The Washington Post

Rainbow Sprinkle Icebox Cake

Rainbow Sprinkle Icebox Cake 16.000

(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Aug 1, 2019

Everyone’s favorite birthday cake gets an icebox makeover. Shortbread cookies are layered with sprinkle-studded cream-cheese-and-whipped-cream frosting and assembled in a springform pan. The cream cheese helps to cut down on the sweetness and adds a lovely tang to the cake. Once released from the pan, the entire cake can be coated in more sprinkles.

A cake this festive calls for a scoop of ice cream on the side.

Make Ahead: The cake will keep loosely covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or frozen, after it has set up in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, for up to 1 month. Defrost the cake in the refrigerator overnight before you plan to serve it.

Storage Notes: Once you cut the cake, leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated, and are best within a day.

Where to Buy: Lorna Doone shortbread cookies can be found in grocery stores nationwide and work well in an icebox cake. They are dry and crumbly, but are also thin, so they easily soften when layered with whipped cream.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 16 servings

  • Nonstick cooking spray or softened butter, for the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups (340 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (225 grams) rainbow sprinkles, plus more for decorating (optional)
  • 80 (560 grams) thin shortbread cookies, preferably Lorna Doone


Grease the sides of a round 9-inch springform pan that is 3 inches deep with cooking spray or softened butter. Line the sides with a strip of parchment.

Add the cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed, about 3 minutes, until smooth. Add the heavy cream, increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whisk until incorporated.

Add the sugar and vanilla, and whisk the mixture, about 3 to 5 minutes, until it holds stiff peaks that stand upright when the whisk is raised. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the rainbow sprinkles and mix just to incorporate.

Spread a thin layer of whipped cream (about 1 3/4 cups) on the bottom of the pan and cover with a layer of cookies, filling any gaps with broken cookies (breaking them yourself, if necessary.) The pieces should touch; the goal is a solid layer of cookies. Continue layering until you reach the top of the pan, ending with a layer of cream.

Cover the top of the cake with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours, or overnight.

To serve, remove the sides of the pan and peel away the parchment strip. Place on a serving plate and lightly press sprinkles onto the top and sides of the cake, if desired. Slice as you would a layer cake.

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Recipe Source

From cookbook author Jessie Sheehan.

Tested by Kathleen O’Boyle.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 520

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 35g 54%

Saturated Fat: 17g 85%

Cholesterol: 85mg 28%

Sodium: 260mg 11%

Total Carbohydrates: 49g 16%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 27g

Protein: 3g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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