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
4.97 from 27 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Old Fashioned Chocolate Icebox Cake

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


  • 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.
4.97 from 27 votes

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.

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



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Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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Recipe Rating


  1. This was my daughter’s all-time favorite recipe! So easy and delicious. Unfortunately, Nabisco discontinued their chocolate wafer cookies used in this recipe. I guess I could try to make my own, but not sure if it would be the same.

  2. Sounds just like My mom’s such a special treat she would make for special occasions
    Can’t wait to make it5 stars

  3. This is my husband’s favorite cake. So easy to make. I learned never to make it when he is near by or else I will not have enough whipped cream to finish the cake.5 stars

  4. A friend (male) made this years ago, for my family coming over, won’t say what I thought but man did I learn something new. It was delish. Believe we ended using 2 boxes of wafers and shaped it like a bunt cake. Have not made it for years. Thank you for this recipe will make it again soon. ❤️

  5. As a young teenager, I remember making this as a favorite summer treat. The recipe I had gave instructions for making several “logs” of iced wafers, then butting them up against each other before icing the whole construction. The whole “cake” was about 5 inches wide and possibly 8 or 9 inches long. When slicing, there would be the gaps between the rows of logs to watch for, but it gave options for who liked more cake, versus more cream. Diagonal slicing is just the solution I needed.4 stars

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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