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A fluffy, fruity no-bake dessert worthy of guests as well as your morning coffee, Apple Blueberry Ice Box Cake is a little spoonful of heaven.
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Apple Blueberry Ice Box Cake
Ice box cakes refer to a cake dessert which requires no oven time. They became wildly popular in the 1930’s and 1940’s with recipes for variations on classic cakes like Strawberry Cream and Chocolate Layer Cakes. Assembled in springform pans, baking dishes, or regular old cake pans, these ‘cakes’ were then either refrigerated or frozen until ready to serve. The recipe I am sharing today has been modified considerably. It is loosely taken from a 1933 Junior League Anniversary cookbook put out by the Junior League of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
I am always up for a good crumble cake. That said, sometimes I really hesitate to start a recipe where I’ve got to turn my oven on. The recipe being shared today is no-bake and genuinely saved me a couple of Thanksgivings ago.
I needed to use up some chopped apples leftover from a pie I’d made earlier. I pretty much threw this apple cake together, intending to treat it more like a coffee cake for myself for after the turkey day rush. Little could I know how many extra people we would have drop in that afternoon.
I remember reviewing the cake recipe in my head as I scrambled out to our garage refrigerator to retrieve the cake. I hadn’t even really made an effort to make it look pretty. It clearly wasn’t of concern to anybody else, as that cake was GONE – as in crumbs and all – in less than an hour.
Do You Have What’s Needed To Make Apple Blueberry Cake? Check The List!
vanilla wafer cookies
blueberries, fresh or frozen
one large or two small snacking apple(s) such as Gala or Honeycrisp
canned crushed pineapple
heavy whipping cream
How This Recipe Came About…
I am a sucker for an old cookbook. Church and volunteer organization’s always seem to publish the BEST OF THE BEST. I feel like somebody’s Aunt Ruth or Grandma Gladys had those ‘close to the vest’ secretive recipes that were only unleashed for the ‘do-gooding special circumstances’ that publishing a local cookbook would rouse.
The recipe for this fancy dancy little apple and blueberry cake was inspired from a 1933 publication by the Junior League of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The original recipe also calls for boysenberries, too. This perplexes me, as boysenberries do not grow well – like, at all – in Pennsylvania. At least to my knowledge that is.
I have modified this a wee bit by omitting lard and swapping it out for unsalted butter. I also went with vanilla wafer cookies for the crust versus the crushed saltines specified. You’ll notice when you go in to cut this cake, that getting it out may require a spoon versus a cake knife. That’s normal and just reach for the biggie spoons to eat it with…
How To Make Apple Blueberry Ice Box Cake?
So, quite literally, this entire cake is assembled in a square pan. It’s honestly more of a “fluff” that a cake. I use a 9 x 9-inch pan, but an 8 x 8-inch will work, too.
Whatever you assemble it in, make sure it’s pretty if you plan to serve this ice box cake to company, as this blueberry apple cake will be served directly from it.
No need to grease your pan, we’re going bare bones here. I like these kinds of dessert recipes for both summer when it’s hot and I don’t want to mess with the oven, but also in fall and winter for the reason I gave above. Having this fifteen minute throw together SAVED ME. That I know, there are no cake recipes that require this little time other than ice box cakes.
You will surprised to find that aside from Confectioner’s sugar, there is no granulated or brown sugar required. None of the usual suspects like sour cream, vanilla extract, cinnamon, or even baking powder either.
You’ll begin by crushing your vanilla wafer cookies. Smash ’em up pretty good in a plastic bag with a rolling pin or flat side of a meat mallet. They get mixed with melted butter and pressed into your pretty pan to form a base. I hold about 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup out to use for the top.
Next, a bit more butter is whipped with powdered sugar until it’s smooth. Use the back of a spoon to spread it as evenly as you can get it over that cookie base you just pressed into place.
The fruits are mixed together and then they too, are spread atop the layers. Lastly, a whipped cream is prepared by whipping and then sweetening it with a tad of powdered sugar. It’s then used to cap off all of the previous layers, then that 1/3 to 1/2 cup of reserved vanilla wafer crumbs sprinkled atop the whole thing.
Now – the hard part – it has to refrigerate for 8 hours…
Modifying The Norm To Make It Not Entirely Average…
To mix things up in this recipe and get things going not entirely average, I could see mandarin segments standing in for the crushed pineapple very easily. And any type of apple goes. Granny Smith apples, Winesaps…any apple. I also REALLY do like the blueberries in this, but strawberries in season could serve the overall flavor of the cake well.
And if you wanted to get really clever, any type of crushed cookies would do. I frequently use almond biscotti for tart and pie crusts. Recently, I purchased a gluten free shortbread cookie to avoid flour in a crust for a tart that I made for my friend Marc for his birthday. A tablespoonful of consumer-grade lavender flowers or rose petals would off-set the fruit beautifully, too.
So yeah, these ingredients are customizable for sure. I love food with flexibility, don’t you?
How Long Does This Apple Blueberry Cake Recipe Take To Make?
This takes me ten minutes to chop my apple and gather and measure out all of my ingredients. Past that, another twenty to assemble the cake and beat the heavy cream for the last layer. So, set aside a half an hour for the preparation. But remember, you’ll need another eight hours to allow the cake time to meld.
What To Serve With This Sweet Apple Blueberry Dessert?
Nothing. Well, if you’re not a “nothing” kinda home cook, I’d say it’s probably great with a scoop of ice cream. Or chopped mint or additional berries. But I personally like it plain.
What To Drink With An Apple Blueberry Cake?
By all accounts, this is an ice box dessert cake for enjoying after all of those awesome dinner recipes you’re cranking out from posts here on Not Entirely Average. HA! But seriously, I look at this like an apple and blueberry crumble cake or an apple blueberry coffee cake recipe.
For me, this means this cake is best enjoyed with a hot cup of coffee or tea in your nook. You know, the favorite corner in your house with the chair you like to read in? That nook. And you. And a scoop of this cake and some coffee. Yup.
How To Store Apple Blueberry Ice Box Cake?
Any leftovers should be refrigerated. At this point, and after it’s been dug into, I also take care to cover it with plastic film. Refrigerated, the ice box cake will keep for three days.
Can Apple Blueberry Ice Box Cake Be Frozen?
Yes. This cake in its entirety may be frozen. Place a tight-fitting lid over the cake pan or casserole and freeze for up to three months. To thaw, place in refrigerator overnight. DO NOT REFREEZE once the cake has been thawed.
Apple Blueberry Ice Box Cake
- hand held electric mixer
- 9 x 9-inch baking pan or 8 x 8-inch baking pan
- small saucepan for melting butter
- 1 ½ cups vanilla wafer cookies crushed fine
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter divided; 1 stick softened to room temperature, 1/2 stick melted and slightly cooled
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon Confectioner's sugar
- 1 cup blueberries fresh or frozen; drained once thawed from frozen
- 1 large or 2 small snacking apples washed, skin on, chopped; such as Honeycrisp or Gala
- 1 (8) ounce can crushed pineapple well drained
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- Mix the crushed vanilla wafer crumbs with the slightly cooled melted butter. Reserve 1/3 to 1/2 cup and set aside. Press the remaining buttered crumb mixture into an 8 x 8-inch brownie pan or baking dish.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, use an electric handheld beater to beat the softened butter until it's very light and fluffy. Add 1 cup of the Confectioner's sugar and beat on low speed until smooth. Use the back of a spoon to gently spread the mixture over top of the base layer.
- In another mixing bowl, combine all of the fruits. Stir to mix well, then carefully spoon evenly over the existing layers.
- In another mixing bowl, using clean dry beaters, whip the heavy cream and the single tablespoon of Confectioner's sugar until stiff. Spoon and spread over fruit mixture. Sprinkle with the reserved buttered vanilla wafer crumbs.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. To serve, use a large spoon or spatula to lift and scoop the cake onto plates. The layers are rarely neat and tidy, so offer spoons to eaters. Refrigerate any leftovers.
The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.
Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.
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