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Ginger + Key Lime Icebox Cake (Easy No-Bake Dessert)

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Ginger + Key Lime Icebox Cake combines the refreshing tanginess of key lime with the spiciness of ginger snaps for an indulgent, easy, no-bake treat.

An icebox cake on a white platter with layers of ginger snaps and key lime cream.
This recipe is part of the cozy mystery cooking club series.

Key Lime Icebox Cake with Ginger Snaps

As the sun-soaked days of summer arrive, there’s nothing quite like indulging in refreshing no bake desserts to beat the heat. This delightfully easy recipe combines gingery layers of cookies and tangy key lime creamy filling to create a cooling symphony of flavors perfect for for a summer treat!

And, it’s all inspired by our latest Cozy Mystery Cooking Club book, ‘Death in Four Courses’ by Lucy Burdette from the Key West Food Critic Mystery series. There were a lot of tasty food references throughout the story, but I couldn’t resist making a summery layered dessert with key limes. 

Since there’s no cooking required, an icebox cake is the perfect dessert to make and enjoy as a sweet ending to a warm evening. Bring a smile to everyone’s faces with this Ginger + Key Lime Icebox Cake!

An overhead view of a ginger and key lime icebox cake on a white platter surrounded by key limes slices.

What Is An Icebox Cake?

The dessert was introduced to the US in the 20s when the icebox was promoted as a kitchen appliance, and gained popularity over the next couple of decades as an easy dessert to make with pre-made ingredients.

In its simplest form, it’s made with layers of wafer cookies and cream. Once assembled, the dessert is chilled overnight in the icebox while the cookies absorb moisture from the cream. The end result are cookies that retain their form but become soft and cakey. The best part is slicing into the cake to reveal all those yummy layers.

It can also include a variety of other ingredients or flavors which makes it really versatile and customizable!

Gather Your Ingredients

When I think key lime, I immediately go to that classic combination of key lime pie with graham cracker crust. But, I’m opting for another zesty punch of flavor for this icebox cake!

  • Key limes — are smaller than regular limes, are sweet + tart, have a thin rind and more seeds. You’ll need both fresh lime zest and freshly squeezed lime juice for this recipe. (If key limes aren’t available to you, you can substitute with regular limes. See the recipe card for specific details.)
  • Heavy cream — aka heavy whipping cream.
  • Cream cheese — I use a combo of mostly mascarpone cheese and a smaller amount of cream cheese. This gives the cream mixture a cheesecake-like vibe!
  • Powdered sugar — to sweeten the mix.
  • Vanilla extract — to enhance the other flavors.
  • Ginger snap cookies — these spicy little gems are delicious against the cooling, tangy key lime cream. 

Find exact quantities in the printable recipe card at the end of the post.

An array of key limes with water droplets on them resting in a tea towel.

How To Make Ginger + Key Lime Icebox Cake

This is a great make-ahead, delicious dessert. Make it the night before and chill it overnight, or in the morning to serve that evening.

  • Mix the filling ingredients — beat together heavy cream, the cheeses, powdered sugar, key lime juice, zest and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. (You can use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or a handheld electric mixer and large mixing bowl.)
  • Assemble the cake — line a loaf pan with plastic wrap so you can easily un-mold the cake later. Spread a layer of key lime whipped cream mixture across the bottom of the pan. Then, add an even layer of ginger snaps, breaking cookies into smaller pieces to fill the gaps. Repeat until you reach the top of the pan, ending with a layer of cookies. (For reference, I created ten layers in a 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2 inch loaf pan.) Fold the plastic wrap over the top and refrigerate the cake overnight.
  • Un-mold the cake — invert the cake onto a serving dish and peel away the plastic wrap. Garnish with key lime slices or ginger snap crumbles. 

Optional step — (but totally worth it!) whip together heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla and the zest + juice of one key lime until soft peaks form to make a whipped topping with more key lime flavor. Dollop or pipe it on top of the cake for another layer of decoration, then garnish.

Variation Ideas

Make this recipe as a key lime pie icebox cake — simply assemble your dessert in a pie plate or other baking dish, cover and refrigerate. There’s no need to un-mold it!

Cheese or cheese — I went heavy on the mascarpone because I like its buttery, velvety quality, and balanced it with a smaller amount of firmer, tangy cream cheese. Play around with the ratios if you prefer one flavor / texture over the other.

Storing Leftover Ice Box Cake

Wrap uneaten cake and store it in the refrigerator for a day or two. Any longer and the cookies will become soggy. 

Now it’s time to spread the joy and share this delightful treat at your next weekend gathering, celebration or sunny afternoon get-together. The tangy layers of creamy lime filling and the gentle warmth of ginger will have your tastebuds dancing!

A slice of ginger and key lime icebox cake on a white plate.

But, Wait…Check Out More No-Bake Desserts!

An icebox cake on a white platter with layers of ginger snaps and key lime cream.

Ginger + Key Lime Icebox Cake

Linda Feller
Ginger + Key Lime Icebox Cake combines the refreshing tanginess of key lime with the spiciness of ginger snaps for an indulgent, easy, no-bake treat.
Prep time.15 minutes
Custom time.8 hours
Total time.8 hours 15 minutes
Course.Dessert
Cuisine.American
Number of servings.8
Calories per serving.422 kcal

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounce mascarpone cheese
  • 2 ounce cream cheese
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoon key lime juice, from about 6 key limes (see note)
  • zest of two key limes, (see note)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 25 ginger snap cookies, well, 25-30 cookies

Topping (optional)

  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest + juice of one key lime
  • key lime slices, for garnish

Instructions

  • In the bowl of stand mixer, combine heavy whipping cream, mascarpone + cream cheeses, powdered sugar, key lime juice + zest, and vanilla extract. Beat on high until stiff peaks form.
  • Line a standard sized loaf pan with plastic wrap so you can easily unmold the cake later.
  • Spread a layer of key lime cream mixture across the bottom of the pan. Add a layer of ginger snaps, breaking cookies as needed to fill any gaps. Repeat the layers, ending with a layer of cookies on top.
  • Refrigerate the cake overnight (or at least 8 hours).
  • Invert the cake onto a plate and remove the plastic wrap.
  • Optional step: before serving, whip 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and zest and juice of one key lime until stiff peaks form. Spread, dollop or pipe the whipped cream on top of the cake and garnish with slices of key lime.

Notes

Limes: If key limes aren’t available to you, you can substitute with regular limes. 
  • You’ll need about 2 regular limes to yield 4 tbsp of juice
  • Use the zest of 1/2 to 1 whole regular lime, depending on preference
Leftovers: Wrap uneaten cake and store it in the refrigerator for a day or two. Any longer and the cookies will become soggy. 

Nutrition

Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 119mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 1152IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Keywords.make ahead, no cook, summer
Did You Make This Recipe?Be sure to share a comment below!

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