I am not proud of the fact that I am posting this recipe in the post-Christmas wee hours, but I challenge anyone to try to sleep after
1. …ingesting half a baguette in pursuit of the buttery, garlicky broth surrounding one’s Christmas mussels.
2. …ingesting half a bar of toffee chocolate to chase the buttery, garlicky flavor out of one’s mouth.
3. …spending an hour looking at wedding gawker with one’s fiance, who had hitherto sworn not to even think about any wedding planning before the end of January.
4. …closing the laptop and laying in the dark for several minutes, repeating “we’re getting married!” over and over again (sometimes in one’s head, sometimes aloud).
5. …realizing that it was actually way easier to fall asleep in front of ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest’ on the couch, because the incessant banging of guns and fists quite successfully drowns out the “we’re getting married” mantra.
But before I return to the couch to pursue the ironic peace of cinematic artillery, I thought I should post the recipe that actually got me started on the road to matrimony: an icebox cake, served to JM for breakfast on his birthday this past Thursday.
The breakfast idea was the result of us realizing that the cake, being of the icebox variety, would not survive the trip to Palm Springs. We considered maybe squashing it in the cooler during the drive, or even assembling it on site in the tiny hotel room fridge, but nixed both ideas in favor of a really good excuse to have cake for breakfast. I mean, how often do those come along?
This cake has the honor of being the most delicious dessert you can make with three ingredients and close to no effort. If you want to put in effort, you can do it at the assembly stage, but everything else just happens naturally. Can you whip cream? Great. Can you go to the supermarket and buy cookies? Bully for you. Can you eat cookies while you “bake” because they’re “broken”? Rock on.
I made a small, two-person cake because JM and I didn’t want to tempt ourselves into a sugar coma. I should say, however, that where sugar is concerned this is actually not as sweet as many cakes are. The wallop here comes from the cream, which combined with even the relatively small amount of sweetness in the cookies will make you feel both pleasantly full and slightly crazy all morning. Beware.
Mini Icebox Cake with Dried Lavender
-1-1.5 cups heavy cream
-1 box Nabisco “Famous” chocolate wafers
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp dried lavender buds
Whip the cream, and stir in the vanilla. Take your platter and assemble four cookies into a sort of clover shape in the center. Carefully spread a few spoonfuls of cream over the top of the cookies, almost to their outer edges, in a disc shape. Put four more cookies on top, staggering them with the earlier cookie layer a bit so that all areas get covered (if that makes sense). Spread another layer of cream. Cookie layer. Cream layer. Keep alternating until you run out of cream, which should be the last layer on top. Sprinkle with the lavender and cover with a large bowl or plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours — though I left it there overnight.
Next time I might attempt to make my own wafers from scratch, but this is one of those things that really does taste good right out of the box. It’s not fancy, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s more of a “hey, take it easy there, fussbudget!” kind of cake. I think this is why JM liked it so much — apparently enough to propose a few hours later. I will probably make it for him next year, too, just to see if he proposes again.