This no-cook dessert, studded with both fresh and frozen fruit, is the perfect summer treat

"Frozen strawberries and a store bought pound cake make putting this together a cinch . . ."

By Bibi Hutchings


Published August 10, 2023 3:01PM (EDT)

Strawberry Parfait with Pound Cake and Whipped Cream (Getty Images/rudisill)
Strawberry Parfait with Pound Cake and Whipped Cream (Getty Images/rudisill)

In "Bibi's Gulf Coast Kitchen," columnist Bibi Hutchings takes you on a culinary journey across the coastal south. Come for the great food writing, stay for the delicious recipes.

Like your favorite strawberry lemonade, this refreshing dessert (or maybe even breakfast?!) is loaded with berries and sweetened just enough to balance the bright, tangy, fresh lemon juice squeezed into the creamy final layer. The brilliant part of this stellar creation is ten to fifteen minutes of prep time yields what tastes like hours of effort.

Frozen strawberries and a store bought pound cake make putting this together a cinch and it is truly a crowd pleaser. 

This old standby has been around a long time and has evolved over the years from the original.

By the time I inherited it, the angel food cake — what makes up the base — had been changed to pound cake (probably because my mother was not an angel food fan). The frozen strawberries were no longer the syrupy-sweet boxed variety, but rather just simple, unadulterated, bagged, frozen berries. And the amount of condensed milk had been drastically cut, thank goodness! This updated version that I am sharing with you is delicious and amazingly easy.

Over the years I made my own changes to this recipe by increasing the amount of lemon juice to give it more zing and substituting canned coconut condensed milk, a product that is becoming increasingly more common to find. I really prefer it to traditional sweetened condensed milk.

The strawberry-lemon combination is my favorite for summer, but you can change the fruit to anything you like to make it fit any season. As it is, it could not be more perfect for these hot, humid dog-days (and evenings) we are having under the incessant heat dome plaguing so much of the country right now. 

According to preference, you can serve this cold from the refrigerator or barely thawed from the freezer. If choosing the latter, set it out for about twenty minutes so that it isn't hard-frozen. I don't know which I prefer, the chilled or the frozen, but generally choose the colder option when making it in the summer months. I believe these flavors work for anytime of the year and because you use frozen berries, there is no fussing about trying to find fresh.

This is one of those keep-in-your-back-pocket desserts; it's ready when you are since you can keep the ingredients on hand easily without fear of spoilage. You can whip it up in a moments notice, which makes it ideal for unexpected company. (Actually, you will need at least a two hour's notice to account for that minimum amount of chill time.)

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If, like me, you live where triple digit heat indexes have been the norm for many weeks now, this dessert may well be life-affirming and rejuvenating. I can attest to its curative qualities as I am now convinced the harsh sun rays and excessive heat are about to push me to my limits. My everyday tasks have become more akin to what I think running a marathon might feel like in this weather and this dessert has been a lifesaver through pure pleasure and great flavor.     

This recipe is easily doubled for a crowd, but don't necessarily double the lemon juice without tasting it as you go. This is a wonderful finish to a meal of fresh summer veggies or a big salad. It is cooling and revitalizing. 

Recently, my friend sent over a study about how this kind of prolonged heat can trigger its own SAD (seasonal affective disorder). One of the reasons cited is that it produces some of the same physical symptoms as panic and anxiety: profuse sweating, rapid heartbeat and the like. I know my own racing, negative thoughts have gone up as I worry nearly constantly that our air conditioning may go out. 

Additionally, I have taken on what feels like a part time job replenishing our birdbaths and filling and refilling deep tubs of water outside to ensure our wildlife has access to something to drink. As my husband says sympathetically, "It's got to be hard being you," always mothering and worrying over creatures you cannot in any way save or control. I am sensitive to a fault and have been told throughout my life, but that is who I am. I guess I will go down trying! 

Regardless, I hope you love this "cold cake" as much as I do. Let it take you away  at least for a little while  from your cares, concerns and worries. And in case no one else reminds you, don't forget to stay hydrated and avoid prolonged exposure out in this heat!

Strawberry-Lemon Cold Cake
8 to 12 servings
Prep Time
15 minutes, plus refrigeration or freezing time


1 pound cake, store bought or bake your own

4 to 5 ounces cream cheese (about half a block)

8 ounces condensed milk

Juice of 3 to 4 lemons, zested

1 bag of frozen strawberries, thawed

1 to 2 tablespoons sugar, optional

Chopped fresh strawberries, for garnish, optional



  1. Slice thawed berries and place into a bowl along with some with some of their juice. Optional: Sprinkle sugar over berries and allow time for sugar to dissolve. 

  2. Cut pound cake into bite size pieces and place in a 9" or 10" square baking dish. 

  3. Using a blender or mixer, thoroughly mix/blend cream cheese, condensed milk and lemon juice.

  4. Sprinkle sliced strawberries and juice over cake pieces.

  5. Pour blended mixture over strawberries and cake. Cover and refrigerate at least a few hours before serving. Or place in the freezer if you'd like to try the frozen option.

  6. To serve, if frozen, set out for about 20 min to thaw a bit; otherwise, remove from refrigerator and spoon into shallow dishes and top with whipped cream if desired.

  7. Garnish with grated lemon zest and chopped fresh strawberries (if in season). 

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Cook's Notes

-Use thawed frozen fruit rather than fresh. Once thawed, the fruit is softer than fresh and that is the preferred texture for this cake.

-The condensed milk is sweet, so adding additional sugar to your thawing berries might make it too sweet for your taste.

-Give coconut condensed milk a try if you haven't already. I much prefer it in this recipe.

-As mentioned, the original recipe called for angel food cake as the base; feel free to try that if you prefer it to pound cake.

By Bibi Hutchings

Bibi Hutchings, a lifelong Southerner, lives along a quiet coastal Alabama bay with her cat, Zulu, and husband, Tom. She writes about the magical way food evokes memories, instantly bringing you back to the people, places and experiences of your life. Her stories take you all around the South and are accompanied with tried-and-true recipes that are destined to become a part of your memory-making as you share them with your friends and family.         

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Cooking Dessert Food Frozen Fruit Pound Cake