When the summer sun is blazing, who wants to turn on the oven? This time of year calls for desserts that are as light and breezy as a tropical breeze. That’s why I’m so excited to share my easy method for a luscious no bake lemon icebox cake. With its layers of airy whipped cream and rich lemon pudding between lightly sweet slices of store-bought pound cake, each bite delights the senses with a bright pop of citrus.
This impressive cake comes together in mere minutes with just a few simple ingredients and barely any time spent in the kitchen. While the old-fashioned name “icebox cake” might conjure up images of 1950s housewives, the preparation is utterly modern. No tedious creaming of butter or carefully folding in flour. Just whip, spread, layer, and chill this beauty for a taste of summer in every swirl.
The star ingredient is instant lemon pudding mix, which lends its smooth and creamy texture along with its lip-puckering tartness. A cloud-like pillow of whipped cream adds plenty of airy sweetness while vanilla Greek yogurt provides a tangy, velvety richness. With a stripy yellow-and-white layer cake Sliceg, you’ll impress guests with your baking skills even though this cake couldn’t be easier.
No need to heat up the house when the weather is already blazing. With this quick and delicious no bake lemon icebox cake, you can have your cake and beat the heat too. So read on for my simple step-by-step method for making refreshing magic happen with just a mixer, a pan, and 10 minutes of hands-on time. Let’s get started!
Why is it called an icebox cake?
Icebox cakes get their name because they were traditionally assembled and then chilled in the icebox (the early term for a refrigerator) to set. The cold temperature allows the ingredients to firm up into sliceable cake layers.
What kind of pudding is used?
Instant lemon pudding mix gives this icebox cake its tangy lemon flavor. I prefer using the kind that comes in a small box rather than the canned variety.
Can it be made ahead of time?
Definitely! One of the best things about icebox cakes is that they can be assembled up to 2 days before serving. Just keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
How long does it take to make?
From start to finish, this cake takes less than 30 minutes of active prep time. Most of that is just chilling time in the fridge.
What can I top it with?
Shaved lemon zest makes a beautiful garnish. Or get decadent with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream or lemon curd.
What can I serve with it?
I love a slice of this cool, creamy cake alongside fresh summer berries or a cup of hot tea. It’s the perfect light dessert after a heavy meal too.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: None (no bake)
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
- 1 (3.4 ounce) box instant lemon pudding mix
- 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1 (7 ounce) container vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1 store bought pound cake, sliced
- In a large glass or stainless steel mixing bowl, use a handheld electric mixer on medium-high speed to whip the 1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream together with the 3.4 ounce box of dry instant lemon pudding mix for 2-3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Let the lemon cream mixture rest in the bowl for 5 full minutes so it can thicken even further.
- In a separate clean large bowl, use the hand mixer on high speed to beat the 8-ounce frozen container of thawed whipped topping for 3-4 minutes until fluffy, stiff peaks form. To test, lift the beaters – the cream should stand up in a sharp point without curling over. Take care not to overbeat. Gently fold the 7-ounce container of smooth and creamy vanilla Greek yogurt into the whipped topping using a flexible rubber spatula. Fold gently just until combined and no streaks remain, taking care not to deflate the volume.
- Trim the outer hardened crust from the store-bought pound cake and slice it into 1/2 inch thick uniform slices. You’ll need about 12 full slices to cover the bottom of an 8×8 inch glass or ceramic baking pan in a single, tight layer without gaps. Trim or shape the cake slices as needed to fit neatly into the pan. Arrange the slices in an even, flat layer.
- Use the spatula to spread half of the thick, lemon-flavored cream mixture evenly over the top of the cake layer. Spread it all the way to the edges of the pan. Smooth the top evenly.
- Top the lemon cream layer with half of the billowy whipped topping mixture, spreading it in an delicate, even layer to fully cover the lemon cream and touch the edges of the pan.
- Place another tidy, even layer of pound cake slices on top, trimming and fitting the slices neatly together.
- Spread the remaining lemon cream evenly over the new cake layer, going all the way to the edges.
- Spread the last of the fluffy whipped topping over the lemon cream in an even layer.
- Finish it off with a third and final layer of trimmed cake slices, arranging them neatly and pressing down very gently on the top to compact the layers together.
- Cover the assembled cake pan tightly with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to meld and the layers to chill completely before slicing and serving.
- When ready to serve, carefully slice the cake into squares using a sharp, thin-bladed knife. Garnish each piece with a light dusting of lemon zest if desired. Enjoy!
- For more lemon flavor, add 1 teaspoon lemon extract to the whipped cream.
- Make it colorful with layers of different flavored gelatin puddings like orange, raspberry or lime.
- Substitute graham crackers or vanilla wafers for the pound cake.
- For a lower calorie option, use reduced fat pudding and lite whipped topping.