Home > Desserts > Bars > Lemon Icebox Cake Lemon Icebox Cake April 12, 2023 | No Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. This Lemon Icebox Cake recipe is easy to make, delicious, and perfect for really any occasion. With just a handful of ingredients and minimal prep work, this cake is a breeze to put together. But don’t let its simplicity fool you–the combination of sweet lemon pudding with buttery shortbread cookies is nothing short of amazing! Try some of our other favorite Icebox Cakes like this S’mores Icebox Cake, Pistachio Icebox Cake, or Oreo Icebox Cake. Lemon Icebox Cake Icebox cakes are a beloved classic dessert enjoyed for generations, and it’s easy to see why. These desserts are refreshing, light, and oh, so delicious! The best part? They’re incredibly simple to make and taste like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen. What sets these interesting cakes apart is their unique layering technique. They’re a combination of cookies or crackers and layers of creamy pudding or whipped cream. The dessert is then chilled in the fridge, allowing the cookies or crackers to soften and absorb the flavors of the pudding or cream, resulting in thin cake-like layers that are irresistible. This particular Lemon Icebox Cake recipe is made with Loorna Doone® shortbread cookies, which become soft and cake-like when layered with the lemon pudding mixture. The sweet and tangy lemon flavor is the perfect complement to the buttery richness of the shortbread cookies, and whipped topping adds the perfect sweet finishing touch–it’s simply irresistible. QUICK TIP Lorna Doone cookies are sweet, crispy shortbread cookies originally sold by Nabisco, which is now a part of Mondelez International. But how did that name come about? Lorna Doone is the title of a novel by Richard Doddridge Blackmore in 1869. It was so popular at the time that Nabisco capitalized on the fad. Kind of like merchandising from kids’ movies–Nabisco knew that anything with Lorna Doone on the package would be a hot seller! Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy dessert for a summer barbecue or a special treat for a dinner party, this Lemon Icebox Cake is sure to be a hit! Plus, it can be made ahead of time, making it the perfect dessert to serve when you’re short on time or need to feed a crowd. Trademark disclaimer: This recipe refers to some trademarked brands: Lorna Doone, Jell-O, Cook Whip, TruWhip and Sonic. We use these names for two reasons. 1) They’re high-quality products that we use in our test kitchens and 2)they create instant name recognition to illustrate steps in the recipe process. We respect trademarks and branding! Lemon Icebox Cake Ingredients Here is a breakdown of the ingredients in this Lemon Icebox Cake: Lorna Doone® shortbread cookies: These cookies are used as the base of the cake and provide a sweet, buttery flavor. They soften when layered with the pudding mixture, turning to become a cake-like consistency. See the “quick tip” box below. Instant lemon pudding: This is the main flavor component of the cake and provides a tangy, citrusy taste. The instant pudding mix is used for convenience and is easily mixed with milk to create a smooth, creamy texture. Use two boxes of regular instant pudding mix (not sugar-free, not low-fat) of instant pudding mix–not the cook-and-serve type. The other thing to keep an eye out for is the pudding box size. There are typically two sizes — a larger and a smaller one. We want to get the small 3.4-ounce box. When using the pudding mix, follow my specific recipe directions — don’t prepare it according to package instructions. Use Jell-o® brand for the best flavor (not sponsored). Milk: We recommend using whole milk, to create a thick, creamy custard with a rich flavor. Frozen whipped topping: Whipped topping adds a light texture to the cake and provides a creamy, cool contrast to the tangy lemon flavor. Cool Whip® is a common brand of frozen whipped topping that we use in our test kitchen. Be sure to grab regular, not sugar-free/reduced-fat which can become watery. QUICK TIP While we highly recommend using 2 boxes of Loorna Doone shortbread cookies for this recipe, we understand that it can be a bit pricey. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, graham crackers can be used as a substitute. QUICK TIP Whipped Topping Options This Lemon Icebox Cake calls for one 8-ounce container of Cool Whip. If you’d like a healthier alternative, you can try TruWhip®. Or make your own whipped topping (recipe below) to use in place of the container of frozen whipped topping. Just FYI, Cool Whip is a non-dairy product, and of course, that isn’t the case with the homemade version. 1 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup powdered sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract In a mixing bowl attached to a stand mixer (with a whisk attachment) add 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat to combine and then increase the speed and whip until firm peaks form, about 2-4 minutes. Now you’ve got homemade whipped topping to use in this recipe! How To Make Lemon Icebox Cake: Chill overnight: It’s important to let the cake chill in the fridge overnight to allow the cookies to soften and absorb the flavors of the pudding mixture. Since the cookies are thick, they need a bit more chilling time than most icebox cakes. Break cookies to fit pan: The shortbread cookies might not fit perfectly in the pan, so it’s okay to break them up into smaller pieces to fit. Don’t worry– they will still turn into a cake-like layer after they’ve softened. Grate lemon zest: For a finishing touch, you can grate some lemon zest on top of the cake before serving. It adds a bright, citrusy flavor and makes the cake look extra pretty. Customize the flavors: You can experiment with different flavors of pudding mix or try adding fresh fruit like sliced strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries between the layers for some added sweetness, color, and texture. Use a sharp knife: When cutting the cake, use a sharp chef’s knife and make decisive cuts. For clean slices, run the knife under warm water, dry it on a kitchen towel, make a cut, and then repeat for each subsequent cut. STORAGE Lemon Icebox Cake Storage Lemon Icebox Cake is the perfect choice to make ahead of time since the shortbread cookie layers need time to soften. Eat the cake on days 2, 3, or 4. It may become watery after that. To store the cake, serve it directly from the fridge. Return any leftovers to the fridge promptly. This cake isn’t a good choice for freezing and thawing. It contains a lot of dairy, which can cause it to become grainy and watery upon thawing. QUICK TIP Here’s our favorite 8×8-inch pan to make this cake in. These parchment paper sheets are a game changer for lining the pan and these binder clips hold the parchment paper in nicely! More Lemon Desserts: Lemon Bars with a shortbread cookie crust Lemon Poppyseed Cookies with a quick lemon glaze Magnolia Lemon Pie with a graham cracker crust Lemon Berry Slush Sonic copycat recipe! Lemon Curd delicious dessert spread or topping FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Lemon Icebox Cake 5 from 2 votes - Review this recipe This Lemon Icebox Cake recipe is easy to make, delicious, and perfect for really any occasion. With just a handful of ingredients and minimal prep work, this cake is a breeze to put together. But don't let its simplicity fool you--the combination of sweet lemon pudding with buttery shortbread cookies is nothing short of amazing! SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Lemon Icebox Cake 5 from 2 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe This Lemon Icebox Cake recipe is easy to make, delicious, and perfect for really any occasion. With just a handful of ingredients and minimal prep work, this cake is a breeze to put together. But don't let its simplicity fool you--the combination of sweet lemon pudding with buttery shortbread cookies is nothing short of amazing! Course Dessert, treat Cuisine American, Vegetarian Keyword Lemon Icebox Cake Prep Time 20 minutes minutes Chilling Time 1 day day Total Time 1 day day 20 minutes minutes Servings 16 servings Chelsea Lords Calories 187kcal Author Chelsea Lords Cost $7.98 Equipment8x8-inch pan and parchment paper Ingredients▢ 2 pkgs. (10 oz. EACH) Loorna Doone cookies (Note 1)▢ 2 pkgs. (3.4 oz. EACH) Instant lemon pudding (Note 2)▢ 2¼ cups milk (we use whole milk)▢ 1 container (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping (like Cool Whip), thawed, separated (Note 3)▢ Optional topping: grated lemon zest InstructionsPREP: Line an 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang for easy removal. Set aside for now. Remove 1 heaping cup of whipped topping and set it aside.PUDDING: In a large bowl, combine both pudding mixes and milk and briskly whisk together for about 1 minute or until smooth. Take the remaining whipped topping and gently fold it into the pudding mixture until completely incorporated. LAYER THE CAKE: Place cookies in the prepared pan, breaking them apart as needed to create an even layer. Top with half of the pudding mixture and use the back of a large spoon to gently spread into an even layer. Top with more cookies. Add the rest of the pudding, again spreading it into an even layer. Add the last layer of cookies. Finally, spread the reserved whipped topping in an even layer. Cover the cake and refrigerate for 24 hours. (This cake takes a little longer than most icebox cakes for the cookies to soften because they're so thick!) SERVE: When ready to serve, cut the cake into squares (see Note 4) and, if desired, use a microplane to grate a bit of lemon zest on top. Alternatively, crumble any leftover cookies on top. Enjoy slices cold, straight out of the fridge. STORAGE: We recommend eating the cake on days 2 or 3. It can become watery after that. To store the cake, serve it directly from the fridge. Any leftovers should be returned to the fridge promptly. We do not recommend freezing. Recipe NotesNote 1: Loorna Doone Shortbread Cookies: These cookies are used as the base of the cake and provide a sweet, buttery flavor. They soften when layered with the pudding mixture, turning to become a cake-like consistency. While we highly recommend using two boxes of them for this recipe, graham crackers or vanilla wafers can be used as a substitute. Note 2: Instant lemon pudding: Use two boxes of regular instant pudding mix (not sugar-free, not low-fat) of instant pudding mix–not the cook-and-serve type. Also, keep an eye out for the pudding box size. Get the small 3.4-ounce boxes. When using the pudding mix, follow my specific recipe directions — don’t prepare it according to package instructions. Note 3: Frozen whipped topping: Cool Whip is a common brand of frozen whipped topping that we use in our test kitchen. Be sure to use regular, not sugar-free/reduced-fat which can become watery. Or make your own; our recipe for homemade whipped cream is in the blog post! Note 4: Make clean cuts: When cutting the cake, use a sharp chef’s knife and make decisive cuts. Run the knife under warm water, dry it on a kitchen towel, and repeat for each cut. Nutrition FactsServing: 1serving | Calories: 187kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 147mg | Potassium: 82mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 81IU | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 1mg We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed. DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.