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Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake

4.5 stars based on 25 votes

Wondering what to make for Father’s Day this weekend? May I suggest one of the simplest but most impressive summer desserts I know? This chocolate and peanut butter icebox cake is entirely make-ahead, easy enough for the kids to pitch in, and doesn’t even require an oven. You simply layer store-bought chocolate wafers with peanut butter-flavored whipped cream in a loaf pan, and then chill the dessert overnight. In the fridge, the cookies soften and meld with the cream, creating a dessert that resembles a fancy layered mousse cake. Can’t beat that!

ingredients

The hardest part about this recipe (other than waiting for it to set in the fridge) is finding Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers. My local supermarket, Giant Food, stocks them near the Oreos, but they can be tough to spot; be sure to ask if you don’t see them. Some grocery stores don’t carry them, so it’s a good idea to call ahead to be sure. And, though not pictured here, I always buy two boxes for one recipe because the cookies break easily.

whipped-cream

Begin by whipping the cream to stiff peaks; set aside. In another bowl, combine the cream cheese, peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt.

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Beat until smooth and creamy.

peanut-butter-mixture-2

Add about a third of the whipped cream to the peanut butter mixture.

peanut-butter-mixture-3

Beat until well combined. This lightens the mixture so you can fold in the remaining cream.

peanut-butter-mixture-4

Add the remaining cream.

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Fold into the peanut butter mixture, turning the bowl as you go.

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When the mixture is even in color and texture, it’s ready.

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Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap so that it hangs over the edges. Fill the pan with about two-thirds of the cream.

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Starting at a short side of the pan, arrange 12 cookies in the cream, standing them on their edge in a row. Do the same with a second row of cookies, slightly overlapping the cookies from the second row with the cookies in the first row. Continue with two more rows for a total of four rows.

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Cover the cookies with the remaining cream.

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Pull the plastic wrap over the edges and place in the refrigerator to chill overnight.

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Unmold the cake onto a serving platter.

unmolding-cake

Decorate with cocoa powder, crushed wafers and peanuts.

decorating-cake

Slice with a sharp knife and serve cold.

Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-IceboxCake1

Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake

Servings: 8
Total Time: 30 Minutes, plus an overnight chill in the fridge

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter (I use Skippy All Natural, No Need To Stir)
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 50 Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, from one box (see note)
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting
  • 1/4 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts

Instructions

  1. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with two pieces of overlapping plastic wrap, allowing the excess to hang over the edges of the pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Do not over-whip. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and salt together until smooth.
  4. Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the peanut butter mixture and beat with the mixer until smooth. Add the remaining whipped cream and fold with a rubber spatula, turning the bowl as you go, until the mixture is evenly combined and uniform in color and texture.
  5. Spoon about two-thirds of the cream into the prepared pan. Starting at a short side of the pan, arrange 12 cookies in the cream, standing them on their edge in a row. Do the same with a second row of cookies, slightly overlapping the cookies from the first row. Continue with two more rows for a total of four rows. Save the last two cookies for the topping.
  6. Cover the cookies with the remaining cream. Smooth the cream with a spatula, gently pressing to make sure any gaps between the cookies are filled.
  7. Cover the cake with the excess plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 48 hours. When ready to serve, peel the plastic wrap from the top. Set a platter on top of the pan and invert the cake onto it. Lift the pan off and gently peel away the plastic wrap. Use a warm offset spatula to smooth the edges, if desired. Dust the cake lightly with cocoa powder through a fine sieve. Crush the remaining wafers and scatter the peanuts over top, pressing down on them slightly so they adhere. Slice with a sharp knife and serve cold.
  8. Note: I recommend buying two boxes of chocolate wafers, as they tend to break easily. But don't worry if you have to use the broken ones; just try to piece them together as best you can when you place them in the cream.

Nutrition Information

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  • Calories: 595
  • Fat: 40g
  • Saturated fat: 15g
  • Carbohydrates: 52g
  • Sugar: 34g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 12g
  • Sodium: 324mg
  • Cholesterol: 57mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 4 stars

    Ugh – those chocolate wafers and nilla wafers have HFCS – I think I would use chocolate graham crackers.

    - be fog on May 24, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Brenda, One reader commented that she used graham crackers with success, so it’s definitely worth a try. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on May 24, 2017 Reply
  • I made this using Nutella and omitted the sugar. I also made half using the chocolate wafers as per recipe and half using Nilla wafers. Both came out good. Love recipes that need no baking for the summer!

    - Tina on May 7, 2017 Reply
  • This cake is so pretty! However, since we have some peanut allergies, I was wondering if raspberries or strawberries could be used instead of the peanut butter?
    What changes would need to be made to the recipe?
    Love your recipes! Thanks so much for sharing them.

    - Jan on April 21, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Jan, Unfortunately, I don’t think berries would work here. If you really want to make this, you could try it with a different nut butter like almond butter or even Nutella. If you’d like something that incorporates fruit, you can want to give this trifle a try.

      - Jenn on April 24, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This icebox cake is melt-in-the-mouth delicious! I ran out of unsweetened cocoa powder, so I dusted with Ghirardelli’s Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa. It was perfect.

    Regarding the plastic wrap, I agree with Jannette that using Glad Press-N-Seal works great. Place it in the loaf pan with several inches of overlap with the sticky side pressed against the outside of the loaf pan during assembly (this keeps it from shifting). When finished, bring up two sides at a time to seal the top.

    Jenn: For years, I have read dozens of food/recipe blogs like others read novels (like I have nothing else to do). Your website is now all I need for daily inspiration and meal planning. The internal search is helpful, too, to get back to a previously read recipe by entering a keyword.

    - Laura on March 25, 2017 Reply
    • That is so nice to read, Laura – thank you! I’m so happy you’re enjoying the recipes.

      - Jenn on March 26, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Have made this three times already and it is simply delicious. The cookies do break easily so I would second that you should purchase more. Additionally, do not try to insert too many cookies or it won’t look as nice as Jenn’s. Be careful to leave room around the sides or the cookies tend to show. The sprinkle of crushed cookies and peanuts on top are necessary to hide any imperfections.

    - Cheryl on March 16, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn,

    Can I substitute the Nabisco cookies with those homemade chocolate cookies that you gave me recipe once for your another peanut butter pie?

    - Nargiza on January 30, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Nargiza, Unfortunately, I don’t recall what that recipe was, so I can’t say for sure– sorry!

      - Jenn on February 1, 2017 Reply
  • What about using chocolate ice cream sandwich cookies? They may hold up and not crack as easily as the Nabisco brand. I have found both the fluted circular cookies as well as the rectangular shaped cookies at several bulk food stores in my area. I bet Amazon would have them. Just a thought. This is day 2 of me enjoying your blog!

    - Julie on January 27, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Julie, I’m not familiar with those cookies, so I can’t really say for sure whether or not they would work- sorry!

      - Jenn on January 29, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this cake this past weekend and we LOVED it! It tastes like a simplified peanut butter pie.

    - Lu on December 20, 2016 Reply
  • This was delicious and nostalgic too. My grandmother used to make the tranditional ice-box cake and I remember helping her (mostly by eating broken cookies). The addition though, of the peanut butter and forming it in a loaf pan make it extra-special. I had some coffee-liqueur that a friend made so used that instead of the vanilla :-)

    - laurie graham on October 6, 2016 Reply
  • 4 stars

    This cake was amazing – a real peanut butter lover’s dream. We did find it a little too sweet: so I think the next time, I’ll reduce the sugar. Just hope that doesn’t affect the setting of the cream. Your tip on the cookies was right on: It is good to have extras; they do break easily.

    - Karen on October 6, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’m rating this 5 stars even though I haven’t tasted it yet. I’ve not had a bad recipe yet from you so I’m hopeful, but…what did I do wrong? My peanut butter/powdered sugar mixture would not get smooth….it was very thick and “grainy”. I soldiered on and added the whipped cream but even with the incorporated cream it never got creamy
    smooth like your picture. It’s now in the
    frig for it’s overnight rest so I’m hoping it
    will taste great despite the lumps.

    - Leslie on August 13, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Leslie, It’s strange that you experienced that as there is nothing grainy in the mixture. What kind of PB did you use? Any chance it was an all natural or chunky variety? (That may cause some graininess.)

      - Jenn on August 15, 2016 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Thanks for your reply Jenn. Yes, it was an organic peanut butter from Trader Joes – just peanuts and sea salt. Good news though – the initial grainy texture of the ‘batter’ did not affect the finished cake and it was absolutely delicious! Just as I had expected since as I’ve had such great results from other recipes on your site! My dinner guests were very impressed by the presentation and flavor! I also made your Middle Eastern Chicken Kebabs and Basmati Pilaf for the same party which everyone really enjoyed as well. Thanks for making my dinner party a great success! I’m really looking forward to your cookbook!

        - Leslie on August 18, 2016 Reply
  • Another great recipe! The family loved it. The one problem I had was serving it. When I tried to slice it, the cake squished and I tried a serrated and non-serrated knife. Any suggestions?

    - Clare on August 11, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Clare, the two things that come to mind is that maybe the cookies weren’t soft enough yet (that can make this hard to slice), or the cake didn’t set long enough. Bottom line, is it sounds like it needed a little more time before being sliced.

      - Jenn on August 12, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Pllllease, someone take the fork out of my hand right now! Heavens to Mergatroyd – there are no words, too busy humming MmmmmMmm with every forkful. Extremely easy to make (except the broken cookies, & that’s no biggie… so pretty and elegant. Can barely wait to share with friends & family. Any PB & Chocolate fan may just follow you to the ends of the earth for this dessert. Thank you again Jenn for sharing your recipes & passion with everyone. BRAVO to chef- extraordinaire. I am so grateful to you for sharing your passion with the world. THANK YOU!

    - Kelli on August 2, 2016 Reply
  • Has anyone tried using crunchy peanut butter vs creamy? We LOVE crunchy pb at this household! I haven’t made it yet, but want to tonight!!

    - Jannette Rondem on July 23, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Janette, I prefer crunchy peanut butter too, but I think this would be best with smooth!

      - Jenn on July 23, 2016 Reply
      • Hi again Jenn….. so I went ahead with the crunchy and since you mix it with an electric mixer, the peanuts just get blended into to smaller pieces and it was AMAZING! I also used the chocolate oreo thins, not taking them apart and just sticking them in, as is. And another tip…. instead of one large 9 x 5, I put the mixture into 3 mini ceramic loaf pans. Perfect amount for me and my boys!

        - Jannette on July 25, 2016 Reply
        • 5 stars

          Oh, one more thing….. if you have Glad press & seal, it works PERFECT!!!

          - Jannette on July 25, 2016 Reply
        • Hi Janette, thanks for the follow up — so glad it turned out with the tweaks you made!

          - Jenn on July 25, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was easy to make; although, I did have a problem with the chocolate wafers as you indicated could happen. This is a delicious and impressive cake to serve to company.

    - Nancy Siefried on July 7, 2016 Reply
    • 4 stars

      June 29th was my birthday and instead of the traditional cake, I decided to make your peanut butter ice box. I loved it even though I only tasted a little my coworkers also loved it. Thank you

      - Vian Williams on July 8, 2016 Reply
  • 3 stars

    If I were to make this again I would use fewer cookies next time. The cookies fell all on top of each other as I put the top layer of mousse on so they did not get soft during the sitting time. Jenn– despite presentation, could you layer the cookies as opposed to stacking them vertically? And just do a few layers of cookies and mousse?

    - Erin Putnam on July 7, 2016 Reply
    • Sorry you had trouble with it, Erin. I wonder why the cream didn’t hold the cookies in place?? Next time, you could try placing all of the cream in the pan, and then put the cookies in. Or it’s fine to layer them any way you like. I actually experimented with this style and it was really pretty!

      - Jenn on July 7, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this for Father’s Day. It was a huge hit and the presentation dramatic! I will make again and again. Thank you!

    - M Rapp on July 6, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I purchased Oreo Thins before I read these reviews as I don’t have access to the wafers. I did NOT remove the cream, just plunked the cookies in whole and it turned out INCREDIBLE. My husband says it’s his favorite dessert and the children begged for seconds and the guests wanted the recipe. I’d call that a 5 star success!

    - MrsD on July 3, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    How ironic that yesterday I bought these wafers at my Giant store in Pa. before I saw your recipe today. The supplier from Nabisco was stacking cookies and mentioned that some people love the new oreo THIN cookies better, but I don’t and I don’t think it would work in this recipe. But I thought I’d pass it on in case it might work for similar recipes. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes!!
    Joan

    - Joan Barmish on June 30, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Jennifer, I’ve looked all over for the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers in my area and cannot find them. I even called Nabisco and the stores they said carry them either don’t or were out. We want to make this for our July 4th party, can you please recommend a substitute? Thank you!

    - David on June 29, 2016 Reply
    • Hi David, sorry you’ve had such a hard time finding the wafers! One reader mentioned she had success with chocolate graham crackers. You could also try using the cookie part of Oreos. You’d just need twist the Oreos open, scrape out the filling and use the cookies. A bit more labor-intensive, but it could work. You could also try ordering the wafers on Amazon. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on June 29, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This cake turned out amazing. Beautiful and delicious!

    - Natalie on June 28, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is such an easy, delicious dessert. Everyone loved it! I went to 3 stores and none of them had the wafers, so we went with chocolate graham crackers and they worked great, if anyone else runs into this problem :)

    - Heather Johnson on June 24, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    My 9 yr old daughter and I made this cake over the weekend for potluck and it was the talk of the party. Huge hit and so easy. Thanks Jen!

    - Lisa on June 24, 2016 Reply
  • 1 stars

    i made this for Father’s Day because my husband loves peanut butter. It looked so pretty! We did not like it, and had to throw it out. Thank goodness I had also made a banana cake!

    - Nelly on June 24, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I don’t make desserts EVER, but wanted to do something for a friend’s birthday dinner that I was hosting. This was not only fun and simple to make (even with the breaking wafers!), my foodie friends absolutely raved about it and they all wanted the recipe!

    - Jess on June 23, 2016 Reply
  • Is it necessary to stabilize the whipped cream before adding the peanut butter mixture?

    - Jane D Richards on June 23, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Jane, There’s no need to stabilize the whipped cream here. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on June 24, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    My son and I made this last weekend. His brothers and dad went crazy over it. The hardest part was holding all the wafers together to stack them in the filling (practically every one was cracked even with 2 boxes!). The rest was so easy and incredibly delicious, and looked as wonderful as it tasted. Great recipe!!!

    - Kim on June 23, 2016 Reply
    • So glad it was a hit, Kim. The recipe still works fine if the cookies are broken but I did call Nabisco to let them know that the wafers seem especially delicate lately. I experienced the same thing with a few boxes when testing this recipe for the site. (I found I had much better luck when I reached all the way to the back of the shelf for the freshest box.) The wafers usually aren’t like that — maybe a bad batch?

      - Jenn on June 23, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    My daughter and I made this for my husband for Father’s Day because he loves peanut butter desserts. He said it was the best dessert he has ever eaten and requested it for Father’s Day and his birthday for the rest of his life. Thank you for the note to buy two boxes of the cookies. I bought two and between both boxes, I only got about 15 whole cookies. We still used the broken ones and am so thankful we did as it was so delicious!

    - Gia on June 22, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Big hit at fathers’s day lunch. Will definitely make again. Went to 2 stores to find the wafers and most were broken, but I just put them in sideways and the cream filled them in.

    - Jennifer T on June 19, 2016 Reply
  • Can this cake be frozen. I would like to try this, but I could not use it all at once.

    - Ruth on June 17, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Ruth, I’m not certain that it would freeze well– I’m sorry!

      - Jenn on June 17, 2016 Reply
  • It is so ironic that I chose to make my “famous” peanut butter pie for my dad for Father’s Day. The ingredients are the same, but different amounts. I will definitely be making your stunning dessert soon though. Thank you and may all the dad’s in your family have a wonderful day!

    - Karen T on June 16, 2016 Reply
  • Can you use Bischoff instead of peanut butter and just cut the sugar?

    - jm on June 16, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Jm, I’d suggest sticking with peanut butter. If you’d prefer not to use peanut butter, you could just use plain ol’ sweetened whipped cream.

      - Jenn on June 17, 2016 Reply
  • Could I use almond butter instead? One of my son has an allergy to it.

    - Sarah Sali on June 16, 2016 Reply
    • Sure that should work Sarah. Just make sure it’s the smooth variety. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on June 16, 2016 Reply

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