Olivia Potts

Refrigerator cake is cold, easy and delicious

  • From Spectator Life

I don’t know about you, but my brain has felt like soup for the last week. If I were to see you in real life, I would probably say to you ‘My brain feels like soup; does yours?’ and then ten minutes later I’d ask the same question, because my brain is soup and I am incapable of normal human behaviour. I am, it turns out, not made for heat. Or at least, not made for it in a context where I’m required to work and commute and make decisions and reply sensibly to emails, rather than lie in the shade on a sun lounger reading a trashy book until it’s time to go out for dinner and cocktails.

In England we are simply not made for such scorching temperatures. We don’t have the infrastructure, or the air-conditioning; our architecture doesn’t lend itself to cool rooms or temperate, shaded courtyards. Our public transport overheats, our homes overheat, our offices overheat, we overheat.

So, spending the last couple of weeks in the kitchen, wrestling with butter-rich pastries and yeasted doughs as the thermometer gradually rose above 36°C, has been something of a trial. As I stood over pots of custard and jam and steamed puddings, I wondered how masochistic you had to be to turn on the oven voluntarily in this weather.

As I dreamed of upping sticks and moving to Alaska, or maybe just into my freezer (if I moved out the ice creams and oven chips, I think it would be big enough), I resolved to make life easier, and slightly cooler, for myself.

Step forward refrigerator cake. Refrigerator cake isn’t big or clever, but frankly I’m not terribly interested in big or clever at the moment. I’m interested in cold, easy, and delicious. And the refrigerator cake delivers that in spades: simple, satisfying, no-bake, and something you can eat straight from the fridge.

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Olivia Potts
Written by
Olivia Potts
Olivia Potts is a former criminal barrister who retrained as a pastry chef. She co-hosts The Spectator’s Table Talk podcast and writes Spectator Life's The Vintage Chef column. A chef and food writer, she was winner of the Fortnum and Mason's debut food book award in 2020 for her memoir A Half Baked Idea.

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