Boston Cream Pie Icebox Cake
Weather: 53 degrees, sunny
What I’m listening to: Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax – Original Songs from the Motion Picture
You might already be aware that a Boston Cream Pie is not a pie, but a cake (a very, very famous and delicious one at that). And, funnily enough, this icebox cake is neither a cake nor a pie although the name of the recipe includes both. An icebox cake is traditionally a refrigerated, no-bake dessert made up of some variety of cookies/wafers/crackers layered with whipped cream or pudding. During refrigeration, the cookies soak up the moisture from the filling, making a lovely presentation when sliced. It appears to be a very fancy and complicated dessert… ah, looks can be deceiving!
This version of icebox cake is a classic vanilla custard layered between graham crackers and topped with a beautiful chocolate glaze – a simpler nod to Boston Cream Pie. Long ago, one of my best friends (who happens to live in Boston now) taught me to dip graham crackers in milk as an after school snack. This dish reminds me of that with a little chocolate thrown in.
This is a terrific make-ahead dessert, since it requires a minimum of 4 hours of refrigeration. It also travels nicely and can be made in larger batches.
I was very impressed with this chocolate glaze – perfectly soft yet firm enough to hold the entire thing together. I may use it again for other recipes in the future. I am also looking forward to some other icebox cake combos – the options are endless.
Boston Cream Pie Icebox Cake
- 36 graham cracker halves/squares
- 1 recipe vanilla pudding*
For the Chocolate Glaze:
- 1/4c butter
- 1/4c cocoa powder
- 1/4c milk
- 2c powdered sugar
- 1t vanilla extract
- Place the first 9 graham cracker squares in the bottom of an 8x8 square pan.
- Prepare vanilla pudding as directed. Spread one-third of the pudding evenly over the graham crackers. Top with a layer of graham crackers, and spread half of the remaining pudding over that layer. Add a third layer of graham crackers and top with the remaining pudding. Cover the top of the pudding with a final layer of graham crackers. Set aside.
- To make the frosting, melt the butter with the cocoa powder in a small saucepan. Bring to a light simmer over medium-low heat and let it bubble for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook for 3 more minutes, letting the mixture bubble up around the edges. Remove from the heat and beat in the confectioners' sugar with a whisk or hand beater. When the mixture is smooth, beat in the vanilla. While the frosting is still quite hot and liquid, pour it over the top layer of graham crackers and smooth quickly (before it begins to set) with an off-set spatula.
- Refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours before slicing.
*This is my favorite vanilla pudding recipe. I make it all the time and I love the method, the ease, and the consistency. Be sure and follow the directions exactly (they're a little unorthodox, but it works). However, I do note that the original custard recipe provided by The Kitchn may firm up better in the refrigerator because of the higher fat content, thus the graham crackers may absorb less liquid and maintain more shape/texture. Feel free to try either custard option or your favorite vanilla pudding.