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Cool Cakes

Chocolate Icebox Cake Recipe

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An icebox cake is a delicious frozen treat that you’ll want to eat and make all throughout the summer months! Unlike a traditional cake, an icebox cake is one that you “cook” in the freezer instead of the oven.

This epic chocolate icebox cake is like no other frozen pudding you will have tried before. Hands down, this is the best icebox cake recipe I have ever come across and I’m lucky enough my Grandma shared it with me (so now I can share it with you!).

If you’re looking for other frozen treat ideas, check this icebox cake made in a 9×13 dish. This cake would also be fabulous served alongside our Lemon Poke Cake or our Better Than Sex Cake

slice of icebox cake with whipped cream on top served on white plate

Chocolate Icebox Cake:

What is an icebox cake? An icebox cake also called a chocolate ripple cake is traditionally a frozen dessert consisting of whipped cream and chocolate wafers. The back-of-the-box recipe on Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers indicates that the wafers are stacked to form a log with whipped cream cementing them together, and then the log is laid on its side.

However, this is no ordinary layered icebox cake recipe. This is a chocolate icebox cake recipe. Instead of chocolate wafers, we’re going to use vanilla ones and smother them in loads of delicious chocolate to make the best icebox cake ever!

The icebox cake gets its name because it needs to be left to sit overnight in the freezer, or “icebox”. The wafers absorb moisture for the whipped cream to help the whole pudding bind together and set. Traditionally, when you serve an icebox cake, you cut slices at a 45-degree angle so that you can see all the layers of wafer and whipped cream that run through the icebox cake.

Icebox cakes became popular during World War 1 and were adapted from similar desserts like the Charlotte and Trifle. The popularity of icebox cakes roared during the 1920s and ’30s which makes this dessert just about as old fashioned as you can get!

There are lots of variations of the original icebox cake dessert. The American version of the icebox cake is made using chocolate pudding and graham crackers or vanilla wafers. Some people also like to alternate layers of chocolate and vanilla pudding or add sliced banana or pineapples between the icebox cake layers.

Australians call an icebox cake a chocolate ripple cake because they make it with Arnott’s Chocolate Ripple biscuits covered in sweetened whipped cream. They often decorate their chocolate icebox cakes with crumbled chocolate, fresh berries or grated Peppermint Crisp!

I love making this no-bake chocolate icebox cake and so do my boys. More than anything, I think they like snacking on the spare vanilla wafers and chocolate!  This is one of those recipes that everyone’s grandmother has in their recipe box – just like this old fashioned oatmeal cake.

photo collage of steps for making icebox cake

Chocolate Icebox Cake Ingredients You Will Need

  • 2 cups of crushed vanilla wafers
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts
  • ½ a cup of butter
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ bars of square chocolate
  • ½ a teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3 well beaten egg yolks
  • 3 stiffly beaten egg whites

overhead photo of icebox cake batter in square pan

How to Make an Icebox Cake

To make your chocolate icebox cake, you will first need to combine the crushed vanilla wafers and chopped walnuts in a bowl. Line the bottom of a 9-inch square pan with half of the wafer and nut-crumb mixture.

In another bowl, thoroughly cream together the butter and sugar. Once creamed, add the egg yolks and beat well.

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie or in the microwave and add the vanilla to it. Then add the melted chocolate and vanilla mixture to the butter, sugar and egg mix.

Whisk the egg whites until they are light and fluffy and form stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites in with the other ingredients. Be careful not to beat the air out of the egg whites.

Spread this chocolate mixture over wafer and nut crumb mix in the cake pan. Top the dessert with the remaining wafer and nut-crumb mixture. Leave the icebox recipe in the freezer (icebox) to chill and set overnight. Try to resist having chocolate icebox cake for breakfast!

icebox cake in pan with two slices on white plates

What to Serve with Icebox Cake

There are so many things that you could serve with this wonderfully easy dessert. My Grandma always kept it simple and served her homemade chocolate icebox cake with plenty of good old whipped cream. How could you go wrong with that!?

If you want to add your own spin on a classic dessert, fruit goes really well with an icebox cake. Aside from adding sliced banana and pineapple, strawberries, blueberry, and raspberries go really well with all the chocolatey creaminess. Any kind of berry of fruit is pretty safe to serve with a chocolate icebox cake.

If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could even make a cream cheese mocha or peanut butter filling for your icebox cake recipe.  (Or try making our chocolate peanut butter lasagna if you love this flavor combo!)

Instead of melted chocolate and egg whites, you’d need to mix cream cheese with peanut butter or chocolate and coffee. There is so much you can do with this icebox cake recipe! Whether you’re serving fussy eaters or exotic diners, a chocolate icebox cake will please everyone.

My other personal favorite adaptations to this amazing recipe are a zesty and summery lemon and lime flavor. Pumpkin, butterscotch and Oreo cookie flavored icebox cakes are also up there at the top of my list. That being said, you simply cannot go wrong with a traditional plain vanilla and chocolate icebox cake.

You can change up your icebox cake recipe to suit any time of year and any event – just make sure there’s enough room in the icebox because everyone is going to want second helpings of this frozen treat!

half eaten slice of chocolate icebox cake on white plate

When a pudding is this easy and this versatile, there’s no need to settle for boring old ice pops on a hot summer’s day.

Chocolate icebox cake is certainly a dessert with the WOW factor that doesn’t require hours in the kitchen. Now, what’s not to love about that!? 

More Cake Recipes You Will Love

Chocolate Icebox Cake Recipe

An icebox cake is a delicious frozen treat that you’ll want to eat all year long!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate icebox cake, Chocolate Icebox Cake Recipe, Icebox Cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chill: 8 hours
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 9
Calories: 500kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of crushed vanilla wafers
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts
  • ½ a cup of butter
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ bars of square chocolate
  • ½ a teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3 well beaten egg yolks
  • 3 stiffly beaten egg whites

Instructions

  • Combine crushed vanilla wafers and chopped walnuts in a bowl. Line the bottom of a square 9-inch pan with half of the mixture.
  • In another bowl, thoroughly cream together the butter and sugar. Once creamed, add the egg yolks and beat well.
  • Melt the chocolate and add vanilla, once combined mix with the butter, sugar, and egg mix.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they are light and fluffy and form stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites in with the other ingredients. Be careful to not beat the air out of the egg whites.
  • Spread the chocolate mixture over the wafer and nut-crumb mixture. Then pour the remaining wafer and nut mixture on top.
  • Put in the freezer overnight, then cut to serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 500kcal
Tried this recipe?Follow me on Pinterest @spaceshipslb

Stephanie Keeping

Stephanie is in love with a boy named Sam. He has taught her that it's okay to jump first and look later, to wear a dirty shirt to the park and to decide that today is a good day to take a nap in your rubber boots. She hangs out here blogging at Spaceships and Laser Beams and at our printable party shop on Etsy.

    1 Comment

    1. Layne Henderson

      Layne Henderson

      March 20, 2019 at 6:59 am


      I love a good icebox cake and this one is amazing!

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