Growing up my mom used to make this delicious desert with cookies and pudding. She layered vanilla and chocolate pudding with these plain cracker like cookies ubiquitous in every household in Spain. This particular desert was a staple on the menu at the camp we went to every summer. This means it was made in bulk. There was always leftover pudding to steal and, since it was my mom in the kitchen, I could usually swipe an extra serving or two.
I had to idea that desert was what is considered an ice box cake. The traditional ice box cake involved whipped cream and chocolate wafers. Over the years it has evolved to mean a layered desert of cookies and pudding, whipped cream, and/or frosting. Delicious.
When I saw this recipe for a snickers cake I knew I had to make it for Nathan’s birthday (he turned 30! last week). Nathan is a snickers fiend. Layers of peanut butter and chocolate pudding sandwiched between graham crackers that get a cakey texture are smothered in homemade caramel and chocolate ganache. It was gorgeous.
I am kinda on the fence about this particular recipe. It was impressive looking for sure but I don’t really care for chocolate and peanut butter so… I felt kinda eh about it. He loved it so I guess that is all that matters. There will be more ice box cakes in my future. I’m sure of it.
Snickers Ice Box Cake (serves 8-10)
Adapted from Bakers Royale
1 box graham crackers
2/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
6 cups cold whole milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cups dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons water
4 tablespoon butter
1/2 c heavy cream
Ganache pouring sauce
2/3 cups dark chocolate
2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
4-5 tablespoons water, warm
Snickers, chocolate bits or peanuts for topping
Make the pudding:
Combine cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a dry sauce pan. Whisk well to combine. Slowly add the milk while whisking. Place over medium heat and stir often. Pudding is ready when it it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add vanilla to mixture. Split mixture in half and add chocolate to one half and whisk to combine. Add peanut butter to remaining half and whisk to combine.
Make caramel sauce:
Place sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat and stir the until sugar has dissolved. Dissolve any crystals forming on the side with a wet pastry brush. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high. At this point do not stir the mixture directly. Now and then, using the handle, give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute or so. Once the mixture starts to turn a light golden shade, add the butter and heavy cream. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine (bubbles will subside upon cooling). Set aside to cool completely.
Make ganache pouring sauce:
Place chocolate and heavy cream in a bowl over simmering water. Let chocolate and cream sit for 2-3 minutes to melt without stirring. Then slowly stir mixture to combine. Add powdered sugar and mix to combine. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until pouring consistency is reached. Set aside and let sauce cool to warm.
Create a sling by placing a piece wax paper in a bread pan with a 1 inch overhang on each side (I tested out three pans to find the one the graham crackers fit in best). Line the pan with plastic wrap. Place graham crackers side-by-side until bottom of pan is covered. Spread a thin layer of chocolate pudding on top. Place second layer of graham cracker on top of chocolate pudding. Spread a thin layer of peanut butter pudding on top. Continue alternating layers with chocolate and peanut butter pudding while separating each pudding layer with a graham cracker layer. Finish with a graham cracker layer. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
Unmold, plate and pour cooled caramel sauce on top and set aside to set. Pour cooled ganache sauce on top and add chopped Snickers, or chocolate bits and peanuts on top. Finish with caramel and chocolate drizzle if desired.