Julianna Strickland


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lemon icebox cake

julianna strickland lemon sunshine icebox cake 1

I've always been fascinated with vintage everything: dresses, movies, cars, cookbooks, pyrex, photographs, the list is practically endless.  In line with this is my particular fascination with vintage recipes.  While a lot of recipes from the 50's & 60's are unquestionably gross (fish infused gelatin, lobster relish, frozen cheese: I rest my case), there are some pretty delish ones too.  I decided I wanted to try a lemon icebox cake because I love lemons and also because yellow is cute and honestly those were enough reasons. Since I'd never made an icebox cake before, I did a ton of research and spent a whole weekend recipe testing to create a cake I'd be proud of (and want to eat!). I tried out a few different flavor combinations and tons of different cookies.  The results?  Nilla wafers were too thick, lemon cookie thins lost their zing when paired with lemon whipped cream, and graham crackers (though I love them on their own) were a little bland.  So what was the winning combination?!

julianna strickland lemon sunshine icebox cake

Drumroll please.... the winning combo was: LEMON MASCARPONE WHIPPED CREAM + GINGER WHIPPED CREAM + GINGER COOKE THINS!  What results is a dessert that is equal parts tart, sweet and spicy, and 100% perfect for summer parties.  I hope you love making this as much as I did, and if you make it for your summer parties, share with me on my instagram or facebook pages!

And the winning cookie is....TRADER JOE'S COOKIE THINGS in TRIPLE GINGER (don't fret, if you don't live near a Trader Joe's Anna's ginger things are equally delish and available all over the country!
lemon sunshine icebox cake julianna strickland


Ginger Syrup:

  • 1 ½ cups fresh ginger, roughly peeled & chopped (it’s ok if a little skin is left on the ginger)

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 cups water

  • Pinch of salt

Lemon Whipped Cream:

  • 2 cups chilled whipping cream

  • ½ cup powdered sugar

  • 8 oz mascarpone

  • 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons limoncello (if not using limoncello, substitute with one more tablespoon of lemon juice)

  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest

  • Yellow food coloring (I used 3 tablespoons of my yellow turmeric food coloring)

  • Pinch of salt

Ginger Whipped Cream:

  • 2 cups chilled whipping cream

  • 3/4 cup ginger syrup

  • Pinch of salt

Two boxes thin ginger cookies (I used Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Thins, but I also like Anna’s Ginger Thins)

Whipped Cream Topping:

  • 2 cups chilled whipping cream

  • ¼ cup powdered sugar

  • Pinch of salt

Candied lemon slices (i like these sweetened dried ones from Trader Joe’s)

Fresh mint leaves


Turmeric Food Coloring

  • 2 cups water

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 4 teaspoons ground turmeric

(To make this, combine the water, sugar, and turmeric in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down and simmer until the mixture has reduced in half, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Strain and refrigerate.)


  1. Make the ginger syrup.  Combine the ginger, sugar, water, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 50 minutes and set aside to cool. Strain and refrigerate.

  2. Once the ginger syrup has completely cooled, line the sides of a 10” round springform pan with parchment (use a little cooking spray to help it stick to the pan).  Place a 10” cardboard cake round in the bottom of the pan and set aside. (note: this will work with an 8” or 9” springform pan too, the cake will just be a little taller!)

  3. Make the lemon mascarpone cream.  Combine the whipping cream and powdered sugar in a chilled bowl and whip on medium until soft peaks form.  With the mixer still running on low, add in the mascarpone, lemon juice, limoncello, lemon zest, food coloring and salt.  Turn up the speed and mix on medium until stiff peaks are formed. Cover and refrigerate.

  4. Make the ginger whipped cream.  Combine the whipping cream, ¾ cup of the cooled ginger syrup, and a pinch of salt in a chilled bowl and whip on medium until soft peaks form.   

  5. Layer your cake! In your prepared pan, arrange a single layer of cookies on the bottom. Using an offset spatula, spread a layer of lemon whipped cream over the cookies.  Cover the lemon cream with more cookies, followed by a layer of the ginger whipped cream. Continue this pattern until you’ve used all of your lemon & ginger whipped creams.  Cover tightly with food wrap and place in the freezer. Freeze for 3 hours or overnight.

  6. An hour before you’re ready to serve the cake, take it out of the freezer.  Remove the sides of the springform pan and let the cake begin to thaw on the countertop.  If necessary, smooth the sides out with an offset spatula.

  7. Make the whipped cream topping.  Combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt in a chilled bowl and whip on medium until soft peaks form.

  8. Top the cake with the whipped cream (pile it on high!).  Decorate with candied lemon slices and fresh mint leaves.  Serve immediately!

NOTE: If you want the cake the slice perfectly, put it back in the freezer for an hour before you slice it.  The cake tastes better slightly thawed, though, so let the pieces sit out for half an hour or so before serving.

NOTE #2: You’ll have some ginger syrup left over.  LUCKY YOU. Add it to sparkling water, ice cream, hot tea, etc.