This Pineapple Mango Icebox Cake is full of bright, tropical flavors and a perfect dessert for Summer. Layers of pineapple and mango cream sit on top of vanilla graham crackers. The cracker layers soften when refrigerated for a delicious icebox cake!
I was feeling a little tropical when I made this pineapple mango icebox cake. It could have also been that I was longing for a beach vacation. Maybe later this year … fingers crossed. There is nothing more tropical than coconut, pineapple, and mango and when you put them all together, you have one creamy, dreamy dessert.
What is an icebox cake?
I made a version of an icebox cake earlier this year, with this Lime Cracker Custard Pie. The icebox cake got its name from back in the day before refrigerators, and the ‘icebox’ was used to keep food cool. Additionally, this cake does not need to be baked – except for the crust in this recipe. The cake texture comes from crisp crackers that are set between layers of a creamy filling. When the cake is cooled, the crackers become moist, giving you a cake-like texture.
This pineapple mango icebox cake recipe is quite indulgent with the bright flavors of pineapple and mango. Talking about the mango, I found that freeze-dried fruits are a great substitution for fresh. They pack a concentrated fruit flavor, and you don’t have to worry about the moisture of fresh fruit messing up the filling texture.
I have a cabinet full of freeze-dried fruits including; mango, strawberry, raspberry, peach, and blueberry. They can be found in your grocery store and are usually in the snack food aisle. They are a great alternative in whipped creams, frostings, crumbled toppings. You can either incorporate larger pieces of the freeze-dried fruit, or my preference is to grind it into a powder.
Options for the cake
The great thing about an icebox cake is that it does not require perfectly even layers, and you can get creative with your flavors. For the crisp cracker or cookie layer, my only recommendation is selecting something that is crisp. Since this layer will soften when refrigerated, you want to make sure you still have some sort of texture. Graham crackers, Club crackers, Ritz crackers, Biscoff cookies, Tates chocolate chip cookies, and vanilla wafers are just a few options.
For the base of the pineapple mango icebox cake, if you are not making a crust, you start with a layer of the cream filling. For this recipe, I wanted to incorporate a separate layer of flavor. Toasted coconut combined with the graham cracker provides a distinct coconut flavor without interfering with the tropical fruit flavors.
For the fillings, whipped cream is the traditional filling, but you can update it with cream cheese or gelatin to give you a sturdy filling. Add any fruit or even chocolate and you will have an easy and creamy cake.
Tips for making icebox cake
- Get creative with your flavors!
- There is not much pre-baking or pre-preparation that needs to be done. Which is one of the beauties of an icebox cake. The only thing would be if you are baking a crust, you can do that ahead of time.
- Allow the cake to set in the refrigerator. The cake will feel sturdy when you are assembling it, but you want your cracker layer to soften.
- If you are not using cream cheese or gelatin in your whipped cream filling, whip the whipped cream to stiff peaks. You want the whipped cream filling to be sturdy. This will make it easy to cut like a cake and stand up like a cake. The cream cheese will make the filling sturdy enough when folded with whipped cream.
This is an easy recipe that can be updated for any time of the year. It is an ideal spring and summer dessert that is light and fluffy and full of fruit flavor. Have fun with this one and happy Spring!
Pineapple Mango Icebox Cake
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks, drained (reserve 1/4 cup of chunks)
- 1 ounce freeze dried mangos, ground to powder
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 sleeves vanilla graham crackers
- 1 and 1/2 cups sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees and adjust oven rack to middle position. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan.
- In a food processor, pulse two full vanilla graham crackers until they are coarse crumbs. In a medium bowl, add the crushed graham crackers, coconut flakes, and melted butter. Mix until everything is moistened with the butter.
- Press the coconut mixture firmly into the bottom of the springform pan. Using your fingertips or the bottom of a measuring cup, press until smooth and even.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the coconut flakes turn golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- In a blender, pulse the freeze-dried mango with the sugar until the mango is powder. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.
- In the same blender, add the pineapple chunks and blend for only a few seconds, until the pineapple is lightly pureed.
- In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form – about 5-7 minutes. Transfer half of the whipped cream to another mixing bowl and set aside.
- Add the mango powder to the remaining whipped cream in the stand mixer bowl. Whip on low speed until the mango powder is incorporated and stiff peaks form. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- In the same bowl of the stand mixer now fitted with the paddle attachment (do not worry about cleaning out the bowl, since its all going to be assembled together!), beat the softened cream cheese on medium-low speed until smooth. Add in the pureed pineapple and beat until just combined. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and using a spatula, gently fold in plain whipped cream that was set aside, until the mixture is just combined.
ASSEMBLING THE CAKE
- On top of the cooled coconut crust, spread on 1/3 of the pineapple cream cheese mixture evenly and all the way to the sides. Then spread on a 1/3 of the mango whipped cream, evenly and all the way to the sides. Top with 4-5 full graham crackers, broken into large squares to fit into the pan. Do not worry about making the graham cracker layer perfect. Repeat the layer building, ending with the mango whipped cream.
- Cover and refrigerate the assembled cake for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, carefully remove the springform side from the pan and top the cake with toasted coconut, the remaining pineapple chunks and pieces of freeze-dried mango.
- The cake should be stored covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.