Old Fashioned Chocolate Icebox Cake

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

An old-fashioned icebox cake is a delicious and easy no-bake dessert recipe.

Chocolate icebox cake is a generations-old classic that takes a small handful of ordinary ingredients and turns them into something amazing!

Chocolate Icebox Cake on a plate

What is an Icebox Cake?

Back in the 1930s when refrigerators were “iceboxes,” these versatile recipes became popular!

An icebox cake combines layers of cookies (in this case chocolate wafers) and whipped cream and it sits overnight. Once it sits, the cookies take on a cake-like texture resulting in a delicious dessert.

No-Bake Cake!

  • No need to heat up the oven! Simply make and chill!
  • Create a signature icebox cake by mixing in all kinds of other fun ingredients, changing the cookies, extracts, or toppings!
  • Slice super thin and serve with some Strawberry Sauce or fresh fruit.

Ingredients assembled to make Chocolate Icebox Cake

Ingredients and Variations

CREAM: Sweetened whipped cream makes the base for an icebox cake. Whipped topping works for a quicker version!

LAYERS: Chocolate wafers are layered with the whipped cream, but any kind of thin cookies will do.

Oreos, even graham crackers, chocolate grahams, or sugar wafer cookies work great!

stack of chocolate wafers with icing in between

VARIATIONS: So many things can be added to an icebox cake.

    • Whip in room temperature cream cheese and toasted coconut for a heavier layer that tastes great with layers of fruit!
    • Cocoa powder and instant espresso added to whipped cream will give an icebox cake a mocha flavor
    • Add any kind of fruit-flavored jam, like strawberry or lemon curd.
    • Make a holiday icebox cake by whipping pumpkin puree in with the whipped cream and use graham crackers for layering. Top with chocolate chips!

TOPPINGS: Grated chocolate, fresh berries, mini chocolate chips, or colored jimmies for a birthday cake are all perfect toppers!

stack of wafers and icing next to a bowl of icing

How to Make an Icebox Cake

  1. Beat heavy whipping cream with powdered sugar & vanilla.
  2. Spread a layer over the tops of cookies.
  3. Spread cream mixture on a plate & stack the cookies.
  4. Once stacked, create a long ‘log’ with the cookies and cover with the remaining layer of whipped cream mixture.
  5. Cover & refrigerate overnight. Garnish with chocolate or other desired topping.

spreading icing over stack of chocolate wafers with icing in between

To Serve Icebox Cake

Slice the cake on the diagonal to reveal layers of chocolate and cream. Garnish and serve.

How to Store

Keep icebox cake in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 4 weeks.

Slice icebox cake into 1” slices and stack slices between sheets of parchment paper. Cover in plastic wrap and freeze in a zippered bag with the date labeled on the outside.

Chocolate Icebox Cake with slice taken off with raspberries

Best Icebox Cakes

Did your family love this Chocolate Icebox Cake? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

slice of Chocolate Icebox Cake on a plate
5 from 13 votes
Review Recipe

Chocolate Icebox Cake

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 20 minutes
Servings 6 slices
Author Holly Nilsson
Homemade Chocolate Icebox Cake is a light & refreshing cake, perfect for a summertime dessert!


  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 9 ounces chocolate wafer cookies (1 package) or 18 chocolate graham cookies
  • ¼ cup chocolate curls or grated chocolate

Follow Spend with Pennies on Pinterest


  • Beat cream in a large bowl with a hand mixer on medium. Once it begins to thicken, add powdered sugar and vanilla. Continue beating until the whipped cream is thickened and stiff peaks form.
  • Spread a ½" layer of whipped cream on each cookie.
  • Spread a line of whipped cream on a serving plate. Begin adding cookies, stacking them upright to form a line.
  • Once all cookies are in a line, spread the remaining whipped cream over the cookies to form a 'log' shaped cake.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Decorate with grated chocolate. Slice cake on a diagonal for a striped effect.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 534, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 39g, Saturated Fat: 22g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 110mg, Sodium: 325mg, Potassium: 207mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 20g, Vitamin A: 1176IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 71mg, Iron: 2mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword best icebox cake, chocolate icebox cake, how to make icebox cake, icebox cake
Course Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
slice of Chocolate Icebox Cake on a plate with text
Chocolate Icebox Cake and a fork on a plate with text
slice of Chocolate Icebox Cake with text
Chocolate Icebox Cake and ingredients with text
About the author


pinterest facebook twitter instagram

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

More Posts by Holly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. My grandmother used to save cream during the week so she could make this special Sunday dessert. Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers are usually found with the ice cream toppings & cones in the grocery store.
    We called this treat ZEBRA PUDDING!5 stars

  2. This recipe made me think of a wonderful ice box cake my grandmother always made. It was a white cake with chocolate whip cream frosting sprinkled with chopped walnuts. It was her signature recipe.5 stars

  3. Holly, back in the 30-40-50’s we had ice boxes, no refrigerators. We put large blocks of ice in the box to keep our items cool, no freezer and without electricity. A refrigerator is electric and does not need ice blocks to keep it cool and it freezes items. An ice box and a refrigerator are 2 different items.

      1. This was my dad’s favorite dessert!! We always had it for special occasions! Then my children grew up eating it Unfortunately it has been a few years since I’ve been able to find those Nabisco Chocolate Wafers :(
        Thank you for the memory!5 stars