Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake

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This chocolate peanut butter icebox cake is entirely make-ahead, easy enough for the kids to pitch in, and doesn’t even require an oven.

chocolate peanut butter icebox cake

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 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!

What you’ll need to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake

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.

How to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake

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.

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

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

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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.

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Decorate with cocoa powder, crushed wafers and peanuts.

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Slice with a sharp knife and serve cold.

Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-IceboxCake1

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake

This chocolate peanut butter icebox cake is entirely make-ahead, easy enough for the kids to pitch in, and doesn’t even require an oven.

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

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Hi Jenn,
    Although this cake tasted divine, when I cut it into slices, it all smushed together, it did not hold up at all. I followed the recipe as written. Did I do some thing wrong?

    • — Sonia on July 14, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Sonia, Sorry to hear this didn’t hold up well to slicing. Was the knife you used to slice it very sharp? Did you refrigerate it at least overnight?

      • — Jenn on July 15, 2019
      • Reply
      • Yes, I do believe you’re right about the knife, I used a serrated knife. Thank you!

        • — Sonia on July 17, 2019
        • Reply
  • I don’t mean to be the metric measure police but could you add it on here please?

    • — Nenny on May 28, 2019
    • Reply
    • No problem at all! I just added them. 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 30, 2019
      • Reply
      • This is one of the easiest and most delicious desserts I have ever made. I made it last night for Father’s Day today and it was a beauty, hubby loved it and I am so pleased. He sat content and happy after making short work of the very large slice I told him he deserved. Thank you Jenn 😊

        • — Nenny on June 16, 2019
        • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Love your recipes! I would like to make this awesome looking peanut butter icebox cake for my husband’s birthday. All I have right now is straight up peanut butter (no salt or sugar added). I notice the kind you use has salt and sugar in it already. Do I need to add additional salt/sugar to the peanut butter, or can I just go ahead and use my peanut butter as is (or would it be best to just go buy some of the kind that has salt and sugar already added)? Thanks in advance!

    • — Bry on February 7, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Bry, I think you could use all natural peanut butter here, but for best results I’d recommend getting the kind I use or something similar. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on February 7, 2018
      • Reply
  • Made this just last week brought me back to my mother’s favorite go to dessert. She made it with just whipped cream but this was even better

    • — Barbara Sklar on November 30, 2017
    • Reply
  • This is the BEST! I made this for my sons birthday cake and he LOVED it! I used the organic (need to stir) peanut butter and it was fantastic. Thank you again for another winner! ❤❤❤

    • — Luanne on October 26, 2017
    • Reply
  • I couldn’t find the wafers, but used chocolate oreo thins…. the result was fantastic!!! One of the best desserts we’ve ever made!!!

  • Hi Jenn, what a knock-out. My husband is s peanut-butter fanatic and he is crazy about this dessert! Easy, but oh so delicious!
    I have made several of your recipes and all are excellent!
    Thanks so much for superb recipes which provide such amazing food for me to share with family and friends.
    Jani

    • You’re welcome, Jan. So glad you’re enjoying the recipes ?!

  • I couldn’t find the chocolate wafer cookies so I used the new oreo thins. Took apart the oreos and scraped off the cream. It was extra work, but the results were delicious!

  • How far ahead can I make this? Specifically, could I make it on a Thursday and serve it on the Sunday? Thanks!

    • Sure, Kim, I wouldn’t let it go much longer than that but a few days in the fridge will be fine. Hope you enjoy!

  • Your Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake recipe was a real hit! I had planned to make this recipe months ago, but today was the day I finally accomplished the goal! Thanks to your impeccable tutorial, I knew what to expect for the procedure. I did, however, deviate from the prescribed presentation. I use my Corningware dish and since it was smaller in dimension than the loaf pan, I didn’t use as many Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers. The wafers were all intact and firmly inserted in the cream! So delicious! I made this dessert to honor our friend who will be leaving to study abroad and really enjoys the peanut butter and chocolate combination! Both our friend and my nephew really were delighted with the dessert. I thought that the next time, I would try it with a Chocolate Pie Crust to make a pie or experiment with making layers of the chocolate wafers horizontally instead of inserting them vertically in the peanut butter cream! I was really so happy to share this recipe with two special people!

  • Hi Jen,

    I made this but although the cake looked really nice and the taste was good, the peanut butter was a little bit overpowering for us, even though we really like peanut butter, I wanted to reduce the peanut butter quantity to 1/2 or 3/4 of it. Do you think if I reduce it, the cake would not hold as nicely?

    • Hi Nancy, I think you’d be fine to reduce by 1/2. Please lmk how it turns out!

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

    • Hi Brenda, One reader commented that she used graham crackers with success, so it’s definitely worth a try. Hope you enjoy!

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

    • That is so nice to read, Laura – thank you! I’m so happy you’re enjoying the recipes.

    • Laura, I cannot agree with you more! You are singing my song! Jenn is truly the best!
      Luanne 🙂

      • — Luanne Alomair on October 20, 2017
      • Reply
  • 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.

  • 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?

    • Hi Nargiza, Unfortunately, I don’t recall what that recipe was, so I can’t say for sure– sorry!

  • 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!

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

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

  • 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 🙂

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.)

      • 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!

  • 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?

    • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!!

    • Hi Janette, I prefer crunchy peanut butter too, but I think this would be best with smooth!

      • 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!

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

        • Hi Janette, thanks for the follow up — so glad it turned out with the tweaks you made!

  • 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.

    • 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

  • 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?

    • 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!

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

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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!

    • 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!

  • This cake turned out amazing. Beautiful and delicious!

  • 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 🙂

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • Is it necessary to stabilize the whipped cream before adding the peanut butter mixture?

    • Hi Jane, There’s no need to stabilize the whipped cream here. Enjoy!

  • 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!!!

    • 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?

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Can this cake be frozen. I would like to try this, but I could not use it all at once.

    • Hi Ruth, I’m not certain that it would freeze well– I’m sorry!

  • 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!

  • Can you use Bischoff instead of peanut butter and just cut the sugar?

    • 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.

  • Could I use almond butter instead? One of my son has an allergy to it.

    • Sure that should work Sarah. Just make sure it’s the smooth variety. Enjoy!

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