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Icebox Cake Recipes: Beat the Heat with Something Sweet

Discover the simplicity and deliciousness of icebox cake recipes—the perfect treat for those lazy summer days!

icebox cake recipes perfect for summer

Things are starting to heat up around here so I am looking for delicious ways to cool off! I know I can enjoy a summer cocktail, or make some no-churn ice cream, which is pretty simple, but an even easier idea is an icebox cake!

What is an icebox cake?

The classic recipe found on the back of Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers (no longer available) was the easiest and most basic recipe. Here is how it was made:

  1. Whipped cream: combine freshly whipped cream sweetened with sugar and vanilla.
  2. Layer: spread a bit of whipped cream on each chocolate wafer and stack them together.
  3. Frost: turn the stack on its side so it looks like a log and cover it with remaining whip cream.
  4. Chill: Put the ‘cake’ in the icebox (that is the refrigerator, not freezer) for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
  5. Enjoy!

The idea was that layering the crisp wafers with whipped cream would soften them a bit so a cake-like texture was formed. This gave you a cake without having to use your oven on a hot day. Genius!

Obviously, the idea of an icebox cake has taken off in various directions since then, but the main formula is still the same: crisp layer + dairy layer = cake!

What can you use for the crisp layer of an icebox cake?

As I mentioned earlier, Nabisco stopped making their chocolate wafers in 2023. This sent icebox cake lovers into a frenzy looking for alternatives. Here are some ideas that are pretty easy to find in your grocery store:

  • Oreo Thins: Use them as is, or scrape off the cream so you just have the crispy cookie. This is probably the closest to the original wafers in taste.
  • Graham crackers: Use regular or chocolate graham crackers. It will have a different consistency, but still delicious!
  • Thin chocolate chip cookies like the ones from Tate’s Bake Shop.
  • Shortbread cookies
  • Digestive biscuits

People have also branched off into puff pastry and thin layers of cake, which aren’t really ‘crisp’, but are obviously delicious!

What can you use for the dairy layer of an icebox cake?

The dairy layer is where you can get really creative! Here are some ideas that are easy to find in your local supermarket:

  • Flavored whipped cream: add any flavor you like—fruit jam, peanut butter, chocolate, coffee, etc.
  • Non-dairy whipped cream: you can find coconut, almond or soy milk whipped cream at the grocery store.
  • Pudding: just think of all of the flavor options available!
  • Custard
  • Cool Whip: the easiest option
  • Cream cheese/cheesecake filling: again, tons of flavor ideas here.

Or, you can use combinations of the ideas above—get creative! There are also some recipes that use ice cream, which of course is delicious, but if you are a stickler for the rules, true icebox cakes are chilled in the fridge, not the freezer. Personally, I think this rule can be broken!

Well, I think I’m ready to show you all of the great icebox cake recipes I have found! Any of these recipes will help you sweetly cool off on a hot day. Go ahead and scroll down…

Icebox Cake Recipes

Discover the simplicity and deliciousness of icebox cake recipes—the perfect treat for those lazy summer days!

So, what do you think? Which icebox cake recipe will you be making first? Let me know in the comments below and then check out these other great summer dessert ideas: