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Caramel Apple Icebox Cake

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No bake caramel apple icebox cake is a perfect way to transition to fall flavors without heating up the house. The vanilla cream cheese filling, Graham crackers and cinnamon brown sugar apples come together to make the perfect easy dessert.

close up slice of icebox cake with layers of graham crackers, fluffy cream cheese filling and cinnamon spiced caramelized apples with apples in the background.

Get a fabulous fall dessert on the table without turning on the oven! Layers of Graham crackers, creamy vanilla filling and apples quickly caramelized in a skillet are married into one beautiful sweet treat. This icebox cake is a fun and easy make ahead dessert.

Icebox cakes are nothing new, people have been layering whipped cream and chocolate wafer cookies together and letting them meld into a sliceable “cake” for decades. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be updated and made fresh and fun again.

This caramel apple icebox cake is basically a no bake cheesecake masquerading as a refrigerator cake. In fact, I almost made it as a cheesecake but decided layering whole Graham crackers would be both more fun and less work.

bite of creamy caramel apple icebox cake on fork, ready to eat.

In my book that is what we call a double win. And winning is what we like to do so we took the shortcut and ran away with the culinary victory! 👑

Making The Cinnamon Caramel Apple Bits

You want to make the apple mixture first so that it has time to cool down a bit before you start layering. Prepping the apples is the most time consuming part of the whole recipe, but it is totally worth the effort.

diced apples cooked in brown sugar and cinnamon for the caramel apple topping.

Once the apples are cored, peeled and chopped it is time to turn them into heaven.  A little butter, brown sugar and cinnamon helps take them to that next level.

After they are softened and aromatic, thicken the sauce a bit and stir in some vanilla. It is going to be hard not to eat them out of the pan, but try to resist.

Now set those beautiful caramelized apples aside and let them come to room temperature. It’s time to start assembling your layers of apple yum yum.

If you are in a hurry and don’t have time, you can use a can of apple pie filling in a pinch. However, making this apple mixture is totally worth the little bit of extra time and effort.

Assembling the Refrigerator Cake

First form the bottom layer of crust by placing whole graham crackers in the square baking dish.

fluffy cream cheese whipped cream filling in mixer bowl for refrigerator cake.

Next whip together some softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. For a little bit of extra visual appeal, use vanilla bean paste so you get the flecks of vanilla bean throughout.

After the cream cheese mixture is super smooth, drizzle in the cream slowly with the mixer running at medium high speed. I much prefer this method to whipping the cream separately and folding it in.

It not only saves steps but dirty dishes too.  That is another win-win proposition for sure!

first piece of no bake caramel apple yum yum on plate in front of pan of remaining dessert.

Now layer some fluffy vanilla cream cheese goodness on those graham crackers. Top it with a bit of your sauteed apples.

Repeat the layers using the rest of the ingredients and you are done! You could dive in now, but the graham crackers will be crunchy and hard to cut.

If you want to be able to serve pieces that hold their shape, you are going to want to chill it for a couple of hours or overnight. It is an icebox cake after all, so it should see the inside of your refrigerator!

A nice long chill allows the cookies to soften a bit and the filling to set up. Then you will be able to get peek enjoyment out of your tasty dessert.

Eat it as is or drizzle with a bit of caramel sauce for an extra decadent treat!

Fun ways to switch up this apple icebox cake recipe

  • Use gingersnaps instead of graham crackers.
  • Use vanilla wafers instead of graham crackers.
  • For a more spiced flavor throughout, beat a half teaspoon of cinnamon and dash of nutmeg into the cream cheese mixture.
  • If you don’t have apples, use pears or peaches.

More Great No Bake Fall Desserts

No bake pumpkin cheesecake is another fabulous way to get fall flavors on the table without using the oven. I piped cream cheese whipped cream rosettes on it which makes it look extra festive without a ton of effort.

Pumpkin patch dirt pudding cups are ready for a trip to the pumpkin patch. They are super easy to put together and there’s a cute free printable that makes them extra fun. They’d be great for classroom parties or pumpkin carving get togethers.  

No bake apple pie looks like another delicious fall dessert. I think we should all put it on our must try list! 

piece of no bake cheesecake style caramel apple icebox cake

Have you ever made an icebox cake? What is your favorite kind?

If you want to see some of my favorite kitchen tools and gadgets, check out my Amazon shop page. There are great pans, appliances, and more!

Yield: 9 Servings

Caramel Apple Icebox Cake

first piece of no bake caramel apple yum yum on plate in front of pan of remaining dessert.

This layered no bake treat is a perfect way to transition to fall flavors when you still don't want to turn on your oven. Fresh apples are cooked in brown sugar and cinnamon until they are caramelly and delicious. Then they are layered with a fluffy cream cheese mixture and cookies to make a perfectly creamy dessert.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

Caramel Apples

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 5 medium apples
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icebox Cake

  • 8 ounces of graham crackers
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream – chilled
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

Caramel Apples

  1. Core, peel and dice apples into about 1/4″ cubes.
  2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
  3. Add the apples, water, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Simmer for about 5 minutes until the apples begin to soften.
  4. Make slurry of the cornstarch and a tablespoon or two of water. Pour into the warm apples and cook stirring until thickened, about 2 minutes. 
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. 
  6. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature. 

Assembly

  1. Place a layer of graham crackers on the bottom of an 8 or 9″ square dish.
  2. Beat cream cheese until it is creamy and lump free. Add the sugar and beat until well mixed.
  3. With the mixer running on medium-high speed, slowly drizzle in the cream. Continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
  4. Spread half of the cream cheese mixture over the graham crackers.  Spread about 1/3 of the apple mixture over the filling.
  5. Top with the remaining graham crackers, then the remaining cream cheese mixture. Finish with the remaining apples. 
  6. Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Keep any leftover icebox cake covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 538Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 243mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 3gSugar: 37gProtein: 5g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

This layered no bake treat is a perfect way to transition to fall flavors when you still don't want to turn on your oven. Fresh apples are cooked in brown sugar and cinnamon until they are caramelly and delicious. Then they are layered with a fluffy cream cheese mixture and cookies to make a perfectly creamy dessert.


Thanks for sharing!

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Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies

Sunday 6th of October 2019

This is the perfect fall dessert!

Carlee

Thursday 26th of September 2019

Thank you!

Valentina

Tuesday 24th of September 2019

This looks like such a light and fresh apple dessert! Perfect for a hot fall day.

Carlee

Thursday 26th of September 2019

Thank you

Camilla M. Mann

Tuesday 24th of September 2019

I have never had an icebox cake. Never even heard of an icebox cake. Thanks for the education...and the recipe!

Carlee

Thursday 26th of September 2019

They are so easy to put together and the flavor combinations are endless!

Amy

Monday 23rd of September 2019

Yes please! Even though the weather has gotten a little cooler, this caramel apple icebox cake sounds so delightful. I kind of like your idea of using gingersnaps instead of graham crackers for a change. I think that I'm going to have to try that.

Carlee

Thursday 26th of September 2019

I think they would be a lovely swap and add a whole extra layer of flavor

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