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Classic Icebox Cake

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Discover (or rediscover!) the magic of the classic icebox cake: a fancy-looking but utterly simple no-bake dessert.

Classic Icebox Cake

When I was 14, my grandmother taught me how to make the classic icebox cake made with Nabisco chocolate wafers. The method was magic: stack the cookies sideways with homemade whipped cream, cover the “roll” with more whipped cream, and let it chill in the fridge. The pièce de résistance? When you slice the cake at an angle, you get zebra stripes! This recipe quickly became the mainstay of my teenage baking repertoire (although it doesn’t actually involve baking). The same recipe has been on the Nabisco wafer box for generations, and some trendy NYC bakeries have reinvented it, layering the cookies vertically to resemble a traditional cake.

However, there’s been a curveball: Nabisco recently discontinued their iconic chocolate wafers (such a bummer, Nabisco 😩). The good news is that Oreo Thins are a fabulous substitute, and you can skip the fuss of removing the cream. This icebox cake is the ultimate no-bake delight, perfect for making and enjoying with kids. Adults will love it, too — I mean, who can resist the delicious charm of cookies and cream?

“I made this with my 7-year-old daughter yesterday and we enjoyed it for dessert. She was so proud of her “fancy” creation – it looked just like the picture!”

Katie

What You’ll Need To Make A Classic Icebox Cake

icebox cake ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

Place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or beaters. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form.

beating heavy cream to soft peaks

Add the sugar, vanilla, and salt.

adding the sugar, vanilla, and salt to the softly whipped cream

Beat until medium-stiff peaks form. Do not over-whip.

Pro Tip: When whipping cream, keep a close eye on it – it’s always done before you think it is, and it goes from perfectly smooth and billowy to grainy and curdled in an instant. Whipped cream should have a smooth, creamy texture and dollops should just barely hold their shape. If you’re nervous about over-whipping it, when it’s close to done, finish whipping by hand.

perfectly whipped cream

Set aside about 1-1/2 cups of the whipped cream. Place about a 1/2 tablespoon of the remaining whipped cream on each cookie, and stack sideways on a long platter about 1/4 inch apart to make one long roll. (The whipped cream is essentially acting as a glue to hold the cookies together.) Spread the reserved whipped cream over the top and sides of the roll.

stacking the cookies with whipped creamBe sure to use a long platter, as the finished “roll” is quite long.

assembled icebox cake roll on platter

Spread the reserved whipped cream over the outside of the roll. Chill in refrigerator for at least 5 hours or overnight.

spreading reserved whipped cream over the cake

Dust the top of the cake cocoa powder and slice diagonally at a 45°-angle. Serve with fresh berries, if desired.

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Classic Icebox Cake

Discover (or rediscover!) the magic of the classic icebox cake: a fancy-looking but utterly simple no-bake dessert.

Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes, plus at least 5 hours to chill the cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup confectioners' sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 25 Oreo Thins, from 1 package
  • Cocoa powder, for decorating

Instructions

  1. Place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or beaters. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat until medium-stiff peaks form. Do not over-whip. (Tip: When whipping cream, keep a close eye on it – it's always done before you think it is, and it goes from perfectly smooth and billowy to grainy and curdled in an instant. Whipped cream should have a smooth, creamy texture and dollops should just barely hold their shape. If you're nervous about over-whipping it, when it's close to done, finish whipping by hand.)
  2. Set aside about 1½ cups of the whipped cream. Place about a ½ tablespoon of the remaining whipped cream on each cookie, and stack sideways on a long platter about ¼ inch apart to make one long roll. (The whipped cream is essentially acting as a glue to hold the cookies together.) Spread the reserved whipped cream over the top and sides of the roll. Chill in refrigerator for at least 5 hours or overnight.
  3. Using a fine sieve, dust the top of the cake cocoa powder and slice diagonally at a 45-degree angle. Serve with fresh berries, if desired.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 406
  • Fat: 29 g
  • Saturated fat: 16 g
  • Carbohydrates: 36 g
  • Sugar: 24 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Sodium: 198 mg
  • Cholesterol: 67 mg

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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Comments

  • Delicious and so easy!!

    • — Millie on December 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • I tried another substitute for this recipe. Ikea sells thin crispy ginger cookies, I used those instead, sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar ontop of whipped cream log and it now takes on a new fall flavor.

    • — Terri Ulmer on October 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delicious and easy to make with grandkids. I made two rows of the cookies next to each other then covered it all with the whipped cream. Cocoa powder and raspberries as a garnish.
    A wonderful dessert on a hot evening.

    • — Mimi on August 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen. I made these chocolate cookies last Christmas for the traditional ice box cake. They were delicious and very much like the Nabisco discontinued cookie. Just wanted to bring it to your attention as a better substitute than the Oreo Thins. Maybe you can incorporate it into this recipe somehow. Love your recipes!

    Read more: https://www.joyofbaking.com/ChocolateWafers.html#ixzz8B9xyYrHI

    • — Janis on August 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • My mother used to make this cake using ginger biscuits. Always was a big hit. I never knew that it actually had a name.
    Thank you for all the great recipes. I always look forward to your weekly emails
    Kate

    • — Kate on August 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this with my 7-year-old daughter yesterday and we enjoyed it for dessert. She was so proud of her “fancy” creation – it looked just like the picture!

    • — Katie on August 18, 2023
    • Reply
  • Icebox cake was easy to make with my 3 grandchildren who love to bake.
    So delicious, another Jenn winner.
    Thank you!

    • — Helen Kestler on August 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • Oh no! I hadn’t heard that Jenn…that’s awful foodie news. Don’t you wonder how they make those decisions? There really is no competition making the same style wafer, I just don’t get it. I love your peanut butter version using the wafers…have made that numerous times to great reviews.

    • — Cheryl on August 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Cheryl, I know – it’s a head-scratcher! I’ve tried the PB version with Oreo Thins and it doesn’t work quite as well…I’m still trying to figure out a good substitute for that one.

      • — Jenn on August 18, 2023
      • Reply
      • Haven’t tried using them yet, but I bought a couple packages of Goya Chocolate Maria Cookies….

        • — Shelley on August 20, 2023
        • Reply
        • Please LMK how they work out! Also, another reader wrote in and mentioned these as an option.

          • — Jenn on August 21, 2023
          • Reply
  • We have the same cake in Australia using Arnott’s chocolate ripple biscuits. They’re a bit larger by the look. Love your work Jen, would be great if you could do a Winter email to inspire us down under.

    • — Catherine on August 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • Let’s all start writing Nabisco to bring back the chocolate wafers!

    • — Mary Ziebart on August 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’m confused by your photos. In the photo showing the cookies all lined up side by side without the whipped cream on them, they look like the flat sides are all “glued” together in a long row. But in the final photo showing the cake sliced, it looks like the cookies are turned so that they’re perpendicular to the other photo and there are three cookies side by side. You can see the three cookies in the first slice. Are the cookies supposed to be rotated before it’s frosted with the whipped cream? Am I missing something?

    • — Veronica on August 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Veronica, It’s hard to tell from the photo, but the cake is sliced at an angle, which gives the zebra effect. There is no need to rotate the cookies.

      • — Jenn on August 19, 2023
      • Reply
      • I’m also confused how this works?? I’ll definitely make it but the cookies are lined up like a log. Even if you angle it my brain is not getting the stripes.

        • — S.D.S. on August 20, 2023
        • Reply
        • I know it’s hard to visualize! But basically when you cut the log at an angle, you’re cutting through several of the cookie-and-cream layers at once. This results in a series of diagonal stripes, with each stripe representing a wafer or a layer of cream.

          • — Jenn on August 20, 2023
          • Reply
  • This traditional cake has been my family’s favorite for years. I went to make it recently and discovered Nabisco’s terrible decision to discontinue the famous chocolate wafers, which I just do not understand. Like you, I sought an alternative and used Oreo Thins. Just not the same!! I’m still seeking a proper substitute that doesn’t entail baking 50 wafers by hand 🫤

    • — Holly on August 17, 2023
    • Reply

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