Making a Pumpkin Ice Box Cake and videotaping with two furry balls of fire underfoot is not a simple task.
You’ll find my 8 week-old kittens interrupted the video several times, and I’m lucky I made it through the process without any injuries. The babies, as Mother Cookie and I call them, are so quick and quiet that they dart in and out, under my feet, and all around me before I have time to process. The only time there’s any relief is when the babies tire themselves out and settle down for a nap. They look so serene and adorable that they fool you into thinking they’re angelic. But I know better.
I finally understand what the phrase “full of piss and vinegar” means.
What really matters is that my babies are happy as clams in their new home, and despite their shenanigans, I love them to death. Plus, the Pumpkin Ice Box Cake turned out amazing, so all’s well that ends well. In fact, this super simple recipe is actually one of the best desserts I’ve made in a while. I mean, it’s really good, lick-the-plate-without-an-ounce-of-shame good. And yet it’s a no-bake dessert requiring minimal ingredients. Don’t you just love when that happens?
My babies and my doggy Reese loved it too. I might’ve let them lick a spoon…
How’s an ice box cake work? You layer something dry, like cookies or graham crackers, with something wet, like whipped cream or a cream filling. Then you let that good stuff take a chill pill in the fridge for six hours or more. The longer it sits, the more flavorful it gets. And soon, like magic, the cookies or graham crackers you used soften up like cake. Viola! You’ve got a cake without ever turning on the old oven.
In this cake, we layered chocolate graham crackers with an absolutely heavenly pumpkin cream mousse. It transforms in the fridge so that the graham crackers become soft as cake, and the whole thing is exponentially more flavorful. Considering it’s pretty damn delicious to start with, that’s saying quite a lot. The fluffy, creamy pumpkin filling and the soft chocolate graham cracker melt in your mouth effortlessly. Plus it looks so pretty with that beautiful black and orange.
You put in next to no effort to make this cake, but wind up with something incredible that gets more and more delicious as time passes. That’s a good deal, my friends.
Check out how truly easy this cake is to whip up in my video below. The new kittens make several apppearances as well!
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- As I mentioned, the longer this cake sits, the better it tastes. You need at least 6 hours for the graham crackers to soften properly, but I recommend making it at least 12 hours ahead so you really get the full flavor impact.
- The filling of this cake would make an amazing pie filling.
- You can use regular graham crackers or chocolate wafers in place of the chocolate graham crackers.
- This cake isn’t that naturally orange, so I recommend adding food dye to achieve a bright orange hue.
- All your ingredients must be super cold for everything to set up!
Pumpkin Ice Box Cake
By The Smart Cookie Cook
- 2 cups cold heavy cream
- 1 package instant vanilla pudding
- 1 8-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup super duper ice cold water, and I mean COLD
- 1 cup CHILLED pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie mix
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. clove
- 1/4 tsp. allspice
- 3 – 4 sleeves of chocolate graham crackers, broken into small pieces
- In a medium bowl, beat the cream with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Don’t overbeat, or you’ll have butter. Cover and refrigerate.
- In a medium bowl, beat together the pudding mix, sweetened condensed milk, and water until thickened. If it is not completely thickened like pudding should be, place in the fridge until it sets up completely. Fold in the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and allspice. Retrieve the whipped cream from the fridge and gently fold in until well-combined.
- In a spring form pan, put a thin layer of the filling down. Layer an even layer of graham cracker pieces down so it’s completely covered. Add half of the pumpkin mousse and spread out in an even layer. Top with another layer of graham crackers so the mousse is completely covered. Finish with the remaining mousse and spread out evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least six hours, until the graham crackers are softened. The longer you refrigerate, the better.
- Slice and enjoy.