Header image: Chocolate Icebox Cake from CHOW

Icebox cake is one of the easiest summer desserts around. Just layer cookies and whipped cream and let it sit overnight. The cream will soften the cookies into a sliceable, moist cake. Best of all? You can adapt it any way you like. Here’s how to do it:

Pick Your Cookie

A traditional icebox cake is made using thin chocolate wafer cookies. You can choose a different flavor, but make sure you choose a thin, crisp cookie. If the cookie is too thick, it won’t soften enough overnight. Graham crackers or wafer cookies are ideal, but feel free to think outside the box. Very thin chocolate chip cookies, gingersnaps, or paper thin Florentine cookies will all work well.

Flavor Your Filling

Start with a base of plain whipped cream: Whip your cream until you have stiff peaks. Depending on your cookie choice, you can give your whipped cream a twist. Fold in some mascarpone or Greek yogurt for tang. Flavor it with vanilla, lemon, or almond extract. Fold in some cocoa powder, espresso powder, or fruit purée.  If you like sweet desserts, beat in a few spoonfuls of powered sugar.


On a regular plate or cake stand, make a circular layer of cookies. Spread a generous layer of whipped cream filling over the cookies. Top with another layer of cookies, then another layer of whipped cream. Repeat until you run out of ingredients.

Place the cake in the refrigerator overnight (or for at least 8 hours). Remove, slice, and eat!

Expert Tips

1. Make it square

Serious Eats

You can easily make this cake in a loaf pan. Line the pan with plastic wrap, then start at one end of the pan and make a vertical layer of cookies. Follow with a vertical layer of whipped cream, and alternate until you fill the pan. Get the recipe here.

2. Add a sauce

This chocolate icebox cake gets even fancier with a fruit sauce. After chilling and slicing, drizzle a blackberry coulis over the top. Get our Chocolate Icebox Cake recipe.

3. Get creative!

Life, Love and Sugar

Whipped cream and cookies is pretty fantastic as is, but don’t stop there. Get inspired by new creations: This recipe riffs on the flavors of a classic cannoli with sweet ricotta filling, soft graham cracker layers, and a topping of miniature chocolate chips. Get the recipe here.

Posie Harwood is a New York City-based writer and photographer. She grew up on a farm and likes raw milk, warm bread with butter, and plenty of fresh air. Follow her on Instagram, and her blog 600 Acres.
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