Icebox Cake

Icebox Cake

  • 3-ounce pack of lemon Jell-O
  • Hot water as directed on package
  • 12 large marshmallows
  • 1 cup crushed graham crackers
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 1 pint of whipping cream
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
This is another thing that my Grandma Meta Isern made for afternoon lunch. Obviously, it's a fairly late addition to family foodways, as the use of Jell-O indicates. See Kathleen Norris, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography, as to the social significance of Jell-O. My own take on the dissemination of this addition to Great Plains foodways is that Extension played a big role. Jell-O had the cachet of modernity. Grandma's icebox cake was always made with canned pineapple and lemon Jell-O.
  1. Prepare the Jell-O with hot water according to package directions.

  2. Melt the marshmallows into the Jell-O mix.

  3. Refrigerate the Jell-O mix until it is half-set.

  4. While the Jell-O sets, put the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter into the bottom of a cake pan and press them into a crust.

  5. Refrigerate the crust.

  6. Whip the cream in a mixing bowl.

  7. Mix in the pineapple, the nuts, and the half-set Jell-O mixture.

  8. Pour the mix onto the crust, top with a few graham cracker crumbs, and refrigerate until set.
With the abundance of gooseberries from my garden in North Dakota, I've begun making an icebox cake using home-canned gooseberries instead of pineapple. This is wonderfully tangy.