Holiday Icebox Cake

This is a holiday icebox cake, my new favorite, effortless no-bake retro dessert. The term “retro desserts” has been popular for a while now. Food, much like fashion, is often circular. Food trends swing far and wide, but those with real roots, often circle back within a decade or two.

Retro desserts pay homage to my grandmother’s generation of the 1950s when baking was just beginning to be modernized and quick, easy, straightforward desserts were appealing and could fit in with caring for your family and working.

holiday icebox cake

“Icebox” is a catchy name used to describe old-fashioned, creamy desserts that get chilled instead of baked. Icebox cakes were once considered examples of modern sophistication within the baking world and showcased as masterpieces at parties. Once sliced, impressive black and white stripes are revealed with a taste similar to that of an Oreo/ice cream sandwich cake.

holiday icebox cake

National Biscuit CompanyNabisco” began selling wafer cookies in 1924, with a focus on chocolate with ginger and sugar, but they soon switched to all chocolate. In 1929 Nabisco first introduced the idea of layering the wafers with whipped cream. This became incredibly popular. As a result, just a year later they began printing the recipe on the actual wafer tins.

Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer Cookies are the classic go-to in this recipe. Most known for their timeless canary yellow box, Nabisco’s fragile, wafer-thin chocolate wafer cookies make the best ice box cake if you ask me.

holiday icebox cake

This chocolate icebox cake (or zebra cake as it’s also called) is one of the easiest cakes to whip up and therefore a favorite of mine during the busy holiday season. The prep-ahead, no-bake aspect of this classic dessert frees up my time and oven space which is a true bonus. And, the best part, is it’s easily adaptable for big or small groups depending on what you need.

The real trick is all about the assembly and advanced timing. This simple layered icebox cake is made using two boxes of chocolate wafer cookies, heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla–that’s it. The simple off-set placement of the wafer cookie layers creates a dramatic modern effect that is eye-catching when served.

holiday icebox cake

An icebox cake is best made a day in advance, this allows the wafer cookies time to soften and become more cake-like in texture.  As self-proclaimed whipped cream addicts, my boys became big fans of this retro classic after the very first bite. With holidays being as crazy as they are this “cake” is a no-brainer in my books as an easy prep-ahead option for any you may happen to be entertaining.

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

2 thoughts on "Holiday Icebox Cake"

  1. Avatar photo Katie says:

    I just made the icebox cake for dinner tomorrow and its gorgeous. I ended up with 1-2 cups of extra cream so I probably didn’t apply it as thick as intended. It still looks ok and not skimpy. Also 2 packages of cookies with 8/layer resulted in 9 layers for me, not 11-12. Looking forward to eating it tomorrow!

    1. Thanks for your e-mail Katie. You should not have left over whipped cream but it’s totally fine if you did, that’s just personal preference. I just made the cake again yesterday. using two boxes it made 11 layers. This is with 7 cookies per layer and off-set the cookies when layering.

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