Oh-So-Creamy Coconut Icebox Cake Dessert


Oh-So-Creamy Coconut Icebox Cake Dessert

An updated version of the original Lady Bird Johnson (LBJ) Icebox Pudding Cake

 

My mother always called this her “Yummy Dessert” and it was a delicious staple of spring and summer family get-togethers during the 70s at our house! Sadly, the recipe went missing for many years until I was recently given an old family cookbook put together by my cousin, Anna Renner, when she was teenager! Lo and behold–there it was! After finding a similar recipe in my husband’s old bachelor recipe collection titled, “LBJ Cake.”

I did a little research and found out that Lady Bird Johnson, First Lady of the U.S., was a renowned cook in her day but that her version of this recipe originally used a butter pecan “Jello” brand pudding–researched that too and found that its no longer in production!

Ever noticed that the men in your life seem to just adore anything coconut? It seems to have the same effect on the male of our species that chocolate has on women! This is not a really sweet dessert and since we favor flavor over syrupy sweet in our house, my version adds a little salt and sugar to the walnut shortbread crust, coconut milk, half and half and rum with coconut liquor to the ingredients in the pudding layer and a cup of crispy toasted coconut to the “Cool Whip” topping finish–concentrating the coconut flavor and giving some texture and color to a truly decadent dessert!

This is the perfect dessert for get-togethers of all kinds and will quickly become one of your most frequently requested recipes!

Oh-So-Creamy Coconut Icebox Cake Dessert

Ingredients

Shopping List 

Non-stick cooking spray

½ c. salted butter, room temperature

1 ¼ c. English walnut chunks, crushed (1 c. crushed)

1 c. All Purpose flour

2 t. sugar

Pinch of kosher salt

1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, room temperature

1 c. powdered sugar

1 t. vanilla extract

1-8 oz. package of “Cool Whip” (1 of 2   8 oz. pkgs)*

1-3.4 oz package of French vanilla instant pudding (I use “Jell-O” brand)

1-3.4 oz package of coconut cream instant pudding (I use “Jell-O” brand)

1 1/2 c. half and half

1 c. coconut milk (in the dairy section of the grocery store. I use “Blue Diamond” brand)

1 c. sweetened, flaked coconut (I use “Baker’s Angel Flake”) (1 of 2 cups)*

3 Tablespoons of rum flavored with coconut liqueur (I use “Malibu”)

1 c. sweetened, flaked coconut (I use “Baker’s Angel Flake) (2 of 2 cups)*

1-8 oz. pkg of “Cool Whip” (2 of 2   8 oz. pkgs)*

 

Instructions

Layer 1: Walnut Shortbread Crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray the bottom ONLY of a glass or ceramic 9 X 13 baking pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a large bowl add:

1/2 c. salted butter, at room temperature

In a medium bowl whisk together dry ingredients:

1 1/4 scant c. English walnuts, crushed in a zip top bag using the smooth side of a mallet (with small pea size chunks of nut still visible)—about 1 c. crushed walnuts

1 c. all purpose flour

2 teaspoons sugar

Pinch of kosher salt (anything other than kosher salt can make this too salty)

Add the whisked dry ingredients to the large bowl and then cut in the room temperature butter using a large fork or pastry cutter. Once the ingredients have started to come together, knead the mixture together using use clean hands and fingers until the mixture comes together into a large, loosely formed ball.

Pat the mixture evenly across the sprayed bottom of the baking pan using the tips of your fingers first and then gently tamping the crust down using the back of a large spoon—once I’ve got it relatively evenly distributed across the bottom, I dampen the bottom of the spoon and then smooth the surface while ensuring a relatively straight line of crust on the sides. Because this is a beautiful layered dessert you want to pay attention to the sides and evenness of your layers to ensure that the final dessert presentation is at its best—slice after slice.

Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 15 minutes and remove immediately.

Cool the crust completely or until the crust and the pan are absolutely cool to the touch–about 30 minutes

 

Layer 2: Cream Cheese 

Whip together with an electric mixer on high:

1-8 oz. package of cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Add in using low/med speed on the electric mixer:

1-8 oz. package of Cool Whip, thawed in the refrigerator

Spread evenly on the cooled shortbread crust, ensuring that you seal the cream cheese mixture against the sides of the pan and refrigerate until ready to add the next layer.

Tip! Use a damp cloth or paper towel to go around the edges and ensure that they are straight and clean—ready for the next layer.

 

Layer 3: Coconut Cream Pudding

In a large bowl add:

1-3.4 oz package of french vanilla instant pudding (I use “Jell-O” brand)

1-3.4 oz package of coconut cream instant pudding (I use “Jell-O” brand)

Add:

1 1/2 c. half and half

1 c. coconut milk (in the dairy section of your grocery store. I use “Blue Diamond” brand)

1 c. sweetened, flaked coconut (I use “Baker’s Angel Flake” brand)

3 Tablespoons of rum flavored with coconut liqueur (I use “Malibu” brand)

Whip ingredients together using the med/high speed of an electric mixer for two minutes–scraping sides with a silicone spatula frequently.

Pour over cream cheese layer, leveling with a spoon or spatula evenly while ensuring the pudding seals to the sides of the pan. 

Tip! Use a damp cloth or paper towel to go around the edges and ensure that they are straight and clean—ready for the next layer.

Refrigerate for about 10 minutes or until pudding is set.

Meanwhile…

Layer 4: Swirled “Cool Whip” Dazzled with Toasted Coconut

Toast 1 c. of the sweetened, flaked coconut in a non-stick pan over medium heat, stirring and flipping constantly with a silicone spatula until most bits are light caramel and some bits are a rich dark brown caramel and crispy–do not scorch! If you scorch even a tiny bit you will need to start over–the entire batch will taste burnt.

Remove from heat immediately and pour toasted coconut on a cool (room temperature) plate to stop the cooking. Cool completely–about 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature or about ten in the refrigerator.

Spoon on and spread the entire contents of an 8 oz. container of thawed “Cool Whip” on the third/coconut cream/French vanilla pudding layer once completely chilled and set. Spread the whipped topping as evenly as possibly, sealing the topping to the pan sides as you go.

Once thoroughly and evenly spread, use a small flatware teaspoon, swirling with the tip of the tip of the spoon in clockwise and counter-clockwise curls across the top.

Sprinkle the cooled crispy, toasted coconut evenly across the top of the swirled whipped topping.

Cover and refrigerate until serving.

About 12 three inch square servings.

Doubles and triples beautifully.