Gluten-free tropical papaya refrigerator cake sits on a wooden board at the back of the image. Two slices are sitting on places at the front of the board. At the back is a vintage enamel coffee pot awithnd cups and sauces.

A refrigerator or icebox cake is a dessert that is typically made by layering biscuits with whipped cream or custard, fruit and nuts and then chilling it in the refrigerator or “icebox” until the layers have melded together. The cookies soften as they absorb the moisture from the cream or custard, resulting in a cake-like texture that requires no baking.

This Tropical Papaya Refrigerator Cake layers plain gluten-free biscuits (we like to use gluten-free tea biscuits or arrowroots) with an extra creamy filling of cream cheese, cream and sweetened condensed milk and slices of fresh papaya and canned pineapple.

The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for cake to compress and chill before it can be devoured.

Thanks to Australian Papaya for sharing this recipe. For my recipes and tips visit

Tropical Papaya Refrigerator Cake

Recipe by Australian Papaya
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Chill 8 hours
Course Dessert
Servings 12 people


  • 250 g cream cheese one block
  • 300 ml pure cream
  • ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 375 g plain gluten-free biscuits
  • 300 g papaya thinly sliced
  • 1 x 440g can crushed pineapple in juice drained


  • extra sliced papaya
  • ¼ cup flaked coconut toasted
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds toasted


  • With a hand-held mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add cream, beating to incorporate well as you pour, then continue to beat for 1-2 minutes until it thickens and holds soft peaks.
  • Add the condensed milk, vanilla and lemon juice to the cream and beat until the mixture begins to re-thicken and the beaters leave trails on the surface. Spoon 1/2 cup of the cream mixture into a separate dish, cover and place in the fridge for topping the cake when it’s ready to serve.
  • Line a 1.5 litre loaf tin with clingwrap to cover the base and overhang on all four sides. Spread ½ cup of the remaining cream in the bottom of the prepared tin and arrange a layer of biscuits on top, cutting a few into smaller pieces to fill any gaps. Dollop over a quarter of the cream(about ½ cup again) and spread to cover the biscuits. Top cream with a third of the papaya slices and a third of the drained pineapple.
  • Repeat with biscuits, cream and fruit for two more layers, then finish with a final layer of biscuits and the remaining cream.
  • Cover the surface of the cake with the overhanging clingwrap. Press gently to compress and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight – giving the biscuits plenty of time to soften.
  • When ready to serve, peel the clingwrap off the top of the cake and invert onto a serving platter. Remove all clingwrap and discard. Spread the top and sides of the cake with the reserved cream. Decorate with the coconut, almonds and extra papaya. Keep cake refrigerated until ready to slice and serve.


  • To toast coconut and almonds, spread over a tray and bake for 5 – 6 minutes in an oven preheated to 180°C, or toss in a hot pan until just golden.
  • As long as the cream is thick enough to stay on the biscuits without running quickly off the edges it will do the job perfectly, however if you feel it’s too thin at the end of Step 2 you can refrigerate it for an hour and beat again.
  • To cut biscuits into smaller pieces use a serrated knife in a sawing motion so they don’t shatter or crumble.
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