There are a lot of things that will put weight on you fast junk food, fast food, and pretty much anything containing high-fructose corn syrup. You can avoid most of these pretty easily. Read labels. Make your own lunch. That kind of thing. But there's one calorie-heavy treat that, at least for me, is as about as easy to resist as a sack of free money: the icebox cake.
An icebox cake is an irresistible temptation. It's a symbol of compulsion. It's the kryptonite in Superman's diet.
I first encountered icebox cake way back in the '70s we were visiting relatives, and found my cousin Nancy in the kitchen making one. I helped her sprinkle the graham crackers on top when the cake was about done, and that was all she wrote. I'm not sure anyone else got a chance to see the completed product before I'd eaten a good hunk of it.
After that experience, I habitually pestered my mother, my grandmother, my aunt - pretty much anyone who knew the way to the kitchen - to make this treat for me. Thanks, Cousin Nancy, for turning a skinny kid with good eating habits into an icebox-cake addicted adult with man-boobs. Not that I have any regrets.
Those of you who don't already know what icebox cake is are probably thinking, Cmon already! Tell us what icebox cake is and what makes it worth the cost of bigger pants! Im glad you asked.
Icebox cake is so simple to make that youll end up making two the first time you try it one that you'll compulsively devour, and one to show people when they ask, "What happened to that icebox cake you were going to make?" Part of the glory of icebox cake is that theres no baking necessary (hence the name). You just assemble it and put it in the refrigerator to set. Ingredients? Just chocolate pudding, graham crackers and bananas. But not since Groucho, Chico, and Harpo have a trio gone so well together!
The results are so delicious that once you've tried it you'll find yourself sitting in front of the television, dreaming of icebox cake, with no idea what just happened on CSI.
I'd like take a little detour here and point out that graham crackers were invented by Sylvester Graham, a Presbyterian minister. They were intended to be a health food. Graham also recommended hard mattresses, open bedroom windows, chastity, and cold showers. My guess is that one good icebox cake would have loosened him up a bit.
Now, returning to the kitchen, a note on pudding: Despite what Bill Cosby may tell you, the only chocolate pudding worthy of this recipe is My-T-Fine brand, which, incidentally, was the first brand of packaged pudding in the United States. You just can't get better than the original.
Can you experiment with the recipe, perhaps adding other ingredients? Sure. But adding anything to icebox cake is like putting a little outfit on your dog - it takes time, isn't necessary, and makes everyone who sees it a little uncomfortable.
Makes two 8 x 10 trays
1 box (14.4 ounce) Nabisco Grahams (original)
8 - 3 1/8 ounce packages of My-T-Fine chocolate pudding mix
Follow the directions for pudding on the My-T-Fine box. Line each Pyrex dish with graham crackers. With a ladle, add a layer of chocolate pudding. Spread thinly sliced banana on top of the pudding layer. Add another layer of Graham crackers, pudding, and banana then repeat steps, ending with a layer of pudding on top (bananas will turn brown if left in the open, so its better to keep them al inside your cake). In a food processor, grind up some more graham crackers and garnish each tray with the crumbs.
When the whole works are assembled, call me!