What could be more refreshing in the hot, hot summer than a cool ice box cake. Refreshing to eat certainly, but refreshing to make because the oven stays off. Here I use the best sweet summer peaches for a version of classic peaches and cream punched up with ginger’s zing. It’s a combination I love, all tempered with rich cream. The prep is simple and the presentation is spectacular which is what I always want in a dessert, particularly in the summer. I was never an ice box cake aficionado until I experimented with this fabulous Lemon Speculoos version, but now I am all in, so expect more versions in years to come.
Grate the ginger right over the bowl with a fine microplane grater so any juice is in the bowl. Infusing the cream with the fresh ginger really pumps up the flavor, so don’t skip this step. I use Swedish ginger thin cookies for this, which are similar to the Famous Wafers used in the classic chocolate version. Anna’s, Lars and Dewey’s brands make good ones and I find them at better grocery stores. They have pretty, scalloped edges. Bourbon adds a lovely earthy note that I love, but you can replace it with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or leave it out all together. I don’t peel the peaches because I find they hold together better that way (and it’s easier). I love to puree an extra peach (skin and all) with a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent browning as a pretty little drizzle to amp up the peachiness, and some punchy candied ginger and crispy crushed cookies add dimension to the finished cake.
Fresh Peach and Ginger Ice Box Cake
1-inch piece fresh ginger
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon bourbon
1 (5.25 ounce) package Swedish ginger thins cookies (Such as Anna brand)
2 medium peaches
Chopped candied ginger to garnish (optional)
1 peach to puree for garnish (optional)
1 teaspoon lemon juice for peach puree (optional)
- Peel the ginger and use a microplane grater to grate the ginger over the bowl in which you intend to whip the cream (I use a stand mixer bowl). I grate it over the bowl so any juice is caught. Pour in the cream and put the bowl in the refrigerator for half an hour to a full hour so the ginger really flavors the cream. While the cream is infusing, line a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, using two pieces so the sides and the ends are covered, pressing it as tightly as possible to fit the pan (but don’t freak out if it’s a little loose). Leave a generous overhang that you can pull up to cover the top of the cake.
- Add the sugar and bourbon to the cream and beat in the stand mixer or with a hand mixer until very stiff peaks form. Dollop about 1/5 of the cream into the pan and spread it into as even a layer as you can with the back of a spoon. Put one layer of cookies on top of the cream – try not to overlap, though a little is fine. If there are big gaps of cream peeking through, break some cookies into pieces and fill in the gaps. Add another 1/5 of the cream and spread into an even layer. Thinly slice two peaches and place some slices one layer over the cream, little overlap, big gaps filled as before. Then cream, then cookies, then cream, then peaches, then cream, finishing with cookies. Really try to fill the gaps on the last layer of cookies. Use the cookies to press down on the whole so the cream can get in between all the good layers. Save a couple of cookies to crumble over the top. Pull the plastic wrap overhang over the top of the cake to cover completely – you can add another piece if needed to completely cover. Gently press down to compact the cake. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
- When ready serve, unwrap the top of the loaf and place a plate over the pan. Hold the loaf pan to the plate and flip it over. Lift off the pan, then remove the plastic wrap.
- Sprinkle the top of the cake with candied ginger and some crushed cookie crumbs. If you like, puree a peach with a touch of lemon juice in a mini food processor and drizzle on the top. Serve immediately.