Condensed milk is the secret ingredient to this Filipino refrigerator cake (the Filipino version of the no-bake icebox cake). It’s sweet, creamy and perfect on a warm sunny day.
The sun was out all day today (all day). And not just fake sunshine; it was actually nice and mild. So here I go, I will say it, at great risk of jinxing it: warmer weather has finally arrived! And in Canada, that is always a reason to celebrate. And what better way than with a cake my mom used to make for us all the time. A cake that never fails to transport me back home, where it’s always summer and where the sun is always smiling down on me.
The unlikely recipe investigator
My mom is of the generation that doesn’t rely on recipes though. She would eyeball everything. So getting exact measurements from her is like squeezing water from a stone (is that even the correct idiom to use?). Suffice it to say, it was not easy.
She would say things like mix cream and condensed milk (what proportion, mom?). Add butter (to what, mom?). Put everything in a dish (what size, mom?).
My mom usually makes this with mangoes though (fun fact: Philippine mangoes are the best in the world) but strawberries work too. Or peaches. Or whatever fruit (preferably berries) happens to be in season. There is an abundance of strawberries now so strawberry refrigerator cake it is.
Refrigerator cake (a.k.a. icebox cake, Filipino-style)
Unlike the icebox cake, the Filipino version is sweeter and made with (what I think could be the national dairy – we put it on everything) condensed milk. How much you use depends on what fruit you’re using though.
If you happen to get your hands on Philippine mangoes (lucky, lucky) which are very sweet, you can get away with using just 1/4 cup condensed milk. I used strawberries so I went up to 3/4 cup. Just taste as you go and decide the level of sweetness you’re comfortable with. I wouldn’t recommend you go more than 3/4 cup though; otherwise condensed milk will overpower everything else.
This is for you, mom!
I’m happy with how this turned out. I think my mom will be proud (and Mother’s Day is right around the corner too, how about that). This tasted just like how I remembered it. It’s a taste of home. And it’s the easiest thing to make. You just whip the cream, layer the cake and chill. Seriously, the hardest part was waiting for it to chill overnight.
You can even make fancy single-serve desserts
I had extra ingredients so I just layered them into glasses and they made pretty single-serve desserts too. Handy when you have company.
So take advantage of all these beautiful strawberries. Make a refrigerator cake. It’s simple, quick, easy and so good. Perfect way to welcome this glorious warmer weather. And a refreshing cake to prepare for Mother’s Day too.
Happy whipping and layering!
Did you make this refrigerator cake? Tell me about it in the comments section below. I’d love to hear all about it. Curious about other Filipino desserts? Check this out.
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