Luscious Chocolate Icebox Cake

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Dreamy, chilled desserts full of cream, marshmallow, or mousse were very popular with housewives of the forties and fifties when the potential of the home refrigerator was still being explored. From bombes and baked Alaskas, to mousses, meringues, marlows and mallobets– refrigerator cookbooks celebrated them all. Steering around more-dubious creations like the Fig Banana Brick (!) we revisit the Luscious Chocolate Icebox Cake and the Strawberries & Cream Fridge Cake–both of which layer creamy fillings over ladyfinger cookies that soften as the dessert sets. Interestingly, this recipe appears in both the 1941 CAI Refrigerator Desserts book, and, a 1958 Baker’s Favorite Chocolate Recipes handbook from General Mills.

Makes 10 to 15 servings. (Note: This recipe has been doubled, to make enough to fill a large mold)

Ingredients

  • 6 squares Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 Tbsp cold water
  • 3 tsp granulated gelatin
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 8 pasteurized egg whites, stiffly beaten
  • 1 cup cream, whipped
  • 4 dozen lady fingers

Instructions

  1. Whip 8 egg whites until they hold a peak. Set aside, keeping cool. Whip cream. Set aside, keeping cool.
  2. Melt chocolate in top of double boiler. Add sugar, salt and hot water, stirring until sugar is dissolved and mixture blended. Add cold water to gelatin and mix. Add to hot chocolate mixture and stir until gelatin is dissolved; then cook until mixture is smooth and thickened.
  3. Remove from boiling water. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Once all are incorporated, place over boiling water and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add vanilla; cool.
  4. Fold cooled chocolate mixture into egg whites. Chill for about 20 minutes. Fold in whipped cream.
  5. Line bottom and sides of mold with waxed paper, making sure waxed paper pieces are large enough to have excess hanging over the edges of the mold. Put a little of the chocolate mousse in the bottom of the mold. Stand ladyfingers around the inside of the complete circumference of the mold. Then, line bottom of mold with several rows of lady fingers laid flat, cutting some to fit the circular shape of the bottom of the mold. Fill mold halfway with mousse. Arrange another layer of ladyfingers over this, cutting them to fit. Fill the rest of the mold with the remainder of the mousse. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 12 to 24 hours. Mousse will firm up nicely and lady fingers will soften, but hold their shape.
  6. Unmold by inverting onto a cake plate and removing waxed paper.

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