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Rhubarb strawberry icebox cake


Rhubarb strawberry filling:

  • 1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/2 pound grams fresh strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered, depending on size
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • Juice of half an orange (save the zest for the cake assembly)


  • 1 (250 g) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 cups whipping cream, cold
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • A good pinch kosher salt

To assemble:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon elderflower liqueur, Cointreau, coconut rum, or other liquor, optional
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • A good pinch kosher salt
  • 400 g Savoiardi (ladyfinger) biscuits
  • Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
  • Dried strawberry powder, for dusting, optional


  1. Start by making the compote. Preheat an oven to 400°F. Place rhubarb and strawberries in a shallow baking dish that will barely hold them. Scatter with sugar, pour on vanilla bean paste, and orange juice. Cover the dish with foil and bake fruit for 20 minutes. Carefully lift off foil, turn the fruit gently. Return to the oven to roast, uncovered, so the fruit begins to collapse but retains its vibrant colour, 15 to 20 minutes more. Leave compote to cool, then stir until the fruit fully breaks down. Transfer to an airtight container, cover and chill. Make up to two days ahead.
  2. For the cream, scrape the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Blend, starting on low speed and working up to medium, until light and fluffy, stopping and scraping down the whip and bowl regularly, about three minutes. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in a quarter of the cream. Once incorporated, resume pouring, still slowly, so the mixture thickens without lumps. Increase the speed in stages until beating om medium-high. Continue to whip until the cream is voluminous and holds a firm peak, three to five minutes more. Stream in the sugar and vanilla bean paste, followed by the salt. Beat for 15 seconds more, then use right away.
  3. To assemble, combine the milk and condensed milk together in a shallow dish. Smack the cardamom pods with the side of a knife so they split and add to the liquid. Add the elderflower liqueur and orange zest, if using, then the almond extract and salt, and stir. Quickly dip a Savoiardi biscuit into the milk mixture to coat all sides, then set the biscuit in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Continue, dunking the biscuits and arranging them in neat rows, until a layer is complete. Spread half of the rhubarb strawberry compote over the biscuits. Top with half of the cream mixture. Repeat the assembly of soaked biscuits, compote layer, and cream layer. Cover the dish with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least six hours and preferably overnight. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and freeze-dried fruit powder, if desired. Serve.

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