Recipe Review

Martha Stewart’s Strawberry-and-Cream Stack Cake Is the Perfect No-Bake Summer Dessert

published Sep 3, 2021
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Credit: Amelia Rampe

This summer, I haven’t wanted to turn on my oven at all. So when I came across Martha Stewart’s no-bake strawberries-and-cream stack cake, I was immediately intrigued. It looked to be an easy, showstopping dessert that wouldn’t heat up my kitchen in the height of the summer.

The recipe was written by longtime Martha Stewart food editor Greg Lofts. He calls this cake “tiramisu’s enchanting summery sister,” and he is totally right. Think of it like a free-form tiramisu — all the same rules apply, but you’ll use strawberries instead of coffee, mascarpone whipped cream instead of zabaglione, and a bright lemon soaking syrup to tenderize all those lady fingers.

Step 1: Make the Whipped Cream and Syrup

You’ll start by making the soaking syrup. Combine granulated sugar and water in a saucepan, then bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup begins to turn amber. Remove from the heat and immediately add lemon zest, lemon juice, and cold water. (Be careful, as it will bubble and splatter for a moment). Stir until the mixture forms a syrup again, then let cool.

For the whipped cream, whisk together mascarpone, heavy cream, powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Spread a small amount of whipped cream onto the platter to act as glue.

Step 2: Assemble!

Dip 10 store-bought ladyfingers into the lemon syrup so that they’re completely coated, then let the excess drip off. Snuggly line the ladyfingers in a row on the platter over the whipped cream “glue.” Spread one-third of the remaining whipped cream over top of the ladyfingers, then top with hulled and thinly sliced strawberries. Repeat dipping the remaining 20 ladyfingers and layering with whipped cream and strawberries. Cover the cake loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.


Credit: Amelia Rampe

My Honest Review of Martha Stewart’s Stack Cake

Picture this: It’s one of the hottest days of summer and I don’t have a dinner plan. We come home hungry after running errands, I run to the fridge in search of something to satiate my hunger, and sitting on the top shelf is the strawberry stack cake. I reach for it, grab a fork, and devour not one but two pieces of the cold cake for dinner. No regrets.

This is the perfect no-bake summer dessert. It has a dramatic presentation while being delicious, cool, and refreshing. It’s easy to prepare and assemble — the hardest part is waiting for the ladyfingers to soak overnight. But the wait is so worth it.

I also love how easily you can play with this dessert. Try it with cherries or peaches, or add different flavors to the simple syrup. I can’t wait to try it with Edna Lewis’ guava syrup and layer it with coconut whipped cream and tropical fruit. However you make it, it’s sure to impress.