Icebox Cake


I recently hosted some friends for dinner and needed a quick dessert that I could make ahead. I also needed to find something that wouldn’t take too long to make, even the day before, because I accidentally filled up my entire week with after work activities. As per usual.

Enter the Icebox Cake. An old classic. Simple, delicious and – most importantly – sitting in the fridge makes it better! For the uninitiated, an icebox cake is made by layering chocolate wafers with whipped cream, and then letting it sit for at least 8 hours to allow the wafers to absorb the moisture.

I grew up eating icebox cakes. My mom would make them when she had a little bit of free time, by stacking cookies and layering with “Dream Whip” topping, usually seven or eight cookies tall. My sisters and I were never patient enough to let the cookies soften though, preferring to munch on crunchy cookies with whipped cream.

Icebox Cake
From Smitten Kitchen

3 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 (9-ounce) packages chocolate wafer cookies
Chocolate shavings (for topping)

To start, pop a metal bowl and metal whisk in the freezer. Whipped cream likes it COLD, so leave it in there for 15-20 minutes. When your bowl and whisk are nice and cold, pour in the heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla and start mixing! Whisk until soft peaks form. Try not to over-whip – keep an eye on it!

Once your whipped cream is done, we are ready to start assembly. On a flat plate, lay out seven cookies in a circle, with one in the middle. Spread on some whipped cream – about 1/2 a cup. On top, lay out another eight cookies (seven in a circle, one in the middle), and spread with more whipped cream. Continue like this until you have 11 layers of cookies, ending with whipped cream on top. Cover and place in the fridge for 8-24 hours. When you’re ready to serve, top with chocolate shavings.


  • You’ll probably want to buy an extra package of wafer cookies. Not only do they break really easily, you’ll probably end up eating one or seven of them as you assemble the cake!
  • Plan on assembling the cake on whatever plate or tray you plan on serving it on. Once it’s made and had time to sit, moving it is going to be impossible. Learn from my mistake. I made my cake on the metal disk that fits in my tart pan, figuring I could slide it from there onto my cake plate. No dice. It will taste the same, but might lose a few points for presentation.
  • If you do over-whip the whipped cream, slowly add a little bit of cream back in, whisking by hand. It will go from sad and lumpy back to smooth and creamy in no time.

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