I promise you friends, this has been worth the wait. Ever since I made Cranberry-Pear Cream Pie with Gingersnap Crust, I have been dreaming sweet gingersnap dreams with cranberries dancing through fields of Christmas cheer. And so, Gingersnap Icebox Cake with Cranberry Mascarpone Whipped Cream was born.
Seriously though, can’t stop thinking about that buttery, melty, spicy, crispy Gingersnap Crust. We will visit with that crust goddess again.
This Gingersnap Icebox Cake is a little twist on my all-time fave dessert: Magnolia Bakery’s Chocolate Wafer Icebox Cake. For all occasions, I sit here and ponder, “How can I fit an icebox cake into this situation?” We’ve got all the normal situations: birthday, wedding shower, baby shower, christening. But also, I’m like, “Oh no! You lost your job? Icebox Cake!,” and, “Oh my gah! Baseball to the nose? Icebox Cake, for sure!”
I’m telling you, make either one of these icebox cake recipes and you will start thinking the same way. It’s a slippery slope. You are forewarned.
And now, let me tell you, why ya gonna love icebox cake…
You start with these simple layers. A crispy cookie. Whipped cream. They sit overnight together overnight and the cookies get soft as they soak it all up — all that heavy cream. Soaked right into a cookie. With gingersnaps, it’s a perfect marriage. You’ve got a spicy cookie and normally you can only eat one or two, but now that spice is tempered by creeeeam and all of a sudden, you go from eating one or two to eating one or two thousand. Or at least wanting to eat that many, but really you force yourself to go to bed because if you’re awake, you will surely be stuffing your mouth with gingersnaps soaked in whipped cream.
And let’s ponder this whipped cream for a moment. It isn’t just the plain ‘ol homemade stuff — although, let’s be real — plain homemade whipped cream is one of the best dang things out there, so light and fluffy and rich all at the same time. This is mascarpone whipped cream with cranberries, REAL cranberries, making it so perfectly thick and deliciously pink that you want to swan-dive into the bowl and breath in whipped cream as if it were oxygen.
But instead of swan-diving, you build this massive 11-story cake and wait patiently for those flavors to mix and those gingersnaps to soften and you are rewarded with a sweet, sweet, Gingersnap Icebox Cake at the end of it all.
And last little note — let’s talk about my new photo style — I call it Food Industrial [in Snow.] It’s all because the best lighting, especially in this Chicago winter, is found in my back alley. Go figure.
Gingersnap Icebox Cake with Cranberry Mascarpone Whipped Cream
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 12- ounce bag fresh cranberries plus more for garnish
- 3 cups cold heavy cream
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese room temperature
- 1 large box gingersnaps I used Nabisco
Place a large bowl and whisk in the freezer to chill for making your whipped cream.
Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan over high heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. When the mixture comes to a boil, add the cranberries. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the cranberries from the heat and allow to cool enough so that you can touch it. Using a cheesecloth, strain the liquid into a separate bowl, squeezing the cranberries to preserve as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Let the juice cool to room temperature before add to your whipped cream.
Get out your chilled bowl and whisk out. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the heavy cream and mascarpone on high until soft peaks form. Add the cranberry juice and continue to whisk until medium-stiff peaks form. Do not overbeat.
On a serving plate, spread a dollop of whipped cream in the center so your first layer of gingersnaps will stick. Arrange gingersnaps with one in the center and six more in a circle surrounding the center one. I recommend that the gingersnaps touch -- it make the structure of the cake more stable. On top of the gingersnaps, spread about 2/3 cup whipped cream. Continue to layer gingersnaps and whipped cream. One box of Nabisco gingersnaps will yield about 9 layers. (I had extra gingersnaps from another project, so mine is a little taller -- the shorter it is, the more stable it will be.)
Once your cake is completed, refrigerate at least four hours. When ready to serve, top with extra cranberries.