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
Becky Charms
Confessions of a Foodie
Deleting the Adjectives
Family Spice
Frugal Nutrition
Golden State Mom
Jinxi Eats
Kirbie’s Cravings
Making It Sweet
Recipe Renovator
Sweet Sueshine
The H Blog
The Seaside Baker
Three Dog Kitchen

Event Partners:
Alex’s Lemonade Stand
Adams Avenue Business Association
Blind Lady Ale House
FM 94.9, broadcasting live all day
Melissa’s Produce

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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.

Pretty Meyer Lemons

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.

Prepping the lemon curd

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.

Cooking the lemon curd

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.

Straining the lemon curd

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.

Prep Station for the Lemon Ginger Ice Box Cake

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.

Cookie base

First layer. Easy.

Layer of whipped cream

Second part – the whipped “why do I look like butter” cream.

Layer of lemon curd

Third part – lusciously delicious “stop licking the spoon” lemon curd.

Second layer of the Lemon Ginger Ice Box Cake

And then another layer of cookies. Rinse and repeat!

Lemon Ginger Ice Box Cake

Yeah… so…

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!

Lemon Ginger Ice Box Cake - Layers

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.

Almond Vanilla Ice Box Cake

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.

Almond Vanilla Ice Box Cake layers

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.

Lemon Ginger Ice Box Cake
Lemon Curd
  1. 3 meyer lemons (zested and juiced)
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into pieces
  4. 5 large egg yolks
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
Lemon Whipped Cream
  1. 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  2. half pint of heavy whipping cream
  3. 2-3 tablespoons sugar
  4. Anna's Ginger Cookies
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
This Tasty Life http://food.theplainjane.com/

8 thoughts on “lemon ginger ice box cake for alex’s lemonade stand & melissa’s produce challenge

  1. I love icebox cakes, but I’ve never made one other than the chocolate cookie wafer kind. You’re sounds much more summer-appropriate! Your lemon curd recipe also looks super easy – maybe I should make a batch with the lemons I still have. Mmm…

    1. Hi Leanne – Ice box cakes might be my new favorite thing… it’s so easy to put together and it tastes so good! I love how the cookies kind of transform into something else. The lemon curd was a lot easier to make then I thought it would be! I didn’t chop my zest fine enough though on my first attempt and I accidentally strained all the zest out (oops).

  2. Oh thanks for those lemon pics! Meyer lemons are honestly so beautiful. I was laughing so hard from ‘so the eggs don’t freak out and scramble on you.’ Those eggs sound like me on a stressful day. I have never made lemon curd and your recipe rocks. I think it’s the curdling part that I’d be worried about. I’ve over whipped heavy cream before too. It’s like the saddest thing ever. I always thought adding acid to heavy cream makes it curdle? I want to run to the market right now, buy some tart lemons, and make that whipped cream sooooo bad right now.

    I’ve never heard of an ice box cake before. I would use this recipe to make an ice cream sandwich (but use the lemon curd & lemon whip as the ice cream!).

    1. Hi Faye – Meyer lemons are so beautiful – I love them! Yes, definitely do not stress out the poor eggies while they turn into wonderful curd, haha. If you keep the heat on very low and just keep stirring I don’t think it’ll be a problem. I didn’t even see the mixture bubble so the low heat really helps to slowly temper the eggs.

      I still think I just overwhipped my cream, acid to milk will definitely make it curdle though if you want instant buttermilk. You could also just do the lemon zest, it’s a very light lemon flavor on the cream. When you put this into the freezer is almost tastes like a really decadent ice cream sandwich!

  3. Haha I actually liked the look of the “almost-butter-whipped-cream”! XD Maybe that’s because I’ve over-whipped cream so many times that I tell myself it’s perfectly beautiful 😛 Love your lemon curd recipe! Lemon curd is the best 😀

    1. Hahah, thanks, Jinxi! For that second batch I just threw the cream into our Vitamix and mixed until it just came together. It seems to be easier to overwhip the cream using a hand mixer. Lemon curd is SO good – I didn’t know how easy it was to make until I tried! 🙂

  4. Meyer lemons are the bestttt. I think your icebox cake would taste delicious! Normally I put them in a loaf pan and then just layer everything in there but then when you unmold it can fall apart so they can turn out pretty ugly that way too. Its just meant to be.

    Have you heard of these Italian cookies that are little bumpy brown things made out of almonds and are called “brutti ma buoni”? It means ugly but good. That’s how I classify a lot of my uglier culinary creations…. 😉

    1. Hi J.S. – Ohhh, a loaf pan is a good idea. I saw people who used springform pans, too, so it was easier to remove from the pan. Or I bet if you lined the loaf pan with plastic wrap it would come out easier and all together. But as long as it tastes good, looks can be secondary. I have not heard of those Italian cookies but that is AWESOME! I totally want to try them now. 🙂

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