3 No-Bake Ref Cakes You Should Have in Your Fridge

These no-bake ref cakes come together with cookies, fruits and Nestlé All-Purpose Cream whipped to fluffy perfection.
4–6 servings
Wait Time
24 Hrs
Active Time
30 Mins

Baking in the summer can sound as fun as going to Boracay in full HeatTech. Turning the oven on in this weather? No thanks. We’re making ref cakes instead.

Also known as icebox cakes, ref cakes let your refrigerator do all the work. You layer whipped cream and cookies in a deep dish, then pop that into the fridge to chill for several hours. The whipped cream softens the cookies into cake-like layers, ready to slice and serve at your next family getaway.

Made with Nestlé All-Purpose Cream, these three ref cakes will keep you cool all summer, if not all year:

  • Mango Float
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Tiramisu
  • Cheat Banoffee Pie

Mango Float

You can’t talk about ref cakes without mentioning the Philippines’ unofficial national dessert: mango float. Also called mango royale or mango graham cake, this dessert layers whipped cream, graham crackers, and sweet, ripe mangoes. So easy, anyone can make it!


  • 5 ripe yellow mangoes
  • 20–30 graham crackers
  • 3 cups Nestlé All-Purpose Cream
  • 1 ½ cup condensed milk

Chill mixing bowl: Store mixing bowl in the freezer until chilled, about 20 minutes. A cold bowl will help with making whipped cream.


Prepare mangoes: While chilling your bowl, prepare your fruit. Peel mangoes and slice the cheeks away from the pith. Dice 3 mangoes into ½-inch cubes for the filling; cut the rest into thin slices for the topping. Set aside.


Prepare cream layer: Get your cold bowl from the freezer and pour in Nestlé All-Purpose Cream. Using a balloon whisk in your dominant hand, whip side to side in short strokes—this incorporates air much faster into your cream. Use your other hand to slowly turn the bowl as you whip. Continue whipping until you get medium peaks, about 5–7 minutes.

Add condensed milk to the whipped cream. Switch to a spatula and gently fold the milk into the cream, careful not to deflate the mixture.


Assemble: Prepare a 9x13” glass or ceramic casserole dish. Spread a thin layer of cream onto the bottom of the dish. Arrange graham crackers into a single even layer, breaking them as needed to fill in the gaps. Spread about 1 ½ cup of the cream mixture on top of the crackers in an even layer. Scatter half of the diced mangoes on top of the cream. Continue layering with remaining graham crackers, cream mixture, and diced mangoes, ending with cream at the top of the dish.

Arrange thinly sliced mangoes on top of the cream, forming neat, diagonal rows of fruit starting from the top right corner of the dish. Continue arranging mangoes in overlapping rows until the top is fully covered with fruit.


Chill and set: Carefully cover the mango float with plastic wrap. Transfer to the fridge to set overnight. Slice and serve cold.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Tiramisu

Inspired by New York’s Maman, this tiramisu swaps out the ladyfingers or broas for chocolate chip cookies. When soaked in coffee, the cookies turn into cakey, chocolate-studded layers nestled between duvets of tangy cream.


  • 1 block (226g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Nestlé All-Purpose Cream
  • 20 pcs chocolate chip cookies
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
  • cocoa powder, for serving

Chill mixing bowl: Store mixing bowl in the freezer until chilled, about 20 minutes. A cold bowl will help with making whipped cream.


Prepare cream cheese base: Combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract in a separate mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip mixture on low speed. Switch to a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time. Continue whipping until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Set aside.


Whip cream: Once your bowl is chilled, add 1 cup Nestlé All-Purpose Cream and whip with your hand mixer on medium-low speed. Once cream thickens, increase speed to medium until stiff peaks form. To test stiff peaks, lift your beater—the cream on the whisk should have a peak standing straight up, like a hat.

Switch to a spatula and add a bit of cream cheese mixture to the whipped cream. Fold to combine without deflating the cream. Continue adding cream cheese in increments until you have a smooth, creamy, homogeneous mixture.


Assemble: Prepare a small baking dish (we used a 6-inch square dish). Spread a thin layer of cream at the bottom of the dish. Arrange chocolate chip cookies in an even layer, breaking them into smaller pieces to fill in the gaps. Spoon coffee mixture over the cookies until soaked but not drowning in a pool (see Recipe Note). Add an even layer of cream over the cookies.

Continue layering with remaining cookies, coffee, and cream until the dish is filled, ending with cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours. Serve chilled with dusted cocoa powder on top.


Why do we spoon the coffee over the cookies? Some chocolate chip cookies, especially if you're using store-bought, can soften and disintegrate quickly when soaked in coffee. Test your cookies first, to be sure!

We recommend using home-baked cookies over commercial store-bought cookies.

Cheat Banoffee Pie

To make a banoffee pie, you have to ask yourself: Are you emotionally ready to make dulce de leche?

Simmering a can of condensed milk for 8 hours isn’t the hard part—for dulce de leche beginners, it’s the anxiety you get until it’s over. While simmering, the can has to stay submerged in water the entire time. If you get careless and the water level drops, your condensed milk can overheat, turn into a bomb, and possibly explode.

This is banoffee pie for the risk-averse. Instead of dulce de leche, this recipe uses a stovetop banana jam. Make a dry caramel, stir in banana slices, and ta-da: a chunky fruit layer hugged by gooey caramel, to nestle between a graham crust and fluffy whipped cream. Not quite like dulce de leche, but hey, no fear of explosions!

Graham Crust

  • 15 pieces graham crackers
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

Banana Filling

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup Nestle All Purpose Cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2–3 medium bananas, sliced

Whipped Cream

  • 3 cups Nestlé All-Purpose Cream, chilled
  • ½ cup white sugar

For Serving

  • cocoa powder or dark chocolate shavings

Chill mixing bowl: Store mixing bowl in the freezer until chilled, about 20 minutes. A cold bowl will help with making whipped cream.


Prepare crust: Add graham crackers to a large Ziploc bag. Use a rolling pin, mallet, or any heavy object to pound the crackers into fine crumbs. Add graham cracker crumbs to a bowl with melted butter and brown sugar. Stir to combine. You can also do this step in one go with a food processor.

Add graham mixture to a pie plate or casserole dish. With the bottom of your hand or a measuring cup, press the mixture down onto the dish, spreading out and packing the graham down in an even layer. If you have enough crumbs, you can spread the crumbs up to the edges. Transfer to the refrigerator to set.


Make banana filling: Heat a heavy-bottomed saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add sugar and cook, stirring from time to time with a spatula, until it slowly dissolves and caramelizes, about 4–5 minutes. Once the liquid turns a caramelly golden brown, add Nestlé All-Purpose Cream. The sugar will bubble up for a bit, but will eventually calm down. Stir in vanilla extract and salt. Stir in sliced bananas to coat. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.


Whip cream: Add Nestlé All-Purpose Cream and sugar to your chilled bowl. Whip by hand or with a mixer until you get stiff peaks.


Assemble pie: Take out your pie plate or casserole dish with the graham crust. Spoon and evenly spread banana filling over the graham layer. Top banana filling with whipped cream. Transfer to the fridge to chill 4 hours to overnight. Serve cold with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings on top.


You can whisk a bit of instant coffee powder into the whipped cream, too!

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