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Red, White & Blue Icebox Cake

June 25, 2014

Every other week, Anna Hezel talks about the innovations, decorations, and other quiet touches that make a party memorable.

Today: A patriotic Fourth of July dessert you can make ahead and pull out of the freezer just in time for the party.

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I don't know about you, but I tend to have a real procrastination problem when it comes to party desserts. I get so swept up in the rest of the preparations that I wind up either frantically baking cookies in the last 45 minutes before the guests arrive or buying a few pints of ice cream and calling it a day.

As much as I wish that I were the sort of person, like my mother, who can produce a dozen strawberry rhubarb pies before 10:00AM, sometimes I need a simpler option; something festive and seasonal that I can make for a crowd without too much work the day of the party.

More: How to make an American flag cake for the Fourth of July (it's easier than you'd think).

So here you have it: a red velvet icebox cake that you can make ahead, pull out of your freezer when the time comes, cut into frosty little striped slices, and serve with a pile of the summer's best blueberries.

It all starts with thin, delicate layers of red velvet cake. In this recipe, which is a loose adaptation of Martha Stewart's ice cream sandwich cookies, a small amount of cake batter is spread out over a cookie sheet and baked briefly, yielding a soft, crisp-around-the-edges cookie-cake hybrid that only gets better as it absorbs moisture from the filling. The layers of red velvet are stacked with blankets of whipped cream, made slightly acidic by a tiny bit of cream cheese. Once the the cake has become firm in the freezer, a sharp knife yields perfect red-and-white striped slices.

Red Velvet Icebox Cake

Serves 10

1 stick of butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon white vinegar
30 drops of red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners sugar, divided
Blueberries for garnish

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Anna Hezel

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • amymm
  • Lauren Olivia Wood
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Anna Hezel

Written by: Anna Hezel


amymm June 27, 2014
Super festive fourth dessert that offers up something other than the usual! I like the dusting of cake crumbs on top..beautiful touch!
Anna H. June 28, 2014
Thank you!
Lauren O. June 25, 2014
Please check out my food blog at
I would love to hear your feedback on my most recent story!
AntoniaJames June 25, 2014
Was thinking red, white and blue just this morning. We have a big block party every year on the 4th, right when my blueberry bushes are heavily loaded with berries, so I always use them, of course. This year I'm making the almond scones featured here a few months ago (each round sliced in half), topped with Nancy Silverton whipped cream (made with vanilla sugar, of course), onto which I'll pile sliced strawberries and lots of blueberries. Extremely simple. This however is cute. ;o)
Anna H. June 26, 2014
Sounds lovely -- what a great combination, between the buttery almond scones and the fresh berries!
Lauren O. June 25, 2014
As a bakery myself, I would love to be the person who creates those multiple pies. However, I love simple and I love red velvet cake! I also appreciate how you have adapted another recipe and made it your own. My only question for you, regarding this recipe, is what type of flour did you use? I prefer cake flour, but some bakers I know prefer a blend of cake flour and all-purpose flour. What's your preference?
Anna H. June 26, 2014
I just went for all-purpose flour, but I'm sure cake flour or a blend would work well too. Let me know if you wind up experimenting!