.
This week I’m partnering with Melissa’s Produce and my awesome blogger friends to support this wonderful cause, Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
If you’re in San Diego, you can come out and support it this weekend on Saturday July 26, 2014 from 10:00am-6:00 pm
at 3366 Adams Avenue, 92116 in the Masonic Parking Lot. FM 94.9 will have a Live Broadcast from 10:00am-6:00pm and there will be live bands, lemonade, a silent auction, kids’ activities, and more!
This lemonade stand is the biggest fundraiser in California and one of the top ten Alex’s Lemonade Stands in the country. Since its inception, Alex’s Lemonade Stand has raised over $80 million for childhood cancer, and has funded more than 450 research projects at 94 institutions. They also help families struggling with childhood cancer through a Travel Fund and an annual Educational Symposium.
If you can’t attend, click here to donate. Your donation of $50 will fund one hour of research. Let’s help the Miller Tribe reach their goal of $15,000 this year, getting them to $100,000 for the nine years they’ve been running.
I’m helping out by participating in the San Diego Food Bloggers Lemonade Online Challenge, sponsored by Melissa’s Produce. More than a dozen San Diego Food Bloggers will be cooking with lemons in support of Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Check out their lemony recipes online between July 2128, and make a donation to the Stand through links on their blogs. All their recipes will be linked to this post too!
A Purpose Driven Wife
Confessions of a Foodie
Deleting the Adjectives
Golden State Mom
Making It Sweet
The H Blog
The Seaside Baker
Three Dog Kitchen
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Lemon Ginger Ice Box Cake
I wanted to make something easy. Since it’s summer time, I really wanted something I didn’t have to bake and I’d already been playing around with the idea of trying to make an ice box cake. An ice box cake isn’t even a cake, really. It’s layers of cookies with whipped cream, stuck into the fridge (the ice box!) to let it chill and harden and you slice it like a cake. I had never made one before. This was my first try.
To kind of spruce it up a bit, I decided to layer my ice box cake with lemon curd and lemon whipped cream. Our lemon tree isn’t quite ready to bear it’s fruit yet so I loved getting these lovely, bright Meyer Lemons to work with. You can see the difference in color between the Meyer lemons and the other ones off to the right. The Meyer lemons are also a tad sweeter, making them perfect for desserts.
The mixture for the lemon curd is simple: egg yolks, lemon rind, lemon juice, sugar, salt and butter. It got mixed together and I kind of just left the butter in big chunks like that.
It all gets dumped into a pot and put over low heat for 13-15 minutes. The idea is to cook and thicken the mixture. You do it over low heat so the eggs don’t freak out and scramble on you and you DO NOT leave the stove during this window. You keep stirring (just keep stirring, stirring, stirring) until the mixture gets thick and coats the back of a spoon.
Then you strain it, to catch any possible little eggy bits that might have gotten away from you. Course, all I caught in my strainer was all of my lemon zest since I didn’t chop it up fine enough. Oops.
Then I made whipped cream… and I overbeat it so the whipped cream looks kind of ugly and like a few minutes away from being butter. Sheesh.
No matter! Plunging ahead! Here’s my set up station. For the “ginger” I used Anna’s Ginger Thins – a very thin, crispy cookie. I got these at Big Lots for $2.50, but they are also available at other grocery stores.
First layer. Easy.
Second part – the whipped “why do I look like butter” cream.
Third part – lusciously delicious “stop licking the spoon” lemon curd.
And then another layer of cookies. Rinse and repeat!
This isn’t pretty. I had no idea how the layers would go together and I just kind of winged it and I hate how clumpy my whipped cream looks. UGH. But no matter… looks are not everything, my friend.
Once you get all of the layering done, you put this into your “ice box”.
Since I was planning on this to be dessert on the same evening that I made it, I stuck this in the freezer for about two hours before serving. It got hard and was almost like an ice cream cake!
You cut it up into wedges just like a cake – see all of the pretty layers? The whipped cream tasted almost like a creamy ice cream with the layers of lemon curd. The cookies get soft but in a good cake-like soft way. It’s light and delicious and it doesn’t matter that it was ugly because it tasted so darn good.
I was really embarrassed by my ugly whipped cream though and decided to make one more to try for something prettier. This is a simpler one using Anna’s Almond Thins instead of ginger, with layers of vanilla whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings on top.
This one I put into the fridge instead of the freezer since I don’t plan on eating it right away. I’m happy that I was able to control the layering and styling better on my second attempt.
The ice box cake thing is such an easy recipe and it’s very easy to adapt for a variety of flavor combinations. The best part really is that it can be a no-bake dessert if you hook yourself up with some store bought cookies.
- 3 meyer lemons (zested and juiced)
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into pieces
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- half pint of heavy whipping cream
- 2-3 tablespoons sugar
- Anna's Ginger Cookies
- Start by preparing the lemon curd! Zest the lemons using a microplane and then finely chop the lemons a little further. You can also pulse the zest and sugar together in a blender or food processor.
- Add lemon juice (you should have about a 1/2 cup of lemon juice) and egg yolks to the sugar/zest mixture and blend. Add salt and butter. The butter does not have to be melted, it'll get melted in the next step! It'll look like a weird gloopy mess at this point, but that's okay.
- Place mixture in a medium sized pot over low heat. You want to spend some quality time with it at this point so don't leave your stove! Just keep stirring (stirring, stirring) for 13-15 minutes. The mixture will start to thicken up. You'll know it's read when you do the "spoon test": when you coat the back of a spoon and run a line through it, the line will stay and the rest of the spoon will still be coated. It's now thick enough!
- Using a bowl with a strainer over it, pour the lemon curd through the strainer to catch any "bits" (curdled egg, etc). Set lemon curd aside.
- Make your whipped cream! Dump the heavy whipping cream into a cold bowl and whisk. Add sugar, lemon zest and a 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Whip until soft peaks form. Don't be like me and over whip your cream!
- You are now ready to assemble! Grab a flat plate (or whatever you want to serve this one, something that will fit into your fridge). Add a layer of Ginger cookies to the bottom then add a layer of whipped cream, spreading it out to the edges. Spoon lemon curd on top, enough to cover the whole layer. Repeat. End with a layer of whipped cream on top. If you're in a hurry, stick this in the freezer or 1-2 hours. Otherwise, let this set overnight in the fridge.