icebox cake

My husband will tell you that his favorite dessert my chocolate caramel cheesecake, the orange-chocolate bundt cake, Mom’s chocolate chip sour cream coffee cake or the bourbon-pumpkin cheesecake but don’t believe him — he lies. Alex’s favorite cake looks comes from either Billy’s or Magnolia bakery, looks to him like “opened Oreos” and is called an icebox cake.

It is also, I am so sorry to say, a bit of a sham. Like the 1-2-3-4 cake recipe (1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour and 4 eggs) as well as the back-of-the-box shortcut buttercream frosting that they bakeries combined to form a “cupcake trend,” they have neither invented the icebox cake nor made it any better than the American home cooks that first concocted these simple desserts — they’ve just got better marketing.

icebox cake, overview

The National Biscuit Company — later shortened to Nabisco and whose original factory now houses Chelsea Market, OXO products and the Food Network — introduced their Famous Chocolate Wafers in 1924, along with a ginger and a sugar variety. The chocolate ones, lighter, thinner and more crisp than an unfilled Oreo but with a noticeably similar taste, and would have likely faded into obscurity when the non-chocolate varieties did had some ingenious 1930s housewives not figured out that if you stack them, separated with a layer of sweetened whipped cream, they soften overnight and become a glorious chocolate cake, with layers as thin and wisp-like as ribbons. One thing I will hand to the bakeries that have trendified this dessert — and sell it for $3.50 per slice — is that two years ago, I’d have been hard-pressed to find these cookies in any store (seriously, I still can’t even find the product on Nabisco’s website) and now, not only do they hold some shelf-space at my local Gristedes, I can order them from Amazon.

icebox cake

Of course, none of this holds any interest to my husband, who in suffering the ultimate act of cruelty on Thursday night, had to witness me throw together the cake (in about 30 minutes, to boot), pack it away and then serve it to other people. I wanted to make something for my chocoholic coworker’s last day of work, but not actually have to burn the midnight oil or worse, skip the gym, to do so. Though Luisa and I (whose significant other is also a Billly’s icebox cake fanatic) had schemed a few weeks ago to make one completely from scratch in the near future, icebox cake’s temptation wore me down sooner. You simply cannot lose when you make this cake.

If you can get past this one thing: THREE CUPS of heavy cream! Mon dieu! This, plus two packages of cookies, a few tablespoons of sugar and possibly, a heart doctor, is all you will need (though I suggest buying a third package, as many of these humble, unlovable wafers, wedged into a bottom shelf in your grocer’s cookie section will inevitably arrive broken), though in the future I may toy with whipped cream flavorings from mint extract to raspberry liquor. Or homemade chocolate wafers. But there’s no reason for you to be that kind of crazy; I’ve got more than enough for all of us.

icebox cake, curls

Update: Want to make your own chocolate wafers for this cake? Now you can!

Icebox Cake

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 (9-ounce) packages thin chocolate wafer cookies [or, make your own!]
  • Chocolate shavings, to finish

In a large bowl, beat cream, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.

On a flat serving plate, arrange 7 cookies side by side in a circle, keeping 1 cookie in the center.

Spread with 1/2 cup whipped cream, making a 7-inch circle. Repeat with remaining cookies and cream, making 11 layers of cookies and ending with a layer of cream (there will be a few cookies left over). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, coat top lightly with chocolate shavings.

Note: In response to the July 2023 news that Nabisco is discontinuing its Famous Chocolate Wafers, I’ve noticed a surge of comments looking for alternatives that are not homemade. I’m going to try a few out and report back. [These are next on my list, and I’ve got a good feeling about them.]

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377 comments on icebox cake

  1. Gorgeous presentation of a classic. I freaking love Nabisco Famous wafers–they make outstanding crumb crusts too. Sadly, I’m having more and more trouble finding them in stores. Look like I’ll have to buy online in bulk to get my fix.

  2. Yum! I will definitely have to make this. I bet a little Kahlua in that filling would be divine.

    I, too, have searched for the chocolate wafers. Good to know that Amazon has them. Thanks for the tip!

  3. My boyfriend has always sworn he doesn’t like whipped cream (part of growing up in the south where he was overwhelmed by sickly sweet desserts). But when I opened up this entry and the picture popped up, he said, you know, whipped cream is growing on me. Bring on the chocolate wafers, I’m making an ice box cake!

  4. That’s the prettiest icebox cake I’ve ever seen. My sister makes this a lot although hers is loaf shaped — built with the cookies stacked on their side and whipped cream covering everything. When icebox cake was first described to me, cookies coated with whipped cream that sit overnight in the refrigerator, it seemed completely sketchy but this stuff is delicious.

    And may I just say, poor Alex!! I hope he gets an icebox cake of his own soon.

  5. Cupcakes

    Weird. I had a customer ask me yesterday if i made an “ice box cake”.. I admit, i had no idea what it was.. I called Mom and she then when on a 30 min journey into her childhood and explained why these cakes were so popular “back in the day”.. i was like.. who would want a “cake” made from cookies and wip cream when they could have a beautifull 4 layer chocolate cake thats sitting in the case!! I was somewhat insulted by his request.. i was like.. omg, look at all the options I have here.. cakes, cookies, and CUPCAKES.. and this schmuck wants cookies and wip cream? OY (in my snarky inner voice i was like, go buy some oreos pal and call it a day)

    Yeh, so this morning, i wake up, see this and caught myself drooling..DUDE im impervious when it comes to cakes and stuff like that now.. i can totally do without sweets… and now this? It’s like i have to race to the shop now and make this just so i can have a slice. Soooo not cool deb!

    Fortunately this guy is a very regular customer of mine and i will oblige him and make it..

    This is a case where simple is best.

    Man-o-Man does this look tasty..

    what does it look like after its sat?

  6. Samphire

    There’s a version of this doing the rounds in NZ, which involves chocolate chip cookies, dipped in port, stacked together and covered liberally in whipped cream. Called Nessie’s wicked desert, after the evil perpetrator…it sounds perverted, and is extraordinarily tasty.

    I also remember when I was a child, my mother’s friend Susan coming to stay and making her “naughty pudding”, which I’m pretty sure involved ginger nuts, sherry and whipped cream.

  7. Amy

    This is my father’s favorite cake. He always had it as a boy on his birthday, and my mother continued the traditon. She always makes the tube, or log, and tops it with berries of some sort. Yours is very pretty, but I think I’ll stick with the log when I make it next, as part of the charm of this cake for me is the nostalgia. Those wafers are really hard to find, though.

  8. Abbey

    You know, I’ve been making this cake since I was a kid (in the 80’s) – a friend’s mom made it for her birthday party, and my mom begged her for the recipe. The woman just laughed and went, “buy a box of Nabisco Chocolate Wafers and look on the back of the box – it’s just cookies and whipped cream!” We were flabbergasted how easy it was (although we too always made it tube-shaped… like an oreo log!)

    You’ve definitely got to make it the night before and let it sit for 8 or more hours – the longer it sits, the softer and more decadent it gets. The only caveat is that you MUST use real whipped cream – do not use the stuff in a spray can! My sister tried that once and though it was very fast to put together and looked good when she put it in the fridge, when she took it out a few hours later the cream had “deflated” and disappeared!

    As for finding the wafers, I’ve never had a hard time getting them at my local big-chain grocery stores (in California, Massachusetts, and North Carolina – I’ve moved a lot!); the difficulty is often finding them in the actual store! Many stores carry them but the average checkout boy/girl doesn’t know what they are or where to find them. Over the years I’ve found them languishing on shelves in the sections for cookies, baking supplies, crackers, or sometimes even on a special end-of-the-ice-cream-aisle section for ice cream sundae supplies (syrups, cherries, etc.)!

  9. Abbey

    p.s. the fragile, broken cookies you always find in the box are the best part – the cook gets to dip them in the fresh whipped cream and much on them while s/he works! :-)

  10. This is incredible. I’ve never even heard of these before. Definitely sounds good to me right now after I made the Chocolate Stout cake yesterday for my husband’s birthday. That was really time consuming!

  11. Oo, that looks glorious. Can you actually slice it without making a giant mess?
    And, as a fellow ny’er, I totally stand by my offer for some middle eastern cooking. Felafel is sort of fast food, something more like makloubeh or an okra stew maybe?

  12. Jo

    Yum, that looks amazing. So much prettier my usual attempts. But these days I’m making it with Oreo 100 calorie packs and Cool Whip Light…not quite the same but a delicious substitute.

  13. Denae

    My family makes the log version of this and has for years. We find that Albertsons (large grocery store chain) carries the cookies off and on. If I am really desperate I will buy a bag of Oreos and painstakingly scrape the filling off and use the cookies to make the dessert. Last time I decided to add a little extra and I melted Andes mints and put a thin coating of melted Andes on each cookies so it was a chocolate mint cookie.

  14. Madeline

    This cake looks so amazing! Sorry, a little off topic here. I’m thinking of the baklasagne. It’s time for me to get a pasta machine. Does anyone have recommendations? Good deals? Ones to stay away from.

  15. Chris

    Try flavoring the whipped cream with Bailey’s Irish Cream (or your favorite liq)- it can’t be beat and makes it FEEL more grown up.

  16. Dang! That is my fantasy cake! I’ve never heard of this one before. Does it stay together nicely when frozen? I can just see myself making this only to have it fall apart upon slicing.

  17. Yvo

    I really really really really really want to make this because it doesn’t involve baking and looks beautiful (well, yours does, mine will be one of those that “taste good but look ugly”, you’ll see) but I don’t want to buy it from the Amazon merchant (was hoping it was an Amazon item). pout. I’ll have to check, scour my groceries for that. Thanks!!! It looks amazing!

  18. AngAk

    This cake, log version, is a favorite childhood dessert. I used to have trouble finding the wafers, but have found in the last few years that they are in all of our grocery stores. I made a buche de noel with this last year and it was such a hit. No one wanted to believe how easy it was.

  19. Ann Marie

    Thanks so much for posting this. This cake was one of my childhood favorites. My mother made it in a log version with the cookies on edge and we called it “zebra pudding”. Delicious.

  20. I made something (mildly) similar to this a while back – it’s a thousand layer crepe cake (gateau de crepes) – actually, I may have gotten the inspiration from The Smitten, come to think of it, but I made a few additions, added some raspberry puree, and will never, never forget the taste of the pastry cream inside ( This sounds yummy and reminds me of those random, halfway store-bought desserts my grandma would sometimes make, things like Pistachio/Chocloate swirl cake…desserts I like to call 1950’s American Military Housewife Desserts.

  21. Patty

    my mom and granma used to make these ….OoOoO so yummy . Thanks for the memoery , now my kids want me to make them one , lol . I love your site and keep up the good work

  22. deb

    Annie — This is kind of ridiculous, but one time, I was unable to find these wafers to make a crumb crust and stumped, bought chocolate teddy grahams instead… those horrifying smiling toy-looking chemistry sets of a baked good that boast “a days supply of calcium” Anyway, it was the best crust ever. Er, that is all.

    Janssen — Ha! That’s what Alex said. And then I took it away. Mwa-haha.

    Jenifer from Houston, Alanna, C, Patricia Scarpin, Hank’s Mama, Jill, Abby, Christine, Kristen, Jennpal, Pebbles, Patty — Thank you.

    Jennifer — Kahlua sounds brilliant. In fact, I am shocked, SHOCKED that I didn’t booze up the whipped cream. It’s like I don’t know me at all.

    Newgrandma — I should have given credit to those trendy bakeries for the presentation. I hadn’t realized until later that they’re the ones that whipped up that doily-like shape, making it seem all the more cake-like. So pretty, indeed.

    Carly — Tell him that the whipped cream is barely sweetened. Seriously! But all together with the cookies, it’s just the right level of sweet.

    Lisa (Homesick Texan) — Gristedes is truly the worst. And yet… some things I can get nowhere else. Like the full Goya bean collection. And the seltzer that’s 2/$1 with paper towels in the next aisle. But for these cookies, they really redeem themselves.

    Julie — I agree. Cookies and whipped cream? Artificially-flavored NABISCO cookies? Thank goodness it’s good enough to be worth suspending disbelief for.

    Cupcakes — This is actually what it looks like after it has sat; I had made it the night before and waited until the apartment was lit again to take a picture. It looks deceivingly firm, but those cookies are all soft. Not soggy, but soft and bendy and, uh, awesome. Hungry again.

    Samphire — Sweet lord, those sound good. You’ve got to figure that the history of this cake came from trifles or other cream and booze soaked cake/cookie combos. I wish to try them all.

    nyjlm — I pretty much don’t know why I ever bake after the response this cake gets. ;)

    Amy — I had the worst time finding them until recently, and now I will pretty much always worry that they’ll run out. It’s never a good sign that even Nabisco doesn’t mention them on their website.

    Abbey — Not only do you have to use the real stuff, but you have to use more than it seems it needs, because a bit of it absorbs as it sits. I ended up with extra whipped cream and MANY extra layers (we’d bought three packs of cookies, so I kept going) and it could have, in the end, used a little more squish inside. Not that anyone complained.

    SantaDad — Blah blah. I hate making the same thing twice, or at least in the same year. But, maybe for your birthday…

    Lauren — Hi Lauren and Jocelyn’s mom!

    Tammi — Hooray for stout cake. Did you like it?

    Mercedes — Surprisingly, you can, but it is more delicate than a regular cake. Makloubeh sounds interesting but okra is totally on my too-stubborn-to-get-over-my-dislike-for list. Do you make the makloubeh with lamb?

    Jo — Ha! I was wondering if those 100 calorie packs would be a good-stand in, if things got bad. Do they get as soft?

    Denae — Did the Oreos get soft? I’m almost afraid to ask, in case Alex reads this. “How come you never make it with REAL OREOS Debbie?” he’ll say. Groan.

    Madeline — After doing NO research, no comparison shopping and relatively no planning — responsible, eh? — I bought an Atlas pasta machine because it was what Bowery Kitchen Supply near us sold. (They had one other brand but it was $200! Wha? This was about $65.) I lucked out; it’s wonderful and I highly recommend it. (Though, not a total moron, I fully intended to return it if it was in anyway dissatisfying. I have no room for an appliance graveyard here!) I had for a long time been torn over whether to get the KitchenAid pasta attachment, but seeing as it is motorized and I’d hate losing that control AND I’d have to have the KA out each time I wanted to make pasta, I opted against it.

    Chris — Baileys? I’m so in. I’d put Baileys in my cereal, if I could.

    Maggpie — It’s not frozen, but refridgerated and stays together fairly well for a stack of cookies. No trouble slicing it, but you do of course have to be slightly more careful, but barely so. I trucked it to work slipping inside a cake carried with no problem.

    Jocelyn — Oooh, cupcake icebox cakes would be cool. Not sure about Sunday yet, hence the not-yet reply, but if I’m there, you know I’ll bring SOMETHING.

    Yvo — I didn’t realize that either. Amazon merchants are very annoying.

    connie — 3 cups of heavy cream is a LOT, but you also take a very thin slice of the cake because it’s unbelievably filling. No one-eighths on this baby.

    AngAk — Hooray for trendification! Still, I have to talk myself out of stocking them by the caseload because there’s nothing I hate more than not having what I need when I need it.

    tanya — Not sure low-fat would work, but like I said, a tiny piece goes a LONG way. It’s a tall cake.

    Ann Marie — Zebra pudding! I love it. A much better name.

    Sarah — I know that cake! I am eager to try it again. I skimped too much on the filling — again — though it was otherwise to die for. I love the raspberry sauce you put on top! I must find an excuse to make this again, especially because this time I will not be making crepes for the very first time, adding stress to the already inherent madness of the cake. It was another cake that even the thinnest slice could leave you full for hours.

  23. Jelena

    I was looking at this the other night and thinking about where i could get the wafers/cookies, when today while I was working (I’m a cashier at a grocery store) a lady bought them! I was very excited. I think it scared her a bit. They’re much cheaper where I work than on Amazon, $3.09 Canadian dollars!

  24. Judi McArthur

    The photographs on your site are absolutely beautiful! All the recipes sound fantastic! I find these wafers are available locally, but they can be ordered online at, the hard-to-find grocery items company. They will ship to you.

  25. mari-ann

    I decided to make this cake for a Christmas Eve party this year, but wanted to make something with raspberries…so i decided to just add the raspberries to the whipped cream, it added just the right amount of raspberry flavor. And a nice color.

  26. SantaDad

    “SantaDad — Blah blah. I hate making the same thing twice, or at least in the same year. But, maybe for your birthday…”

    I don’t get no respect!

  27. An excuse to make the gateau de crepes? Breakfast for dinner! It’s a theme! I’ve also considered trying it as a “savory” dish with the saltier crepes and some mushy, more dinner-appropriate fillings, like soft cheeses….I haven’t done it yet though.

  28. deb

    OMG Sarah — I have been eyeing this since it first graced my January Gourmet cover. It’s so beautiful, I am willing to throw a party just for an excuse to make it. Doesn’t it look fun?

  29. SUPER BOWL PARTY! Oooh, this looks tasty. I can totally make this in between commercials. And it’s sort of social, too. Someone ca nbe stirring the sauce while someone else watches the broccoli…oooh, interactive cooking!

  30. Lisa

    That is the tinyurl for the Nabisco wafers. They are on Krafts site, but I also could not locate them on Nabiscos site. I know they carry them by me in Stop & Shop in the cookie asile right up next to the vanilla wafers and arrowroot cookies of the Nabsico section TOP SHELF… Bought 3 boxes yesterday at the market to make this or perhaps the chocolate indulgence cake, also on the package…..YUMMY!!!

  31. Maria

    That looks incredible! My sister made a small log shaped cake with those wafers for us when we were young and I still remember that it was delicious… SURPRISINGLY delicious! I’m looking forward to having it again soon.

  32. oh that looks amazing. yes i agree how everything which seemed to be taken for granted has now become so trendy with marketing. my family make something similar called a biscuit pudding which includes dipping simple tea biscuit in a weak coffee and layering it with cream and shaved chocolate. absolutely tacky but so comforting. reminds me dinner parties in the 80’s when it was all the rage amongst expat sri lankans in australia!

  33. Cindy

    I have been making this cake for years but in a different shape.
    I take a LONG serving platter (fake plastic or even poster board cut thin and covered in foil). I put a thin layer of whip cream down. Then take put cream on each cookie and stand it up, then again and again. Eventually after 7-8 squeeze them together…fill the entire plate with a long looking cake and cover (generously) with all the whip cream. When you slice it, angle the cut and voila…you can’t tell it was cookies. BTW..I usually save a few broken cookies and just crumble them on top.

  34. I’ve never seen an icebox cake stacked like that. Usually, it is in a roll/loaf sort of shape, with the wafers lined and cream sandwiched between, and the whole thing wrapped in saran wrap to keep the shape while it sets. The recipe is the same, though, thank goodness because I lost my copy! Thanks!

  35. samanana

    This is the first time I’ve seen this cake. It is beautiful! Can’t wait to try it. How do you store it or cover it while it sits in the frig?

  36. deb

    Hi Samanana — I usually keep it in my cake carrier, which has a dome, but I’m sure any cake dome would do. If you don’t have a cake carrier or dome, perhaps some loose plastic wrap would work, but you’d want to be careful to make sure it didn’t stick to the cake. Good luck!

  37. OMG that just looks so utterly mouthwatering. I know I want to go and make one right now. I’m a huge fan of puddings. I’m going to make mini ones though so we don’t argue about who’s got most! Looks fantastic – your photos are dreamy! :)

  38. Your pictures are fantastic and after reading your post and all the comments, I just had to make this. After searching four different stores here in town, I finally found them (and stocked up just in case they decide not to carry them). It was excellent! Thank you for sharing!

  39. Lydia C.

    I stumbled onto your website through “StumbleUpon!”. I saw your picture and absolutely had to make this. Using my husbands family at a family-get-together as guinea pigs… ;)
    Everyone absolutely loved it!!! It was the greatest dessert hit of the day and I can’t believe how easy it was to make. I have the feeling, that I will be making this cake a lot more often.
    Thank you so much for posting it!

  40. Gina

    I too can not find these local, but there is a wonderful woman on ebay who just recently began selling them….I think she may be my new best friend lol. sooo since I am not wanting to buy 9 boxes…the only listing that I found on amazon, I am going to go to EBAY and get two boxes from her….then this baby is mine! (OK I *might* share with my kids, if they can be good….IF lol

  41. i just made this cake. mine was quite a bit uglier than yours though. i think i’ll need some practice until i can make it quite as spectacular! thanks for sharing!!!

  42. the most inspiring piece of cake .massive argument .I ‘ ll make an effort this time to follow each and every step to presumably end up with another crumble.Thank you for contributing to my education.

  43. My British Grandmum used to make a version of this, individual glass bowls stacked with alternating layers of ginger snaps and whipped cream, that sat in the fridge overnight. Oh my, was that good.

  44. Mama V

    My best friend’s mom used to make this EVERY year for her birhtday! I have since made it occasionally… and last time, i used fat-free cool whip… it turned out great! (mind you..without the “real” whipped cream taste… but it was quick, fat free and easy!) My friend’s mom always made is as a round cake, like yours, but she covered the whole thing in whipped cream, like icing… yours is prettier :)
    I have frozen this using the cool whip, and it turns out great! now I’m craving it….hmm…what’s for dessert tonight?

  45. I made this and it turned out so beautifully, but to be completely honest the tastebuds were not overly thrilled. I had huge expectations coming into this because it was going to turn out so pretty, but that was it, it was just pretty. I kinda felt jipped. Sorry Oprah.

  46. Denise

    Thank you. I’ve been trying to find these wafer cookies for years. They just disappeared one day. This was the birthday cake in my husbands’ family for years.

  47. Thank you for answering some questions. It has been ages since I have made Chocolate Ice Box Cake as my mother use to make it simple with the Nabisco Chocolate Wafers and heavy cream which was whipped. I hope I can find the Chocolate Wafers

  48. osage

    I love this cake, but I’d really like to make the chocolate wafers myself. I’m trying hard to get away from industrial cooking and make my own baked goods. they are so much better, it is truly worth it.

    Does anyone have an idea about how to duplicate./imitate the Nabisco Chocolate Wafer?

  49. Caza

    Hi, I’m from New Zealand and here we make a similar thing in log form using chocolate chippie biscuits (choc chip cookies), soaked in liqueur and stuck together with whipped cream. It is a Kiwi favourite but I am now keen to try and make your cake version…yum!

  50. After blogging a “chilling” morning with Thomas Moore and the the inventing of the ice-box, I was more than delighted to rest my eyes upon your Wafer Wonderland Cake. I hope you don’t mind, I told my visitors about it. It looks absolutely “heavenly.”

    Smitten Kitchen is on my list for more visits. Thanks:)

  51. deb

    I know it is frustrating to not be able to get the wafers, but I don’t recommend the homemade recipe I have. The trick with the store-bought wafers is that they get very soft and cake-like once nestled against the whipped cream for a few hours–most homebaked cookies do not. I have tried and tried to come up with a homemade version of them, but unfortunately haven’t come close yet. In the meanwhile, does sell them, though you’ll be stuck with six packages. That said, they keep (eerily) forever and I bet one taste of this and you’ll be eager to make it again soon.

  52. Lis

    I am about to make this today for a friend’s birthday/superbowl party tomorrow… he’s an oreo freak so I think this will make him happy. Just wanted to let everyone know that I did end up having to order the cookies online, but I figured out that the amazon merchant has their own site ( they require you to order $20 worth of stuff in order to ship to you but you can round out your order with other hard to find grocery items (hello Wolf Brand Chili from Texas!) and they ship pretty fast, I ordered last Sunday and had the cookies by Wednesday… Anyway just thought I’d let everyone know that you don’t have to settle for ordering 6 boxes from them via amazon if you don’t want to. Thanks for the inspiration Deb!

  53. I can’t believe it’s already been a year since you posted this! I think it looks amazing and I’ve been wanting to try it and still haven’t gotten around to it. Shows you how fast time flies, eh? Cheers!

  54. Even having read all 94 comments I still feel I can not move on in my day with out saying…. oh lordy! That picture stopped me in my tracks!!!! Yum!! I live in Sydney and really have no idea where I will find these biscuits or even anything close to a substitute , but oh my, it looks so amazing.
    Thank you for that simple simple treat I will begin my search for a suitable chocolate wafer immediately.
    So glad I found you!

  55. Deirdre

    I check in on your site daily, but this is the first time I’ve commented. I made this cake in the cupcake version yesterday for my book club tonight and just had one question…for the chocolate shavings on top, would that be with unsweetened chocolate or no? I feel like a dork for asking, but I don’t want to ruin these before serving them. Thanks! :)

  56. Tammi

    My grocery store recently moved everything around on every aisle, much to my dismay, BUT some good did come out of it because I finally was able to spot these wafers! I snatched up two boxes, but I think I’ll get some more. I’m going to make this cake in two weeks, can’t wait.


  57. Julianne

    Omg, I love these photos of the ice box cake! I’m a huge fan of this dessert. I’ve had it both at Magnolia and at Billy’s and I’m a fan. I’m in love, actually. My fiancee has made the ice box at home using this recipe and it’s heavenly. My mouth is watering just looking at the photos!

  58. Shelley

    This is the best cake! I’ve made it several times, though mine wasn’t quite as thick or pretty. Even so, people gasp when I bring it out!:) I live in a Swedish town in Kansas :) and we have different wafers at the local store…I’ve made a lemon one and a ginger cookie one too. They all taste amazing and I’ve never encountered the person who doesn’t agree. :) I thank you for one of my favorite recipes of all time. :) I love your website!!! :)

  59. jess

    I have been dying to try this receipe since you first posted it but I’ve been looking all over to find stores that carry the wafers and just when I was about to give up I happened to find them at a local grocery store. I made the mini icebox cupcakes instead because I was not sure if we would be able to finish them all but I wanted to ask you how do you get the cream to spread smoothly and perfectly? The ones you have made look so much better than mine!!

  60. Diane

    My Mom made this cake when we were kids and I’ve taken over. Of course, we make the log version. I’d never seen it in any other form. Alot of people have never heard of it — but boy is it delicious and a big hit in our house. We’ve never had a problem finding the cookies (in Massachusetts). And I love eating the broken bits with the whipped cream while I bake. The biggest problem is waiting for it to set. I have to admit to cracking into the cake before it had sat completely. It was still delicious but definitely worth the wait for it to set!!!

  61. jokah


  62. leigh

    We make this in Australia also, though here it’s called Chocolate Ripple Cake and uses chocolate ripple biscuits (made by Arnotts). It is the richest and tastiest and easiest thing to make ever.

  63. I’m surprised the wafers are hard to find as I see them in pretty much every grocery store near me. A coworker of mine made the infamous recipe and I was dubious, but it was pretty good when she made it. I made it again recently and honestly, I wasn’t that impressed. Give me real oreos or a real cake anytime. P.S. It scares me that this bakery is promoting a recipe that is an American staple – Sex and the City changes things again, I guess, after promoting their cupcakes as well.

  64. meg

    I had never had this before and whipped it up last night because it looked so good and it truly was DELICIOUS! thank you for opening my eyes to such a wonderful and easy cake!

  65. kastinkerbell

    I wanted to make this for my sweet-toothed boss (it was her birthday), but my fancy grocery store didn’t have the cookies. Why can I find them at the regular store and not the fancy one?

    The fancy store *did* have a line of equally thin and delicate cookies from Sweden (iirc). There were several flavors. I selected the “cappuccino” ones. I then added rum, cocoa, and a little more sugar to the cream. It was a *huge* hit. There were also chocolate mint, ginger, and lemon flavors of these cookies (which have a nice “flower” shape to them), so other combinations might be worth exploring.

  66. Kellee

    Deb, my nephew adores this cake. I am making it for his 11th birthday party on Sunday afternoon. I was wondering if you think that it’s too early to make it on Sat. morning considering I have a jam-packed Saturday already planned and didn’t really want to start it at midnight although I’ll probably be awake watching unfunny reruns of SNL. I appreciate the help :-)

  67. deb

    Definitely can make it early–in fact, it’s best that way, so all of the cookies get extra-soft. He’s going to love it; you’re a great Aunt!

  68. I made this for my sister’s baby shower last weekend. When I told my mom I was making it, she said “OH! Your grandma used to made that for her club nights and we would sit home and pray there were leftovers.”
    Everyone was thoroughly impressed by the presentation and of course, there were no leftovers to my husband’s dismay. Thank you!

  69. SarahM

    My mum (and I) have been making a modified log version since I was a little kid — I could tell the adults that I “made” this cake at my parents’ dinner parties since I was 6 and they were always in awe! We do 4 stacks of 10 wafers (with w. cream in between) then lay the stacks down side by side, with a little w. cream in between the stacks and cover with the rest of the w.cream. Takes a litre of w. cream with sugar and vanilla (or Grand Marnier, etc) as you describe. Always allow overnight to soften. Then you slice across the stacks, it looks like a ten layer cake (vertical layers). Always a hit. I also do the same with ginger snaps, with crystalized ginger chopped into the w.cream — our usual Christmas dessert. Even more delicious to me…

    I am intrigued by the presentation here! Do all the cookies get soft — even the exposed edges? Wonderful.

    And I must say, the Nabisco wafers are easy to find here in any grocery store in the cookie aisle, although often on the top shelf. I live in Ontario, Canada.

  70. Marilyn Lombardi

    I make a different version of icebox cake. It has been a tradition in my family for years. I use Nabisco Graham Crackers and layer them in a deep roasting pan.
    I also use Chocolate Pudding (only the cooked kind because it is hot to soften the graham crackers)and layer the pudding on top of the Graham Cracker layers, like you would lasagna making 4 or 5 layers. Then I would whip up a big box of Dream Whip and put it on top. Then crush some Graham Crackers and sprinkle it on top.
    Then refrigerate till ice cold. I also make a diabetic version using Sugar Free/Fat FreeJello Chocolate Pudding. This cake is so delicious and not as fattening if you are on a diet. The Dream whip is also very little fat and sugar. You can find it in your local supermarkets. Try it and you will never want to bake a cake again!

  71. HootOwlGal

    A few weeks ago, I noticed Nabisco Chocolate Wafers at my local Publix ( Florida) grocery store. They were not on the cookie aisle, but in the same area as ice cream cones and jars of sundae sauce. Seeing the sleeves of cookies made me think about a college buddy of mine waxing poetic about some kind of cake his mom made out of them, but I had no idea how to make one… So, thanks, Deb! You have solved a mystery for me.

    I am thinking that this cake in all its’ wicked glory will make it to my Christmas spread, garnished with the very earliest crop of fresh Florida strawberries.
    Hmmm.. cupcake style for the dessert buffet? Won’t they be pretty?

    Chocolate. Whipped Cream. Strawberries. Oh! The bliss!

  72. brendalynn

    We make these as single-wide stacks, and cover them all the way around with the cream so they’re like towering mini cakes. With a wee bit of green food coloring, they’ve been my family’s tradition for St. Patrick’s Day since I was litte.

    The hardest part is simply finding the dang chocolate wafers in a store.

    Do you have any problems slicing this cake? Or do you just kinda scoop? Without all surfaces slathered in whipped cream, it would seem to me that you’d still have some less-than-cakey cookies in the mix…

  73. Rachael

    I squealed with joy over this entry. My mother made Zebra Pudding (what we call it in our family) for every major event of my childhood. It is so beloved in our family that even now, almost 6 years after her death, it remains a staple of every holiday and get together. It’s funny because I am from a family of cooks – those in culinary school, those who spend too much time at the stove and those addicted to the Food Network – but I am the only one who can make this cake. Personally, I think the boys are just afraid of knocking down a tower of cookies so they make me do it every chance they get.

  74. Laura Helen

    My favorite is a holiday version of this cake! We found gingersnaps that were a similar size and thickness at World Market store. I mix pumpkin and pumpkin spice into my whipped cream and then use the gingersnaps. It’s SO delicious and really pretty!! We used to make the traditional version every christmas, but this is my new favorite!

  75. Kriss Loftus

    I first had the Wafers 30 years ago when my mother-in-law made the cake on the box for me. She’s long gone and I was afraid the wafers were….I stopped seeing them at my local Jewel food stores in the Chicago area recently so I went online to see if I could find them and I found this article instead. I’ve made the cake that’s shown on the box and printed on the back since my mother-in-law did 30 years ago but it’s not that large. I can’t wait to try the ice box cake for Thanksgiving this year. Our local Dominick’s food store had about 30 boxes on the shelf when I went last Friday Thank God I can find them again!!!

  76. Jennifer

    This has been a family favorite for many many years- but we add bananas to our layers- that’s our family recipe. And it makes the cake so much better. We dont sprinkle chocolate shavings on it either- but trust me….the bananas add that extra bit of YUM to this cake. I can’t wait to eat mine tomorrow- it’s sitting in my refrigerator now ready to go!

  77. We make the Chocolate Choo Choo Train (that’s what we call it) every holiday and my uncle and aunt fight over the first piece! My Nana made it as long as I could remember until my Mom took over the job – she makes her’s in a long train, any extra cookies get made into individual ramekin versions.

    It is tough to find the cookies in the stores – in Stop and Shop just look UP! They are always stashed on the top of the isles.

  78. Janet Vizuete

    This cake is out of this world. I completely cover mine with whipped cream though so it looks like a gigantic snowball. Make this for your friends/family and tell them you made it. It’s unbelievable how such an easy recipe can be so kick butt! This is a keeper for sure – Thanks Nabisco! This recipe rocks!

    Also folks, you should always check out recipes on food product boxes/cans because the manufacturers put those recipes on there because the recipes are GREAT! They wouldn’t put a crappy recipe on their products.

  79. d

    did you use regular sugar or powdered sugar? if you use regular sugar, can you feel the sugar once it is whipped or do the crystals dissolve?
    i can’t wait to try this recipe for my bf’s birthday!! thank you :)

  80. This was the best dessert I had as a child, and I only had it once at a party at my Aunt’s house. She didn’t make it, and didn’t have a recipe for it, but i loved it and dreamt about it for years.

    Thank you for not only solving a childhood mystery, but for bring back great memories, and for creating such an extraordinary looking version – wow!

    Gorgeous photo! I will be making this very soon.

    Thanks again!!!

    ~ Paula

  81. Mischelle

    I live in a town of 10,000 and we have the nabisco cookies. Try looking in the goumet cracker/ cookie section of your grocery store. They are about $4 a box, cheaper than amazon!!

  82. tracysunshine

    I woke up at 3:30am. A random memory of this favorite childhood cake wafted into my thoughts as I lay there trying to fall back to sleep. I decided to google it and wa-la! Here is an amazing photo of it, presented so beautifully! My eyes popped out on stalks and a ray of light shone through the livingroom ceiling onto my laptop! I am so going to make this (with fresh raspberries). Thank you thank you thank you!

  83. Ashley

    These cookies are now available in Harris Teeter grocery stores (I live in NC). I found them this morning when I was shopping and almost yelled with excitement. Then I realized that two boxes of these suckers cost me $10. I am now looking to buy an off brand of some sort.. But the price is almost worth it just for the cake. It is amazing!

  84. Val Davis

    My daughter wants to use this as her wedding cake. How to cut it would be my first question. How many servings from the traditional recipe. Does anyone have suggestions on how to accomplish the wedding cake?

  85. deb

    It cuts like a normal cake but I can’t even imagine how to turn it into a wedding cake, I guess unless you bought some sort of tier set. It’s not very physically stable and whipped cream wouldn’t keep very well at room temperature for many hours.

  86. The icebox cake we always used to make when I was a kid (so, 20 years ago) was chunky applesauce layered with cinnamon graham crackers, then served with a liberal dollop of whipped cream or ice cream. I forgot about it until reading this recipe! Sweet!

    p.s. Chocolate sounds way better, though.

  87. kelly

    omg. i must have this. but my first instinct was to flavor the whipped cream. orange? amaretto?! MINT?! it all sounds too good.

  88. This is the cake that my husband requests on random occasions. It kills me to make it for him, though, only because he grew up with his family using Cool Whip, and not real whipped cream. He only wants it with cool whip. I REALLY want to use whipped cream. Maybe I’ll attempt the homemade wafer cookies, and then I’ll use the real whipped cream because this will be MY version, not his :)

  89. mharper

    this cake was SOOOOOOOOOO good! i made the cookies per your recipe and they turned out perfect. next i’m going to try them dunked in mint chocolate as one commenter suggested. homemade thin mints. yummmmm.

  90. wm1

    I am getting away from vanilla extract. I have found a great substitute. An online business called Juliet Mae Spices makes vanilla sugar. It has vanilla infused raw sugar and a whole vanilla bean that can be scraped for the pure gooey vanilla seeds inside. I believe it is much better than vanilla extract.

  91. Hello there! I found your blog while doing some research on this recipe. I am originally from Australia (lived here 6 years) and this cake (though it is called chocolate ripple cake) was my favorite dessert growing up. We make it a little differently in Australia however. I think your way of assembling the cake is much much prettier but my question is how do all the cookies soften and become cake like when they are not completely covered by the cream? Do the exposed cookies stay firm? Our version (I posted it today) is in the shape of a log and is completely covered in cream so that the cookies all soften. I was just interested. Love your blog. I added it to my fave’s and can’t wait to explore it.

  92. Christina B

    Oh my gosh! The amazon link said that a box of 12 wafers costs nearly $70! I can’t believe it. This cake looks SO good. The box on Amazon looks familiar though, I think I may have seen those cookies at the grocery store but they didnt interest me, I will have to check again. I wonder if they would have them at the actual Nabisco factory though? I used to pass it on the freeway every day when I drove to school.

  93. Hey Christina!

    I made this cake for my husband’s birthday a couple days ago. it was a huge hit, involving several girlfriends mumbling profanity. resembles a giant oreo. who can say no?

    I baked the chocolate wafer cookies myself. What i did was WAY too time consuming because i thought it might be cute to roll and stamp pretty fluted shape cookies for the cake. NOPE. the flute shapes didn’t come out that well because it did spread somewhat. I rolled the scraps in a log and cut as directed and they turned out almost identical to the cookie cutter ones. Turned out to be around 150 cookies… 11 layers, 10-11 cookies each, extra cookies are great with ice cream or lunch boxes

  94. Peggy

    My mom used to make this ..sideways! 2 “logs” of sorts but I think the stacked version is much prettier.

    I haven’t had this cake in probably 25 years and, if I can find the wafers, I am going to make one tonight!

    Thanks for the reminder (and the nostalgia.) I love your site.

  95. Jendorf

    Happy Birthday to me!
    This is the first recipe that was up when I found your blog in an article in Real Simple last year and went online to check you out! This was so irresistable, I went right out and got the ingredients and made the cake the next day–2-week-old infant and all!
    Ever since, this has been at the back of my mind, and when my hubby asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday this year, this was my one answer: make this cake!
    P. S. My usual grocery didn’t carry these wafers last year, and I mentioned it to the manager. . .now they’re always there!

  96. Jendorf

    So, my friends insisted that I post that I served it with a fanned strawberry on top, and included one with each piece of cake. They LOVED it!

  97. Darcy

    I tried this recipe with some mint chocolate wafer cookies. They were Anna’s brand chocolate mint thins. Since I hadn’t seen the Nabisco wafers lately, I decided I had to try it. The cookies had a pretty scalloped edge that looked great for the cupcake-sized version. They are less chocolatey than the Nabisco ones and very lightly minty. I garnished with mint leaves.

  98. Kristy

    Hi Deb! Love the site! I made this this weekend with mint extract instead of vanilla and a hint of green paste color. It looked amazing and tasted even better. I made the leftover wafers into sanwich cookies and those are a hit as well. Congrats on the baby on the way! I’m Preggo as well and it’s so exciting! Thanks for the yellow cake recipe today…cross that one off the list!

  99. anna

    can i do this in a spring form so that the sides will all be even? just curious if it would hold up after popping open the pan. im a bit of a perfectionist….:)

  100. tara

    i found i had to “glue” the cookies to the plate with a little whipped cream at the beginning–they kept sliding around when i was trying to put on the first layer of whipped cream!!

  101. Sarah Wick

    I just used your idea to make, instead, sandwiches with homemade vanilla ice cream. So yummy! Thanks for calling my attention to these tasty little wafers.

  102. Sophie

    Deb, I made this over the weekend and scored MAJOR points with every person that consumed any of it. Thank you. I’m still hearing raves about it! And I never had to turn the oven on, which is perfect for this northwest heatwave. It was awesome, I didn’t really know what to expect but MAN. It was like a whole new flavor after everything sat together overnight… so good! And really cake-like.

    So I don’t want to brag, or anything :), but I kinda thought mine looked a lot like your picture when I was finished. Sadly, a peek into the cake dome the next morning showed the whole thing slumped over against the side. Cake tower fail. The spring-form pan idea is sounding good for next time!

    And I would recommend to all icebox-cake makers to use the whipped cream generously between layers. After cutting into mine, I noticed that the first few layers where I was careful with the cream were almost just solid cookie. When I saw how much cream I still had in the bowl, so I spread it on thick for the later layers. Much better.

  103. Anastasia

    THIS IS AMAZING!!! and so very funny! My mom made this cake for us as kids, we make it for our kids, but in that log thingie, i just showed my hubby he couldnt believe it, I love how pretty it looks, i cant wait to make it like this, this was my 1st day on your website, i came on looking for a really good oatmeal cookie recipe (and thank you, yes I found one) and fell in love with your website, I am a compulsive baker, i bake everyday, with 3 kids it somehow helps ke keep my sanity, your site is GREAT!! THANKS!!!!

  104. Summer

    This is very similar to a frozen oreo dessert that my mom makes. I’m sure she got the recipe off an oreo package or something. It is a bit more involved than your version. About a third of the reg. size oreo package is crushed to make a crust in a 9×9 pan, then the whipped cream is divided in half and a package of melted chocolate chips is folded into half the whipped cream. This is all alternately layered with oreos pulled apart. The whole pan is frozen, then to serve cut into squares. YUM! Probably a bit more sugary than the Nabisco chocolate biscuit version, though.

  105. Jessica

    I had this at a family gathering recently and it was a HUGE success! So beautiful and delicious too. Can’t wait to make it myself.

  106. Meghan

    This may sound strange but I live in a very remote, fly in only, Alaskan bush village. All of our food and what not also has to be flown in and getting heavy cream here is not a possibility. Could you make a substitution suggestion?

  107. Amanda

    This looks absolutely amazing! I just made one (dyed the whipped cream orange for a “halloween” theme) however it is not beautiful as yours is =)
    You capture the essence of everything you make on this blog wonderfully! Everything looks beautiful.

  108. Ilana

    Love your blog! Found it about a month ago and hooked up ever since. Sometimes I forget that I have work to do (I read it at work, since at home my 3 little kids don’t let me have time to touch the computer, at rare occasions when they do, it is already occupied by my husband).
    Congratulations on your cute, cute, cute little baby. He is a real bundle of joy, even though he turns your life upside down.
    This cake looks gorgeous! It says straight forward: MAKE ME, but I have a really hard time to find chocolate wafer cookies (not a surprise to you) here in Israel, were I live. Do you think choc tea biscuits like one of these
    would make a good substitution (they soften well)?
    Thanks for your blog and for your time.

  109. Rach

    Here in Australia we call it a chocolate ripple cake, and usually just make it in a log. Also just a hint to make sure the cookies are nice and soft when you serve, is to dip one side of the cookie into rum/brandy before wacking the cream on.

  110. kate

    This is such a beautiful cake!! I am planning to make it today for the first time. I searched up and down and in vain for the elusive chocolate wafers and decided to make my own- thank you so much for posting a recipe for them as well! I did look on Amazon and they are still listed- for $47.39 a box! Jaw dropping and unbelievable- I would never spend so much on a box of cookies.
    Looking forward to trying the cake and considering making several of these for my wedding reception in the spring in lieu of an overpriced gross fondant wedding cake.

  111. kate

    Ha! That’s hilarious- how did I not see that?
    So I tried making this, and it was a fiasco- my homemade cookies turned into a spider-webby looking puddle in the oven- not sure what I did.
    I went to another store and finally found the storebought cookies, and went home to create the whole concoction, thinking of how my fiance would love it.
    I (blushing) don’t own an electric mixer, so I whisked the cream and sugar by hand until I got tired, then I put it in the blender and turned it on. Turned out okay, and I frosted probably three layers until I decided I wanted more airy whipped cream. The second go round in the blender was too much, and I ended up with a watery sweet butter instead. *sigh* I should have known better! Guess I better go pick up a mixer, but the whole thing has made for an amusing morning, anyway, if not for me than surely for some of you reading this :)

  112. Tammy

    My friend made this for me for my birthday while I lived in NY. It became my fav instantly! I have since started making it now that I moved to FL. I can’t find the chocolate waffers either and have used the 100 calorie Oreo packs and they work just fine. But the only differences between yours and mine is that “we” make it in a 9″x12″ baking dish and layer it like lasagna. On top, we drizzle marachino cherry juice over it and poke holes for it to seep into the lower layers, then top it all over with the cherries. It is pure HEAVEN!

  113. chops

    FYI to anyone out there who doesn’t have an electric mixer and hopes to make this by hand with a whisk – don’t! It took me 10 minutes using my electric mixer on the highest speed (which is quite high) before I got my soft peaks. By hand it would be impossible, if not rather grueling and quite frustrating. I caved and bought my electric mixer just for this recipe (to make it for my partner’s birthday) – it was $20 and well worth the money. As a broke recent graduate, I believe that damn near everything can be done with moderate labor by fork or whisk, but 3 cups worth of whipping cream isn’t one of them.

    Also, this was a favourite cake of mine growing up, and I hate the soft mushiness of cake in general. Nor do I enjoy whipped cream. That’s a testament to how adept this cake is at overcoming obstacles – there’s something about the chilled, softened wafers that lets my brain interpret this cake as “ice cream” or perhaps “mousse” instead of “nauseating mush”. I can’t quite explain it.

    Thanks for the recipe Smitten Kitchen!

    1. Melanie

      It’s the fault of your cream, not enough butterfat. Look for extra heavy or double cream, or use Rose Levy Birnbaum method (The Cake Bible) and add melted butter to warm cream, chill and beat.

  114. Lisa Harden

    We asked one of our co-workers to make a cake for someone’s birthday and he made this one.
    It was FANTASTIC!
    He made it with homemade cookies & homemade whipped cream.
    Simple yet delicious!
    Lisa Harden
    Baltimore, MD

  115. Ellebasi

    I made this last week with homemade cookies. I had to double the cookie recipe and roll the logs a bit larger to get the proper diameter. I used the Hershey’s special dark cocoa and they turned out yummy. Everyone was super impressed and it tasted great! Thanks so much for inspiring me to bake and cook!

  116. Kelley Harrison

    I made this as little five layer cupcakes, with peppermint extract and a few drops of red food coloring to give the cream a gorgeous pink color. They were a huge hit. I don’t have an oven, so I was thrilled to find a recipe for a “cake” that doesn’t require baking. The “cupcakes” were both adorable and absolutely delicious. For those who live in New York City, the wafers are sold at Fairway.

  117. Susan Sternfeld

    Sixty years ago my parents made this for me, but they used half vanilla and half chocolate and added slices of banana. It is still my favorite birthday cake.

  118. Sophie

    Has anyone made this with Cool Whip? I don’t want to sound like a turd but I thought I might try to reduce the calories just a tad by using fat free Cool Whip. I know I know — if you’re cutting calories, don’t make dessert! But theoretically it should work the same as regular whipped cream, right?

  119. Emily

    This cake (the log version) has been THE special treat at our family’s summer cabin for more years than I care to say. We have always made it with peppermint candy…smashed into bits with the rolling pin and stirred into the whipped cream.

  120. eileen

    Hi Deb. Just wanted to say thank you for posting this recipe. My son who turned 6 yesterday LOVED it!!! Oddly enough, he doesn’t like traditional cakes (or chocolate for that matter) but he saw the picture of the Icebox Cake and quickly declared, “Mom, that’s the cake I want!!!”. We’ve been snowed in here in the DC are for a few days now and this cake was a highlight.

  121. Tone

    Made a version of this with pink whipped cream for a Happy February 15th! Celebration (I worked Valentine’s day, so we celebrated late).
    Couldnt find wafers so I subbed Oreo cookies (scraped off the cream) and they worked great. Plus, Oreos were on Sale. If you cant find the wafers, or if they’re %5 a box (why??!), go ahead and do a swap. Ive had it with Oreos and with the Wafers and couldnt tell the difference.
    It was a hit… and, to tell the truth, I just snuck a piece at shortly after 9 in the a.m.

  122. MO3B

    I showed my kids your photo of this cake and they were so excited. I made it this past weekend and it was a huge hit. It makes such a great presentation but is so easy to make. My boys declared the recipe a “keeper”. Thanks Deb!

  123. Kris

    I have a question about the recipe and actually most of your desserts/cake/chocolate recipes. If I make this a day before would that affect the cake in the taste, how it sits, the cream, etc.? I’m not much of a cook but I want to try my hands on this as it seems like it’s something I could make…and not fail at it. lol. But I like to make it the day before because I’m planning to bring it in the office the next morning. Thanks!

  124. Kris

    And what I meant by this — “and actually most of your desserts/cake/chocolate recipes” — is that is it okay to make the dessert recipes the day/night before and then serve it the next day? I know it’s a such stupid question to ask but I never bake and your blog has inspired me to try your desserts recipes and so I was just curious about the timeframe of making recipes as I’m clueless about it.

  125. Eleanor

    Try this with loads of fresh strawberries…

    If the cookies get too soft you can always scoop it into a bowl and use a spoon. Yum.

  126. Marci

    Hey Deb, quick question, for the size, is it seven cookies in a circle, with 1 in the middle, or 6 with 1 in the middle? do all the cookies have to touch each other so they soften together or can there be space between them, if i wanted to make this cake bigger for many people to eat?
    This cake is one of my faves, but I’ve always made it in a flat dish, not as an upright cake, it’s seriously deeeelish!

  127. Melissa


  128. Wendy

    Hi! I am tempted to make this cake with the mint creme that you made your chocolate souffle cupcakes with…do you think this would work, or would it be too heavy??

  129. Prin

    I’ve made the homemade chocolate wafers since the Divine Deb first made homemade oreos. I’ve made the icebox cupcakes with the home made wafers, but today, due to a time crunch (I’m also making an Italian Rum Cannoli cake) I bought the Nabisco Chocolate wafers and oh my god, two things, 1) the flavor of the home made wafers are SO much better, much more chocolate-y and 2) the Nabisco wafers were so pricey I bought them at the local grocery store and they sold for $4.50/box! Some of the most expensive cookies on the shelf! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

  130. Wendy

    Hi! I just wanted to follow up – the mint creme that you made your chocolate souffle cupcakes with was perfect. I added a little more plain whipping cream (I had intended to add more, but ran out), and the whole combination was to die for. The cake was demolished, and is likely to become a staple :)
    Thanks for both ideas!

  131. jen

    my family’s version of icebox cake is chocolate pudding (not instant!) between layers of graham crackers. a lot of brooklyn italians seem to make that version. it’s amazingly delicious. but this recipe looks yummy as well!

  132. VancFoodie

    I don’t think this recipe ever ‘went away’ in Canada (I have no problem finding the wafers in Vancouver stores.) My Grandma served the log-shaped version in the summer accompanied by fresh raspberries grown in her back yard. A nostalgic favourite, it never fails to delight and amaze the people to whom I’ve served it.

  133. Ariel

    I LOVE this stuff! I’ve been making it for years, but I didn’t know it had a proper name, so that’s fun.
    Also, I love the shape you’ve got it in. Mine usually just end up in a log, or a striped sort of thing like on the front of the cookie package. I’ll definitely try this next time I make it. =]

  134. michelle vruwink

    Ok – I know I’m dredging up an old post…but, I have to make a cake for my son’s school “cake walk” –we’re new here in Asheville NC (& by the way – as a former New Yorker, NC is heaven:), much as I love NYC), I’m not from the south (most recently in CA, where no one bakes, so you can wow people very easily!) and this looks spectacular. But can I transport it???? Maybe Target still has some of those cute cake boxes they had at Christmas….thoughts anyone?

    1. deb

      michelle — If you don’t have a baking supply store around, which, uh, most people don’t, you might go to a local bakery and ask to buy a box off of them. I used to do it all of the time. Makes a great disposable cake carrier, and cardboard/paper, so not too much of a landfill lump.

  135. sofia

    deb –
    try building this as a log! it is so much easier to make and cut, and travels better! just put it on a long plate and go cookie cream cookie cream. it’s my birthday cake every year.

  136. LadyB

    Just beautiful! Forgot all about this cake, it was a staple at parties when I was a kid back in the 50’s. Love your presentation, it’s so pretty. Have always had it served as a log.

    Bought dried cherries earlier to cut up and add to the stellar brownie recipe you published (ALWAYS a hit, with or without the dried cherries or goji berries I use), and found this link when I checked that recipe, am glad I did. Am going to make this for Solstice, adding chopped up dried cherries in between the layers for a quick Black Forest cake. Wonder if I can actually wait 3 weeks, or if I need a trial run LOL.

    Thanks for posting this!

  137. Streamlined Girl

    Has anyone tried this with the addition of liqueur, like kaluha? Would it be best to incorporate this into the whipped cream? Will this “break” the whipped cream? Or can I just brush the cookie layers with the kaluha first? Advice please! I’m dying to try this!

  138. Just had this at Magnolia bakery tonight and had to do a quick search on it. Love this. To die for with all the whipped cream and the soft cookies. I’ll definitely be making one of my own!

  139. camille

    Resurrecting this oldie… I made this at Christmas but swapped gingersnaps for the chocolate wafers, and am making it tonight with a summer twist: lemon wafers. YUM! Thanks for the inspiration!

  140. This is delicious! I have make the cupcake version for several families that just had new babies (delivered along with an entire meal) and this was definitely a show stopping hit! I flattened the silver liners for each one to sit on. This is delicious!

    I live near a “bag yourself” grocery store…Winco (locations in WA, ID, NV, CA, OR, and UT), and they have these cookies for the least amount (I saw these at the closest grocery store to me, Stater Bros, and they were almost $6 per box). I paid $3.88/box at Winco! Hopefully this helps someone (it’s less than Amazon’s price for a pack of 12 boxes).

  141. oh, and I have 4 kids (and a husband), and you’d think they were copying scenes from What About Bob with the fresh shucked corn with all the ummms, and ahhhh, while enjoying this. My girls (8, 6, and 3), say this is their very favorite dessert (and I bake all the time). If my son (18 months) signs more after downing a 5 tiered cupcake of this, you know that’s a good sign!

  142. Vy

    Oh my sweet goodness. I’d want to make two so I eat one and look at the second one untouched and bask in its gloriousness.

  143. kate

    deb- thanks so much for that link! my little guy turns one soon too, and though i am not quite ambitious enough to make your cute monkey cakes, i think i am going to do the big icebox cake and a little cupcake smash for him. i’m toying with the idea of using trader joe’s ‘thins’ cookies, maybe the lemon, for the little man because they are at least all natural- anyone use these before?

  144. Charity

    I made this for my now sister-in-law’s birthday. It was good, but not great. Very, very rich. I think I just built it up too much in my head which is my own fault. But the instructions were easy to follow and I followed them to a T.

    I found it hard to transport in the car even with it sitting on the passenger’s lap. And my icebox cake kind of turned into the Leaning Tower of Pisa bit. I think if I made this again, I will make it in a springform pan like Ina Garten does with her mocha icebox cake.

  145. topogigio

    I used to make this as a kid. Have had a hard time finding the wafers in stores over the years, but I haven’t looked for a while. This is indeed one of the best cakes ever, and only requires you to whip some cream. I used to be a pastry cook and would go through all kinds of trouble to make desserts that, frankly, didn’t taste half as good as this. That is why I’m not a pastry cook anymore! Long live the famous chocolate wafer!

  146. So I’ve got time before my no-holds-barred, we made it throught the dieting of February and March and actually lost weight but now we wanna gain some of it back Dinner Party and I’m trying to decide between this little lovely or the Make Your Own Icebox cake. Which one is better, considering that time or cookie-finding are non-issues (L.A. has every kind of Nabisco cookie available)?

  147. deb

    You mean the store-bought or the homemade? Of course, the homemade. They have wonderful cocoa in them and butter. But they don’t get as thin and machine-perfect as the storebought so if you’re more into the cake looking just so, go the easy way.

  148. Shelby

    I just made this cake — or rather a smaller version of it — as a Valentine’s celebration treat. It was incredible — and the hubs thought so too. Thank you for posting this! I also made the blueberry pancakes (your posting with Martha’s recipe) and they were fabulous too. Thank you!

  149. Charlotte

    Love love love this cake! Grew up on it and all of the whipped splendor!! Now, with family members trying to be healthier and some with diabetes I have *gasp* modified the recipe using a shall-remain-unnamed whipped topping. I know, shock, horror, sacrilege! I use real whipped cream on the outside but whipped-topping on the inside when others are present. When it’s just us it’s whipped cream all the way!

  150. Jenny

    Hi Deb! I’m a huge fan and I am so grateful that I just stumbled across this recipe! My little guy really wants an ice cream cake for his 5th birthday but the baker in me refuses to phone it in and go to Baskin Robbins. I showed him this and he went bonkers! I’m going to add strawberries to the whipped cream and have Star Wars figures climbing the cake. Ah, the contradictions of a five year old boy. Plus, the cupcake version seems very easy to make subs for his gluten free/dairy free friends. Thank you!

  151. Rebecca

    I have made this for years in an upright log form. My sister and I called it “zebra cake” and requested it for every birthday. I have since started adding Whipit to the whipped cream when I need to leave it out for awhile, and I’ve experimented with mint flavoring (an enormous hit!) and am soon to try a version with Bailey’s.

    How do you get it to hold together for serving this way? Do you overlap cookies on the bottom layer so there is a base? I’ve tried it in a pie pan, but serving was a mess. A delicious mess — none went to waste — but a mess nonetheless. ;)

  152. Jen

    I noticed that this cake appears to be photoshopped onto a picture of the Mercury Glass Cake Stand by Nick Munro on the NYmag’s Mother’s Days Gifts slideshow (#97 of 125). Unless it’s just a weird coincidence that they look so very very similar…! That pic of the cake made me google “chocolate wafer cake,” which brought me here. What a stunner of a cake, and so easy too!

  153. Carrie

    I’m going to give this recipe a try for a 4th of July party this weekend. It looks amazing and easy to do. Thank you!

  154. Jennifer

    This was my second smitten kitchen recipe and boy was it delicious! My boyfriend was a bit puzzled (and I am sure, skeptical, even though he didn’t say anything) when he saw me stacking chocolate wafer cookies on top of whipped cream (and to be honest I was too), but we were both super surprised by the outcome. A very rich, and tasty cake. I will totally make this again and again! Next time though I will use less whipped cream between layers. I thought I would need a thick layer (about 1/4 of an inch), but you really don’t. Next time my layers will be thinner. Thanks again!

  155. NancyNew

    I’m in my 50’s, and have had (and made) this from my childhood–and I think my Mom had and made it from HER childhood, too. We have a local “overstock” grocery store–and twice, now, I’ve gone in and found Famous Chocolate Wafers there–once for $.50 a box, once for $1.00. Both times, I bought all they had, gave some to my mom, and stuck the rest in the freezer. I’ve kept the wafers in the freezer for up to a year (Well, I had 24 boxes!) and the finished cake for up to 2 months.

  156. Katy

    I’ve looked online for various icebox cake recipes, and all of them use a whipped cream icing. Is this absolutely required for the wafers to soften or can any kind of icing do?

  157. I recently tried a recipe for miniature version of an icebox cake that made little individual cakes. I added a peanut butter twist using peanut butter flavoured whipped cream and a thin coat of peanut butter on 2 of the layers. I think it would be great to try this variation in the full sized cake. Michele’s link in comment 230 is a great start, but i would try to add a coat of peanut butter on the cookies in 1 or 2 of the layers – it really enhances the flavour. I’ll give it a try and let you know!

  158. If you can get to a Fairway Market (in the Greater NYC area including NJ and CT)and don’t feel like making your own wafer, Fairway has the Nabisco chocolate wafers in the cookie aisle. I hadn’t seen them since my middle school home ec exploratory class in the South. It works with Trader Joe’s cookie thins as well. You can make them in individual stacks and turn them into cupcakes. I did a ginger thin with almond whipped cream, a lemon thin with a strawberry whipped cream, and a chocolate chip cookie with chocolate whipped cream. I’m thinking neapolitan cake next time.

  159. dancing gal

    So, I finally did make this cake for V.’s engagement party. V. is one of my best friends, we’ve been friends since high school, which seems like forever (ok, 15 years IS forever :p) and he is currently living in London, while I’m living in Paris. So when he invited me to the engagement party in London, I knew I had to bring cake, but I needed a suiting-the-circumstances one. Icebox cake it was!
    I baked my 88 chocolate wafers (1 1/2 batch of Deb’s recipe) in my super-mini oven in my tiny kitchen in Paris, I packed them up in airtight containers and off I went!
    Once in London, I whipped up the cream and assembled the cake. I sorted the cookies by size, used the bigger ones for the bottom layers and the smaller ones for the top layers, trying to arrange them respecting the outline of the bottom layers (leaving small gaps, but once layered with whipped cream, no one noticed!).
    The verdict? Everyone loved the cake, as I was slicing the pieces my friend whispered to my ear to keep them small-ish so that he and his fiancée would have leftovers for breakfast, and when the party was well over and I was back in Paris, I received an e-mail saying “E., come back, there’s no cake left!”. Priceless.

    So I guess what I’m trying to say with that looooong comment is thank you. Because in a funny way you helped me create a (delicious) part of an precious memory.


  160. Lisa

    Gorgeous presentation. We’ve been making ‘zebra cake’ with the Nabisco wafers for several years–kids usually request it for birthdays, and we do logs shaped into the first letter of the honoree’s name–but tonight tried your recipe for the homemade cookies and the round cake-like presentation. Previews are yummy–can’t wait to see how it comes out tomorrow.

    We’ve also made icebox cake using Anna’s lemon wafer cookies with some lemon curd smeared on each cookie along with the whipped cream to amp up the lemon flavor. Very, very good.

  161. Melissa Anderson

    Another marvelous use for those chocolate wafer cookies comes from the 2006 Southern Living Annual Recipes cookbook. Essentially its cream cheese frosting with finely chopped pecans, a little brown sugar and they say mini chocolate chips sandwiched between the wafers and left overnight. However its better if you finely grate chocolate instead of the mini chips. Either way, it is awesome!

  162. Joanie

    My mom make this for me bridal shower 36 years ago. She even make the whipped cream pink. This will always be one of my favorites. I never thought of looking online for the cookies. Thanks for that tip.

  163. Danielle

    Hmm this reminds me of one of my favorite desserts: Pave de Limao. It’s basically this cake, but made with lightly sweet “tea biscuit cookies” or whatever you want to call them (digestives?) and a lime cream. YUM.
    I highly recommend it…heavenly! And really easy to make. You just have to make sure to be careful with the lime, I gradually add some and taste as I go along (hello, 5 extra pounds!) so it doesn’t end up too mild OR super acidic.
    Here’s the recipe:

  164. Donna

    Made this on Friday for my daughter’s 14th birthday yesterday. Not only did it look pretty much like yours, everyone loved it! I used two full boxes of cookies to make it tall, left the top with just the cream so I could write Happy Birthday.

    No one had heard of an icebox cake, but our local Wegmans carries the cookies all the time! Thanks so much for the idea! She usually wants a flat cookie-cake, but this is her new favorite.

  165. I love, love, LOVE icebox cake. My stepmom makes hers in a log shape, but I’m definitely going to try your more cake-like configuration. I think this would look beautiful in a trifle bowl, too.

  166. Believe it or not my mother used to make this cake for me over 50 years ago! It was our family favorite. She did not put sugar in the whipping cream as we found it definitely sweet enough. I think I will now make it for my grandchildren who will devour it in minutes. Thanks for the memories.

  167. hether

    I love your presentation on this! So pretty. We grew up with this in little individual stacks, then topped with coconut. We called them snowballs. My family now loves variations with the Swedish ginger wafer cookies and almond whip cream topped with nuts.

  168. mini

    I made my own wafers and then this cake for friends. Let me tell you, this cake is a showstopper. I see them about once a month, and I’ve heard about this cake every single time I’ve seen them…and that cake was 5 months ago!

  169. Dawnie

    Oh my god! I have been looking for a birthday cake for a very special friend of mine for the past week … I think I just found it!

    I have a question about the wafers if I make them though. Do they have to be made the day before? Or will they keep for a few days, and still soften when I put the cake together?

  170. Kim

    Can this be made into an ice cream cake? Will the cookies soften sufficiently with ice cream? I’ve made this with cream and it was divine, but I have a summer party where ice cream might me more appreciated:)

    Thanks for any help,

    1. deb

      I hadn’t even considered it. I imagine that the forming of the ice cream discs could be tricky. But it would also be crazy delicious. Let me know how it goes if you try it. I think you’re onto something brilliant. :)

  171. I was looking to make either the original log version, or this fancier version, for my bf’s mom this coming weekend since it’s her birthday, and was hunting high and low in local stores for the chocolate wafer cookies. I DID eventually find them, but decided to take a risk before finally finding them, and do a little experiment – why not chocolate graham crackers instead of the wafer cookies? Made up a small batch last nite – just a cup of whipped cream with a little sugar and vanilla in it, and schmeared the stuff between the graham cracker squares, sticking them to each other sideways (to get the vertical stripes when it’s cut into).

    Just tried it and, hey, it’s pretty darn good! Not AS dark a chocolate flavor as the original wafer cookies, but pretty darn close – definitely an acceptable substitute if you can’t find the wafer cookies. And, um, I do believe the graham crackers were a lot cheaper?

  172. Lynda Lane

    I usually find these cookies with the ice cream toppings at the grocery store. Big Lots has them a lot also. But the best thing I have found was at a local Mennonite store. They had the chocolate cookies that ice cream sandwiches are made from! Works great if you are wanting to make the traditional style icebox cake.

  173. Linda

    I grew up watching my mom make this, just a bit differently. We called them icebox cookies and she would make individual stacks of cookies separated by the whipped cream. Then covered, (in a tupperware like cake pan) overnight in the fridge. One of the best ever desserts. When I find myself thinking about my mom a lot, I make this. Sometimes I even share them.

  174. NancyNew

    I am hereby going to inspire a whole lot of envy.

    We have a “seconds” grocery here–they sell overstocks mostly–that occasionally gets in cases of Famous Chocolate Wafers. I just bought 20 boxes at… $1.00 per box. I’ve got them in the freezer, because I’m going to share with Mom.

  175. Carol

    I was looking for a dessert to bring to a 4th of July party. When the picture popped up, I knew I had to make this cake. WOW! It was really, really good, and fun to make (although mine looked a little like the leaning tower of cookies). I was worried about finding the Chocolate Wafers but got them at Albertson’s grocery store (if you live in Southern California). This is a definite keeper! Thank you!

  176. Marcie

    Hi! I’m a “newbie” to your site, and love it! Thank you for it. So many taste-tempting recipes, so little time…! And, the photography is fantastic!!!
    I’m a pretty prolific “scratch” home baker, but don’t shun finer quality mixes from ‘gourmet’ sources, when in a time crunch. Love delicious, lovely dishes that are easy and quick, as well.
    That said, and coupled with always having loved the traditional Nabisco Choc. Wafer Icebox cake, my eye caught your(years earlier)discussion about doing a wedding cake version of this (and the inherent problems thereof) and wondered: If it can be made in a loaf pan, couldn’t layers be made(using a whipped cream stabilizer)in parchment-lined springform pans? Perhaps with cakeboards between the layers(and only 2 or 3 layers max.)it could be accomplished, no? Have you, or has anyone tried that?

  177. Mary S.

    My sister also used to make a log cake out of these wafers, and for some reason I didn’t think I’d like it so I never had any. I was thinking about this the other day and just happened upon this site looking for 1-2-3-4 cake–how cosmic–and now I MUST buy some of these on Amazon and finally try this for myself! The 1-2-3-4 cake was also used by a funky little resort in West Virginia my family visited each summer, which is why I was looking for a recipe … your comments, though, give me pause …. Thanks!

  178. Katie

    Just made this for the family for Christmas Eve. Ice Box cake is my uncle’s favorite, this was a big hit! Its great to have recipes that are so simple yet such a hit every time.

  179. Adrienne

    This cake had been on my list for awhile now but I decided that I would make it for a NYE party even if I had to make wafers. Fortunately my market keeps them in stock ALL the time!!! If you’re in San Francisco, make your way to CalMart in Laurel Village. I bought three boxes…you know for broken cookies…and snacking!

  180. Susan

    My mother use to make these during the summer when I was a cake but she would make individual ones about 4-5 cookies high! I have always loved those chocolate wafer cookies and have been known to buy them and dip them through whip cream and marscapone cheese, especially the coffee flavored. Unfortunately or fortunately I hooked my son on them early in life…lol

  181. Ive been making this since I was 4 yrs old when helping my mom and have not stopped making it. I am now 57 and still make it every holiday. I’ve never had a problem finding the choclate wafers. Always a hit.

  182. blue

    Thank you for posting this! As a kid, my little brother and I made this a few times from a recipe in our ‘Betty Crocker Junior Cookbook’. The recipe was called ‘On Top On Top’ and made layer upon layer in a flat cake pan with sprinkles on top. All these years I looked back on it as simply a quirky old recipe from a kids cookbook, and wasn’t even so sure it was as good as I remembered. I am pleasantly surprised to learn more about the history of the dessert and confirm my wonderful tasting memories : )

  183. emily

    I make the log version of this cake for my mother’s birthday almost every year. This year, however, I made a NEARLY vegan version with coconut cream and it was NEARLY as good! By whipping up the solids from 2 refrigerated cans of full-fat coconut milk I made a pretty functional whipped cream (I won’t lie – it did have a bit of coconut grit in it, but for a mother who loves coconut that was no issue). With a smidge of vanilla and sugar, it was perfect!

    1. deb

      Hi Emily — I’ve been wondering about whipping coconut cream, having read about it a few times. Were two cans sufficient to make a cake of this size (requiring 3 cups heavy cream)? Does the cream hold up well if the cake sits in the fridge for a while? Thanks.

    1. deb

      Dalia — If cut into thin slices (which might be fine, as this is a tall cake), you might be fine. You can also increase the ingredients to 150% and just make a bigger round cake.

  184. emily

    Hi deb – I used 2 cans, but I made a traditional log-sized cake (using nearly the whole box of cookies, minus a few to nibble on). If this recipe uses 3 cups of cream I’d definitely use 3 cans of coconut milk, particularly because you’ll be skimming off the liquids. Re: holding up in the fridge, our cake didn’t make it that far- straight into the freezer it went overnight and then straight into our mouths. However, I did worry upon freezing it that the “cream” would separate again and it did not. Also, the texture/hardness of the cake was perfect right out of the freezer: firm yet squishily edible!

  185. Kathleen Flavin

    I haven’t read all the comments, but I just wanted to mention that my father-in-law used to work for Nabisco. My mother-in-law always made this recipe and the family LOVED it. However, she used to put the whipped cream on each cookie, stack them and then lay the stacks on their side so there would be two side-by-side rows on a long plate. Then she’d cover the two stacks/rows with the whipped cream. When it was time to cut, she’d cut it on the diagonal so that the slice presentation was so pretty and unique. I hope I’ve explained it so you understand.

  186. kellymo

    Since you posted this one, I’ve completely lost track of the number of times I’ve made it and how many people I’ve given the link for the recipe. I always feel like a bit of a cheater when I bring it to a party, because the effort involved is exponentially less than the reaction you get! (That no longer happens within the family… they’re wise to my ways.)
    I’ll also put in a vote for the Anna’s Thins, if you can find them for a reasonable price (which is NOT to be found on Amazon – 13 bucks for a box?!?). Used those a few times for a ginger variant, with mascarpone added to the cream and spiked with bourbon. There was an orange version with raspberries studding the top of the cake, but the chocolate mint one this past Christmas may just be the best yet. Used the chocolate mint Anna’s cookies, and added 2 tsps. of peppermint extract to the cream + crushed candy canes on top. It had plenty of mint flavor but was still delicate, just like you’d want this cake to be.

  187. ZombieGirl36

    I found this website while doing a search on how to bake a cake, pie, cookies, or rice cookie treats but without the rice crispys… instead to use crumbled up waffers that me and my family has become addicted to!

    We live next door to a Dollar Tree store in Knoxville, Tennessee that we are addicted to! They have everything you possibly have never dreamed about, and everything cost $1! I go in there almost every single day, and I’m always buying and buying more & more! The other day I went walking down the candy aisle where I saw it…3 whole racks filled with Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry Sugar Waffers! You get 8 ounces in 1 bag for $1..and boy, are they worth It! I buy at least 3 bags of each flavor every time I go cause they go by fast! I’m not very creative, so can somebody please give me some ideas? Thanks!

    And since it is my 15 year old daughters birthday, I want to do something special for her. I just got thru crumbling up 3 bags of waffers just to make sure there will be enough. I would love it if if looked like a big rice krispie treat except leave out the rice krispys and use crushed sugar waffers instead.

    Anyway and ideas and thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  188. Helen in SC

    I didn’t read all the posts, but I can get these cookies at the Piggly Wiggly and one Publix. Be glad to send you some, if you like. I’d be glad to, just email me. I paid $4.50/box about a month ago. As an aside, I’m going to make a version of this cake with tiramisu filling for our Easter dinner…ought to be good.

  189. Karen

    I just made this but alternated layers of chocolate wafers with Tate’s chocolate chip cookies. Really good with the combo of sweeter chocolate chip and darker chocolate wafer.

  190. Raed

    OMG! How did I ever live to the age of 42 and have never had an ice box (or anything remotely similar)cake????? I feel like I now have a huge hole in my life.

    Which means my children have never had it either! Hello, 6th birthday boy next week. Sadly for me though, due to numerous allergies, I’m going to have to eat it vicariously and lament the life hole.

  191. C.P.

    I’m planning on making this as a dessert for our upcoming 4th of July BBQ, and I have just a few quick questions:

    1. About how many cookies will I need total to complete the recipe. I know we don’t have Nabisco wafers near where I live, and reading through the comments tells me that some of your other readers were able to produce similar results with scraping the cream off of Oreo cookies and/or baking their own using your recipe. Your recipe calls for 8 cookies a layer (7 in a circle, 1 in the middle) and for 11 layers- so about 88 cookies? Would that make sense?

    2. A follow-up to the previous question, what are your thoughts about if I half the recipe and produce say, 5 or 6 layers, using about 44 cookies and 1 1/2 cups of whipped cream (instead of the suggested 3 cups)? It should still work out, right?
    3. How long does this keep in the refrigerator? 2-3 days, I’m hoping?

    WHEW! That’s everything! Thanks for the all of the help, as always!

  192. deb

    C.P. — Yikes, I have never checked how many wafers are in a 9-ounce package. My estimate would be 2 to 3 dozen, but it’s been a very long time since I opened a package.

    And I didn’t count the number I used here, either. I do know that the wafers are larger than Oreos, so you’d need more Oreos (or less, if assuming two from each cookie) to make the same sized cake. But, the Oreos are thicker, so it would be taller.

    You can definitely halve the recipe. It definitely keeps in the fridge for a couple days, however, with each day, the whipped cream further merges with the cookies. Not a bad taste, but it might look less stripe-y after 3 days. Nobody will complain.

  193. esssp

    i’m making this for tomorrow and luckily found the wafers in my local store. there are 30 cookies per package (although that may be fewer per package than when this recipe was originally posted, due to companies’ penchant for slyly repackaging things for the same price with less product.)

  194. esssp

    uhoh i lied! it’s actually 40 per package. sorry and hope it worked out! it’s pretty hard to mess up, thankfully :)

  195. JE

    An update on locating the wafers: FAMOUS Chocolate Wafers 9.000 OZ
    Still available on Amazon, but fairly expensive or in large quantity (example:
    Pack of 4, Price: $33.49). The wafers can now be located from the Nabisco site: Select PRODUCTS, select PRODUCT LOCATOR, type in the SEARCH name “famous chocolate wafers”, and then type in your zipcode. The site located 3 stores within 5 miles of my zipcode that carry the wafers.

  196. Jo

    This is going on my dessert agenda. I’ve made icebox “Eclair Cake” for years and it’s to die for. So easy and supreme comfort food. This looks tasty too.

  197. kmh

    I started making this recipe years ago when our oven was broken. Now, I make it every year for a big event to which many people contribute fancy, fancy desserts. I label it “Heart Attack Icebox Cake,” and it gets eaten up faster than anything else!
    Like some of the earlier commenters, I use Anna’s wafers. The cake made with Chocolate Mint Thins gets a smashed “starlight” mint candy sprinkled on top– but only at the last minute, or the pink will bleed.
    My favorite, the cake made with Ginger Thins, gets topped with diced candied ginger; for my taste, whipped cream and ginger make a superb combination.

  198. April was in CT now CA

    I’ve made this in the past with chocolate graham crackers and it’s SO good. This weekend we’re attending a going away party (we’re the ones going away, but I insisted to bring dessert!) and I’m going to splurge and do it with the chocolate wafers that I’m pretty sure I’ve seen at my local grocery. I always make it in a trifle bowl so it’s easy to cover overnight and folks can just dig in. Most of the time I sprinkle toasted chopped pecans on each layer as well.

  199. Bonnie

    I, too, grew up with this cake and helping my mom make it. She made a HUGE one for an engagement party in the early 70’s and put a huge diamond ring in the middle – it was like a snow globe in the middle and sparkled. The cake was elegant-looking and impressive and served as the centerpiece for all the other homemade pastries she made…but I digress. She always used vanilla and chocolate wafers and alternated layers of white and chocolate whipped cream. 10X sugar [to taste – no speicific amount which was common place for my mom and grandma] and cocoa ~ no mention of vanilla. She completely covered the outside with whipped cream so that none of the wafers showed. Her advice was to use a thick layer of whipped cream on the first [most difficult to cover] layer of wafers and then cover the other layers well with ~ 1/8 or 1/4 inch of whipped cream. She always grated the broken chocolate wafers on top. I’m going to make a small one for my son [who doesn’t remember it, but will when he tastes it] and his fiance to see if they’d like it added to the dessert table as I’m doing all the baking. Since it’s going to be outdoors, I figured I’d put it on a block of ice. Has anyone ever tried putting it on dry ice or should I just use regular block ice or maybe even freeze foil chafing dishes with water to keep it cool enough? My mom always put several toothpicks in the cake before covering it with plastic wrap.

  200. Em

    Hey Deb, I have been wanting to make this for a while, but after I saw your saltine crack ice cream sandwiches, I started dreaming about substituting the wafers with the brown butter chocolate saltines- do you think this would work?

  201. linda

    Thanks for this great idea! My mom used to make individual stacks by stacking one on top of the other with the whip in between. I made your cake presentation tonight for our family Christmas Eve celebration tomorrow. Thanks again for showing me such a pretty family sized cake. BTW, it totally helped that you put 7 in diameter in the directions.

  202. Christine

    These wafers are hiding at my local Kroger at the end of the ice cream aisle, on a little rack with hot fudge sauce and such! I will definitely grab some next week!

  203. Myrna

    Deb, I love your site. I have an isi whipped cream dispenser with which I use chargers. I tried making the cake with that cream and it fell. I used to make this as a log years ago without the isi dispenser. I assume that the reason why my recent cake “fell” was the use of the charger whipped cream. I will gladly go back to the old way for this cake. Please advise. Thanks

    1. deb

      Myrna — I’ve never used a whipped cream dispenser so I haven’t the faintest idea of why it would cause the cake to fall, or even how a cake like this (which is just stacked) could fall? Do you mean that the cookies absorbed the cream? This does happen a bit, but it should soak everything up, or at least not in the first couple days.

  204. Cindy Pearman

    My family has made this cake, which we fondly call “chocolate wafer stuff” for over 50 years. It’s required at all family functions. We always put crushed peppermint on top and occasionally a few drops of peppermint oil in the whipped cream. The whipped cream really has to be made the old fashioned way, sorry, and must be very stiff. We make it in a flat 9×13 is baking dish as individual little stacks (cookie/blob/cookie/blob/cookie/blob/crushed peppermint) because it chills faster and is pretty on a small plate, but I might try this stacked thing sometime.

  205. Joan

    An oldie, but a goodie! My mom used to make this for us, but stood the cookies on end and shaped it into a log with cream between the cookies, then covered them all over with the cream. She would cut the slices on an angle, “to make it pretty.” Still remember it as a favorite – now some 50+ years later! Your presentation is beautiful, Deb. Makes me want to run out to the store!

  206. Holly

    Deb- I have been making a version of this cake as our Christmas Yule log for years – you can stack the cookies on their sides in two rows to make the log shape. Cream in between and then all around. I make a super basic raspberry sauce to go with it.
    The cookies can be found in DC at Safeway stores. I just moved to Boston and will have to search for a source here!

  207. el edwards

    I always have chocolate wafers in my pantry…1. the icebox cake is a dessert that young children love to make…they can, with a little guidance make it themselves and there is all that whip cream they can taste and always a broken cookie or two 2 i always have chocolate wafters in pantry. They make a lovely cookie crust for cheesecake and other sweets

  208. My mother, Billye Hartman, used to make a variation on this recipe in the form of a log, for her ladies’ luncheons in the 1950s. Main course included finger sandwiches, a jello salad on lettuce and iced tea. Sweetened, of course. The icebox dessert was followed with little bowls of pastel mints (yellow, pink and green) that I decorated with cake frosting. They were so popular that some of the guests asked me to make the mints for their own luncheons. Thus began a little business I had on the side, while keeping my day job as a junior high school student. I forgot all about these lovely affairs until yesterday, when I was downright smitten with the thought of making this dessert for tomorrow’s Valentine’s dinner with friends. Thanks for the memories.

  209. Sue Schroeba

    1. Please get over the false idea that cream is bad for you or your heart – we’ve been force-fed that lie for decades.
    2. The whipped cream doesn’t need to be sweetened.

  210. traci

    I made this “cake” 25 years ago when my husband and I were first dating. Making it again today, only with coffee flavored whipped cream and toffee pieces on top…and I’m sure it will be as good as it was then! I love the more modern (and easier to assemble) shape vs. the original too! (one tip…use a bit of whipped cream to “glue” the first layer of cookies to the plate so they don’t slide around).

    Happy Valentine’s day!

  211. Izzie

    My mom use to make this identical recipe every year for Christmas. However she would make it in the shape of a log and cover all sides in whipped cream and sprinkle red and green sugar sprinkles on top for decoration.

  212. Monica

    My first one ever is chilling right now. Wanted something easy so the kids could help, and almost avoided this recipe because of the packaged cookies. But if it’s good enough for smitten kitchen, it has to be worth it!

  213. donmcphee2013

    I just made this for my Mother in law’s 80th Birthday. Everyone loved it and it even got rave reviews from a chef at the party. I had a few wafers made into Oreo Cookies to put around the outside but forgot them at home. The cake was creamy smooth and very chocolatey, yum!

    I have been searching for a cake recipe like this for a while now. The cake I remember you had to cut out wax paper, paste on the dough and bake on the oven rack, giving you cake size cookies. These cookies were thin, crisp and great alone. Two days in the fridge and it transformed into a cake I was proud of. Even the presentation brought comments.

    Yes adding a liquor to the whipping cream would work, depending on the flavours you are going for.

    I was a bit short of cookies (wonder where they went? (he says covering his mouth) and added some store bought ones in the middle. I actually found them at two different local big stores I checked. The cookies I made up were better than it’s namesake. I guess I could mess them up to make them the same, no I won’t.

    Thank you.

    Brampton, ON

  214. Bahb

    Our family started making individual cakes 60 years ago and called them Chocolate Maglumphies. Each cake used 7 cookies, or fewer if we needed to serve more people, and was completely covered in whipped cream. No matter who you asked in the family, their favorite dessert was Chocolate Maglumphies. I love all the variations proposed here and plan to try them all, starting with the peanut butter one . This will be such a happy thrill for my kids, all now approaching 60’s, because I haven’t made it since the nest emptied. We have Family Sunday Brunch and rarely serve dessert, because we all need to loose weight. But next sunday, we WILL have Chocolate Maglumphies. Thanks Deb!

  215. Stephanie

    What a lovely surprise to find this on your site – this dessert, which we call chocolate icebox pudding, is a Christmas family favourite going back to my father’s childhood in the 1930’s. Here in my neck of the woods in Canada, the wafers are still readily available thank goodness, though Nabisco has changed the formulation slightly over the years. This year, I made it with a couple of the grandkids – a messy business indeed, but grand fun. I have always made it in a series of logs – your presentation is just beautiful. Does it get sufficiently soggy around the edges?

  216. cynthia

    ahhh! i am slightly embarrassed to admit that a good, old-fashioned icebox cake is one of my favorite-est, absolutely-cannot-fail desserts. in addition to the countless christmases with the classic recipe from the back of the box, i’ve made this version, another with mocha-kahlua whipped cream, the amazing peanut butter version with the giant homemade wafers, plus adorable little icebox cupcakes using deb’s homemade cookies. looking at this list, i now realize that i am a little obsessed and might need to calm down.

  217. This is the only “cake” my mother ever made, and she was a talented cook. Great memories. And I’ll confess I’ve kept the cookies around so that should I have some extra whipped cream I could either make a couple of cookie sammies or break a few up and mix them into the cream.

  218. Nancy Stone

    Growing up this was done as a loaf or roll. We grew up calling it Zebra loaf and we cut it at an angle. Still my grandkids favorite.

  219. dreaminess. just bought the ingredients and would like to make now (1:30) for this evening. but can i get it cold enough by then? maybe freezer for an hour and fridge for 3? or is that a mistake?

  220. I made this for my Book Club. There are several women that are gluten free. I looked for a crisp gluten free chocolate cookie. I used Tate’s GF Double Chocolate Chip cookies. They worked perfectly and the cake had chips in it as a bonus. Everyone really loved it and nobody could tell it was gluten free. This is super easy to make and with a beautiful presentation.

  221. jthrall85

    I love this cake! I used two entire packages of wafers, broken cookies included, and got 13 layers. Even with the extra layers I had a good two cups of whipped cream leftover. I think next time I’ll start with two cups of heavy cream and only whip up the third if I need it.

  222. Katie

    When you say 7 cookies per layer with one in the center, do you mean a circle of six cookies with a center cookie making the 7th, or do you mean a circle of seven cookies with an additional 8th cookie in the middle? Thanks so much.

  223. libracat1951

    First, I want to dive in head first.
    Second, is it easy to spread the whipped cream? In my head, I’m chasing the wafers all over the kitchen🤪. Should I plan on assembling everything on the platter I’ll use for serving?
    I love your site, your writing, your recipes, your everything ❤️❤️.

    1. deb

      It isn’t hard to spread the whipped cream but if the first pieces are moving too much, you can put a little whipped cream underneath them to get them to stick.

  224. Delicious!! I made the log of cookies before leaving town and left it in the fridge for 4 days, no issues with taste or texture when I got back and actually made the cake. I over-whipped the whipped cream! But as long as you have a couple more tablespoons of cold cream left over then you can always save the cream. I covered half the edges of the cake with the cream and left half bare hoping to keep some crispiness to the cookies didn’t quite work out but it’s still amazing. My oldest called it an Oreo cake (Nailed it!)! I need to keep this recipe readily available for future birthdays!

  225. Melanie

    For another delicious riff on icebox cake check out Prince William’s groom’s cake made with chocolate, Lyles syrup, and Mc Vitties Digestive Biscuits. It really taps the inner kid.

  226. Maite Castillo

    My German, chocolate cake lovin’, husband LOUDLY HINTED how much he loved this cake when he was a kid. On a whim, I searched for the recipe & of course you had it. Very lucky to have found the cookies at my local supermarket. It produced more whipped cream than necessary (but who cares;-). The result was a delicious birthday cake for my “big kid”…this recipe is a keeper!

  227. abbywankenobi

    Made this last week when my sister’s birthday conflicted with the kitchen remodel and I was without an oven. Perfect solution and a big hit!! I served it with sliced strawberries and it was sublime. Also a big win for the incredible humidity of South Carolina where all foods (and hairdos) are soggy within 45sec of exposure to the elements.

    I also had plenty of leftover whip, probably 2 cups of cream would have been enough. I made a few extra layers on the cake, the cookies were quite damaged so I bought 4 boxes to be safe and ended up with plenty of a festively tall cake.

    Love it, thanks Deb!!!

  228. Kathy Petfield

    I use the nabisco wafer cookies and cool whip every year to make the original dessert pictured on the box for my daughters birthday just as my mom always did for me. Luckily I have been able to find them at Publix grocery stores.

  229. alice

    I have made this for many years. At my house we call it Zebra Cake. I make it with one package of wafers and 1 pint of cream, plus a bit of rum in the cream for flavoring. It always disappears within minutes of serving. For some reason, it was my husband’s family’s Easter dessert, so I make it then, too.

  230. Molly

    FYI, Trader Joe’s has thin maple wafers that make a delicious fall icebox cake. It’s a good alternative when the chocolate wafers are so hard to find.

  231. Kathy Hieatt

    I use two kinds of Anna’s Swedish Thins for two different icebox cakes: chocolate (with pulverized peppermint candies on top) and ginger (with chopped candied ginger on top). The toppings must go on at the last minute, otherwise the peppermint will bleed and the ginger will get too soft.

  232. sarah

    Excited to make the chocolate wafer cake but I have a question :
    the instructions say to take 7 Wafers and put them in a circle and put one in the center. so am I putting the wafers in a circle on top of the other wafers and putting one in the center until I get to the 11th layer of wafers or am I just confused
    Thank you for sharing this recipe

  233. Marilyn

    My son would like this cake for his birthday with cherries inside, do you think this is a possible tweak? Would I use canned or fresh cherries?

  234. marilyn

    Made the cake for my son’s birthday. A big hit. I will try to attach pictures. I made the cookies, didn’t have Valrhona at my local shop, used Hersey’s, came out fine. But I did order Valrhona. I was also afraid of cake collapsing, so I used an 8inch springform. That worked well. I also put strawberry pieces soaked in sugar between layers. OK, I can’t figure out how to attach pictures. But it tasted and looked great. Is there a way to attach pictures?

  235. Samantha

    Deb, your mention of icebox cake in this week’s newsletter unlocked multiple memories. A few months ago I wanted to make an icebox cake for an easy dessert, and subsequently found myself unable to locate the wafers. I subbed in biscoff cookies/biscuits. Completely changed the flavor profile, and also delicious. I’m definitely giving the chocolate wafer recipe a try soon.
    Digging further back, when I clicked this link and saw the photo I suddenly remembered making your icebox cake for my own engagement party in 2008. It was a massive hit. The marriage didn’t happen (thankful in hindsight), but I still have the platter I used for the cake.
    I chose this cake for a variety of reasons, among which are that I love making your recipes, but also I grew up with it as an easy summer dessert, though we called it “fat cake” when I was a kid. We’d whip a ton of cream so we could pick at it as we went, and always bought extra boxes of wafers for side snacking. If my grandmother was feeling fancy she’d sometimes shave chocolate curls on top. Thanks for sharing the article, and the unexpected trip down memory lane.

    1. deb

      I haven’t tried them. Are they small? Thicker? I’m not feeling confident about it but theoretically you can soften any cookie with cream, it just might not taste like the original.

      1. Kathy Hieatt

        I always use those scalloped Swedish wafers; the brand is Anna’s. Choices are chocolate, chocolate mint, or ginger, which I think goes particularly well with whipped cream. With that one, I add some chopped candied ginger on top.

  236. Wendy Holloway

    Since the point of an ice box cake is to avoid turning on the oven, I must express my dismay. I can’t understand why Nabisco discontinued their wafers.

  237. Cathy

    I think maybe Ikea has a thin chocolate cookie available. I know they have some kind of ginger or spice one which I’m sure would be worth trying anyway! (And now I’m envisioning ing a multi-colour cake!)