No-bake biscuit cakes (also known as ice box cakes) are the epitome of Israeli “baking” — though there’s no actual baking involved. Instead, petit beurre (also known as tea biscuits) are softened in milk and layered in a baking dish with a creamy filling that’s typically made with whipped cream, gvina levana (a soft cheese in the yogurt family), and instant pudding mix. It’s rare to find an Israeli household without their own version in their culinary repertoire.
Created by pastry chef Michal Goldberger for Cafe Asif’s nostalgic desserts project, this one incorporates ricotta cheese infused with vanilla and lemon zest, resulting in a delightfully rich texture and flavor. It’s perfect for summer.
Plus, try Goldberg’s version of Hana Shaulov’s iconic meringue cream cake.
17.6 oz (500 grams) petit beurre biscuits
1 cup milk
For the ricotta filling:
1 ½ cups (370 grams) milk
1 lemon, zested
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
4 oz (120 grams) instant vanilla pudding mix
9 oz (250 grams) ricotta
2 ¾ cups heavy cream
1½ cups (180 grams) powdered sugar
3½ oz (100 grams) milk chocolate
- Prepare the ricotta filling: Place the milk, lemon zest, and vanilla paste or extract in a small pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Strain the milk and refrigerate until cool (do not skip the refrigeration!).
- Using a whisk or a stick blender, beat the instant pudding powder, refrigerated milk and ricotta to a smooth cream.
- Place the heavy cream and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat to stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the ricotta mixture, one-third at a time.
- Assemble the cake: Pour a glass of milk into a shallow bowl. Dip the biscuits in the milk just until slightly soft and lay them in a single layer on the bottom of the baking pan. Spread half of the cream on top of the biscuits and smooth into an even layer using a spatula. Add another layer of biscuits and smooth the remaining cream over the top.
- Using a microplane, grate the milk chocolate on top in an even layer and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. The cake will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.