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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Have you ever made an icebox cake? What is your favorite kind?
- 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
- 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
- Core, peel and dice apples into about 1/4″ cubes.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add the apples, water, brown sugar and cinnamon. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the apples begin to soften.
- 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.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Place a layer of graham crackers on the bottom of an 8 or 9″ square dish.
- Beat cream cheese until it is creamy and lump free. Add the sugar and beat until well mixed.
- 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.
- Spread half of the cream cheese mixture over the graham crackers. Spread about 1/3 of the apple mixture over the filling.
- Top with the remaining graham crackers, then the remaining cream cheese mixture. Finish with the remaining apples.
- Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
- Serve and enjoy!
Keep any leftover icebox cake covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
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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.