Classic Icebox Cake

Cakes, Chocolate, Cookies, Desserts

I have an affinity for old things.

Vintage dresses, creaky old houses, boots from the flea market, random old family photos I find in the street…I dunno…I dig it all. I think it’s because I like things with history and stories attached…stuff that’s aged. I just, myself, don’t want to be aged. I confuse myself. Constantly.

Icebox Cakes have a bit of history. They’re aged like all that stuff listed above, though I’m entirely sure about its history (if you know, please leave it in the comments!!), I do know that this dessert is what someone must’ve stumbled upon/dreamed up when they were desperate for something fast, easy and amazing. Calling for only two ingredients (chocolate wafers and whipped cream), means anyone at any time can do this successfully.

Can we talk cake deets?

Again, two ingredients: Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers and whipped cream. That’s it.

I have a few pro-tips.

Since there are only two ingredients, both are important. Let’s start with the cookies. If you’re in LA, head to Gelson’s where they have them in stock. Here’s a link online where they sell them. The unfortunate part is that they sell them in bulk? Who wants to buy $60 worth of chocolate wafers?! Umm…no one. Dumb.

On the East Coast I hear Publix is the place. Call around–it’s worth it!

And obviously, you can make your own, but isn’t the charm in a cake like this that you don’t have to turn on the oven?

Yeah, I think so too.

Next, the whipped cream…easy, right? Yes….no….wait, this part is important. You must use heavy whipping cream, not whipping cream. If you use just plain whipping cream the cookies will absorb all of the whipped cream (made from plain whipping cream) and you’ll have a soggy mess on your hands.

BUT if you use heavy whipping cream, it’ll hold. Also, I usually beat my whipped cream a little loose. For this, I actually flirted with the area right before they were over whipped.

Seriously, I might be making this overly complicated–it’s just that I want yours to turn out perfect too, because I haven’t been this excited about a dish in forever.

Seriously. This is me in love.

After you arrange the cake, layer by layer, all you do is stick it in the fridge and wait…and wait.

Here’s a little fridge peek for you:

After a few hours (or overnight), the wafers will absorb just the right amount of the whipped cream making it one big mass, allowing you to cut it…into the perfect slice of the easiest most amazing thing you’ve ever eaten.

Classic Icebox Cake

Recipe tweaked from Magnolia Bakery (via Smitten Kitchen)

Print this recipe!

3 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 (9-ounce) packages Nabisco’s chocolate wafer cookies
Unsweetened cocoa (or chocolate shavings)

In a large bowl, beat cream, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until soft to medium peaks form.

On a flat serving plate, arrange 7 cookies side by side in a circle, keeping 1 cookie in the center.

Spread with 1/2 cup whipped cream, making a 7-inch circle. Repeat with remaining cookies and cream, making 11 layers of cookies and ending with a layer of cream (there will be a few cookies left over). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (Note: I didn’t cover and it was fine.)

To serve, dust top lightly with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings.

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  • Reply Sebastian August 5, 2011 at 6:59 am

    In Australia we do something remarkably similar using chocolate ripple biscuits. It is a favorite for young kids birthdays and that is how I remember it. It is essentially the same cake as this but it has a different name.It is kind of sad that it is inextricably linked to a brand name and they have kind of taken ownership of the cake too.

    Here is the cake that they have on their official website. It doesn’t look as good as yours.

    I did try this cake once but I used Tiny Teddy biscuits in stead of the ripple biscuits. I called it Teddy cake and it was pretty fun to make… and eat.


    • Reply Adrianna August 5, 2011 at 10:38 pm

      Oh wow…that’s super similar. Thanks for sharing! I love knowing stuff like this.

  • Reply Alicia @ Treble Tart August 5, 2011 at 11:51 am

    WOAH!! This looks divine!! I am definitely going to have to make it. πŸ˜€

  • Reply Sasha @ The Procrastobaker August 5, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Recipes like this are just ingenious, they are often so much more loved and praised than farfar more complex recipes, and taste deceivingly yummy. I think its great youve gone into maybe more detail than needed, means i could make this with complete assurance it would be as wonderfully pretty as yours πŸ™‚

  • Reply d.liff @ yelleBELLYboo August 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    This looks so cool and delightful on these hot DC summer days! But the name keeps getting that song stuck in my head… “I’ve got an icebox where my heart used to be…”

    • Reply Michelle of Chellbellz August 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      I agree a bucket of ice would be delightful in regards to this heat in DC! It’s wicked man! can’t wait until the Fall.

  • Reply Bev Weidner August 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    That is gorgeous. And by gorgeous I mean I might want to go to second base with it. GOOD. GRIEF.

    I love all things old, too. The vintagey-er, the better.

    Except my face. I’d like that to NOT be so vintage-y.

    l.o.v.e. t.h.e. c.a.k.e.

    • Reply Adrianna August 5, 2011 at 10:39 pm

      I totally went to third base with this thing.

  • Reply NicoleD August 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    This is beautiful nostalgic goodness!

  • Reply Malia August 5, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    This looks beautiful! (And Tasty too:) Can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply Nastassia (Let Me Eat Cake) August 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    this is one of my favorite cakes to make! it is an easy way to surprise my bf with a sweet treat and remind him how much i love him πŸ™‚

  • Reply Katrina August 5, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Cool! This is such a neat idea!

  • Reply Pooja August 5, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    I made a version of this by Martha Stewart from scratch for my daughter’s birthday (that’s what I get for asking her which cake she wants) and I have to say even though it took FOREVER to make, it was SO yummy! This looks like a much smarter version! πŸ™‚

    • Reply Steph December 16, 2013 at 10:36 am

      Ha ha, Martha Stewart?! That’s hilarious.
      My nephew does similarly funny things. After his grandmother sweetly made him pancakes one Sunday, he thanked her with a shrug and said, “Thanks, Gram, not bad for a box mix.” He was only in second grade- our whole family cracked up laughing when we heard the story and still tease him. (His parents both are great home chefs and cook from scratch.)

  • Reply tina August 5, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    this is freaking cool A! nice presentation as well! Happy weekend πŸ™‚

  • Reply apv1994 August 5, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Thanks for showing this! Sent me on a trip down memory lane as my Mom used to make this in the summer for an iced cold dessert. Instead of using whip cream she used Dream Whip which was preCool Whip days! I’ve had it one other time when a friend’s family used this as birthday cake for summer birthdays. Comfort food!

  • Reply Jess August 6, 2011 at 1:08 am

    My family always makes this for just about any occasion, to this day. Except we always use a loaf pan and make it almost like an icebox log. Then we stick it in the freezer. So good!!

  • Reply France August 6, 2011 at 5:03 am

    I love that this recipe is so simple, yet elegant looking and would please just about anyone. Beautiful creation!

  • Reply Amish Stories August 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Greetings from the Amish community of Lebanon,Pa. Richard from Amish Stories.

  • Reply Amanda August 6, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    I’ve never had an icebox cake before, but these beautiful photos have inspired me to try one. Yum!

  • Reply Maria B. August 6, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Too bad we don’t have these wafers here. I might just have to make them myself, because this cake sure looks like it would be worth the trouble of slaving over a stove making chocolate wafers from scratch… Yumm yumm yummy

  • Reply Nicole August 7, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Wow, that looks great!

    Kisses from Hong Kong,

  • Reply Alexandra August 11, 2011 at 3:50 am

    So So So yummy…..this dessert brings me back to my childhood! Thanks for the awesome post!

  • Reply Jenna August 12, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Oh My gosh! this dessert looks AMAZING. I’m sitting at home crazy and craving dessert!! yummmm.
    Also, I just started my own cooking blog along with book reviews and so much more! Please check it out and follow if u like! I’ve only had a few posts but I’m hoping it will continue to flourish as the days go on!

  • Reply Madi August 13, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    My family has made this dessert for years! So good!
    We make it into a worm.
    You turn the cookies sideways and you can create shapes and stuff!

  • Reply Linda Miller August 14, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I remember doing something similar years ago but with graham crackers and apple butter, making an apple spice cake. Wouldn’t it be interesting to try to do with maybe ginger snaps or other thin wafer cookies like those Anna’s wafers?

  • Reply kat August 16, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Did you see this? I think both look amazing!!!

  • Reply Kayla September 14, 2011 at 2:14 am

    All the great pictures looked so good! After seeing all of them, I decided to make it just to give it a try. To make a long story short, it did not turn out as great as i planned. I hope to try another recipie so it will be better!

  • Reply easy chocolate chip cookie December 2, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Howdy very nice blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .. I’ll bookmark your web site and take the feeds also?I am glad to seek out numerous useful information right here within the put up, we need develop extra techniques in this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  • Reply Peggy January 7, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    My family also made this back in the 60’s-70’s but we would spoon on hot fudge after we sliced it, OMG it was so good, I need to find some of these cookies and make it again soon.

  • Reply janice July 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    It looks really great, but I think my grandma made it the traditional way – stack the cookies and then lay them down (tube shaped form). Place two rows like this side-by-side. “Ice” the cake with more whipped cream and refrigerate. When you take it out, slice on the diagonal. It kinda looks like a fish skeleton, so a nickame in our family was “fish cake”. Either way you do it, it is the most delicious cake and so easy!

    PS – If you live in NY/LI, the cookies are sold at King Kullen. Used to be available at Pathmark too.

  • Reply Michelle April 30, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    My grandmother used to make this, she added bananas slices to the recipe. It was my grandfathers favorite dessert and she made it every year for his birthday. I was trying to figure out the whipped cream for it. Thank you for sharing, now I can make it correctly for my family.

  • Reply Pat Calhoun May 14, 2013 at 3:46 am

    My mother-in-law introduced me to an ice box cake simply made of graham crackers layered with Hershey’s syrup and left to sit overnight then topped with more syrup and a large dollop of whipped cream when served! So stink in’ simple but oh, so good! πŸ™‚ ~ cheap too!

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  • Reply Sarah June 21, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Oh my gosh YES.These do sound dreamy and divine! I am so going to make and share these!! I had featured U in tne post of Top 7 Charming Cookies with Pretty Appearance and Palatable Flavor on AllFreshRecipes.Ur more fantastic Eats have been paid close attention to!

  • Reply Hilary November 15, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    We put instant coffee, powdered sugar and vanilla in the heavy whipping cream….YUMMERS!!!!!

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