This peach icebox cake is refreshing, delicious and easy to make. Use fresh peaches when they’re in season, or canned peaches to make this summer dessert any time of the year.
(Looking for cold peach recipes? Try this bourbon peach ice cream. So good and you don’t even need an ice cream machine to make it.)
Peach icebox cake is called many names. In the Philippines, it’s most commonly known as peach refrigerator cake.
But I’ve also heard it called a peach dream dessert, a peach melba icebox cake, or simply a peaches and cream dessert.
Whatever you know it as, peach icebox cake is a peaches and cream dream. They just go so well together!
Add graham crackers to the mix and you have an icebox cake that’s so easy to put together and looks pretty too.
It’s always a hit at potlucks, BBQs, and any time friends and family get together to enjoy these warm summer days.
Why is it called icebox cake or refrigerator cake?
According to Wikipedia, the icebox cake can trace its origins to desserts like trifles and charlottes but made simpler and more accessible for housewives to make.
It was introduced to the United States in the 1930s when companies were promoting the icebox (or a cold closet) — a non mechanical refrigerator.
What makes something an icebox cake?
The answer to this question is more varied but bottomline, a cake is an icebox cake if it consists of 3 main ingredients:
- A crust that’s typically graham crackers, vanilla wafers or other cookie crumbs
- Layers of fruit, which can range from mango to strawberry to bananas and even canned fruit cocktail
- And cream, which is usually heavy cream, whipping cream or whipped topping
Plus, it doesn’t need any baking. And although it’s often called refrigerator cakes, they can also be frozen if you need it to set a little quicker.
Why you’ll love this peach refrigerator cake recipe
This peach refrigerator recipe works because:
- You make it ahead of time and serve when you’re ready
- It’s very easy to prepare and customize according to your taste or what’s available
- No baking required, which means no need for that hot oven
- The cake can easily feed a crowd and it’s always a hit with everyone
It’s certainly a delicious way to stay cool this season.
What you’ll need
Making this peach icebox cake is a breeze. It’s probably going to be the easiest peach cake you’ll ever make.
First, get your ingredients ready. You’ll need:
- Heavy cream (at least 36% milk fat content)
- Granulated sugar
- Graham cracker cookies
- Canned peaches in light syrup, or fresh peaches – I used to only make this recipe using fresh peaches but lately, I found myself preferring the no bake canned peach dessert version.
- Ground cinnamon, if using fresh peaches
- You can even add a splash of vanilla extract
You won’t need special tools to make this delightful peach dessert. Just the following:
- Electric mixer to whip your cream
- 8×8 inch baking dish
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
Easy recipe (with photos)
1 WHIP. In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer or using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk heavy cream and granulated sugar to stiff peaks. Set aside. If not using immediately, chill in the fridge.
2 LAYER. Place a layer of graham crackers at the bottom of a deep 8×8 inch baking dish.
3 SPREAD. Evenly spread a heaping cup of cream mixture on top of your graham crackers.
4 ASSEMBLE. Assemble a layer of peach slices on top of that.
5 REPEAT. Repeat by covering the peaches with graham cracker cookies. Be sure to cover the entire layer; cut the cookies to fit. Then cover with another layer of cream and top with more peaches.
6 CHILL. Chill the peach icebox cake in the fridge overnight or freeze for at least 4 hours. Freezing will result to a more ice cream cake-like end product which you would have to thaw several minutes before serving. Chilling will result to a creamy, ready-to-eat cake out of the fridge.
Expert tips and recipe FAQs
Easy, right? Here are more tips and answers to your frequently asked question to make this favourite summer dessert even easier.
I refrigerate my peach icebox cake overnight to allow it to set. If you’re in a hurry, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours. You want to give the cream time to absorb into the graham crackers and make them nice and soft.
Icebox cakes will last up to 2 days in the fridge. It won’t go bad after this necessarily; just remember that the longer it sits, the mushier the graham crackers will get so best to consume as soon as you can.
I usually just chill my icebox cakes in the fridge overnight. When I’m ready to serve, I just bring it out and slice.
The cake slices are not perfect but the cake is creamy and delicious.
However, feel free to freeze them. Just note that if you do: treat it like how you would ice cream cake — thaw a little before serving. And note that the fruit will be frozen too.
I prefer using canned peaches in this icebox cake recipe because they’re more flavourful and packed with nutrients. And being the lazy baker that I am, I don’t want to deal with peeling and slicing the peaches lol.
However, when fresh peaches are in season, I can definitely understand how hard it is to resist buying a whole lot of them. So yes, you can absolutely use fresh peaches in this recipe.
Just make sure to pick ripe but firm peaches, peel, slice into wedges and toss them in cinnamon for added flavour.
Whipping cream and heavy cream are essentially the same but differ in their milk fat content. Whipping cream contains 30-35% while heavy cream has at least 36%.
This is the reason heavy cream whips better and holds its shape longer than whipping cream.
Whipping cream will still whip well but will have a lighter, more pillowy texture that tends to lose its shape and become liquid again the longer it sits.
I prefer heavy cream for my icebox cakes but you can certainly use whipping cream in a pinch. Just expect a slightly softer texture to your cake and your cake slices might not hold its shape as long as you’d like.
Yes, you can use ready-made whipped cream to make peach refrigerator cake. I personally like the taste and texture of homemade whipped cream though so I always make my own.
And it’s so easy! This homemade whipped cream recipe only takes 15 minutes.
Graham fruit cakes
Icebox cakes are so easy to customize. Some recipes use sponge cakes or ladyfingers instead of graham crackers. Other include mascarpone cheese in the mix.
I tend to stick to the classic graham cracker-whipped cream-fruit combo. Try these recipes and see which one is your favourite.
Strawberry refrigerator cake (or the Filipino version of strawberry icebox cake) has a secret ingredient — condensed milk! It’s sweet, creamy and perfect on a warm sunny day.
Mango graham cake is another popular dessert in the Philippines. Also called mango float, it’s cold, sweet and so easy to make. Just layer graham crackers, sweetened cream, mangoes and enjoy.
Peach Icebox Cake (Peach Refrigerator Cake)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- graham cracker cookies see notes
- 1 27-oz can canned peaches in light syrup sliced to wedges
If using fresh peaches
- 2 lbs ripe but firm peaches peeled and sliced into wedges, see notes
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer or using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk 2 cups heavy cream and 2 tbsp sugar to stiff peaks. Set aside. If not using immediately, chill in the fridge.
- Place a layer of graham crackers at the bottom of a deep 8×8 inch baking dish.
- Evenly spread a heaping cup of cream mixture on top of your graham crackers.
- Assemble a layer of peach slices on top of that.
- Repeat by covering the peaches with graham cracker cookies. Be sure to cover the entire layer; cut the cookies to fit. Then cover with another layer of cream and top with more peaches.
- Chill the peach icebox cake in the fridge overnight or freeze for at least 4 hours (see notes).
- The graham crackers I use are squares (see post for complete step-by-step photos). I used a total of 21 cookies to fill my 8×8 inch baking dish.
- If using fresh peaches, toss the peach wedges in cinnamon before assembling your cake.
- Freezing will result to a more ice cream cake-like end product which you would have to thaw several minutes before serving. Chilling will result to a creamy, ready-to-eat cake out of the fridge.
- See post for lots of tips and FAQs.
Nutritional information are estimates only.
Happy no baking!
Did you make this creamy peach icebox cake? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.