Have you ever tried icebox cake? Have you ever tried making icebox cake? Are you like many people who respond, “What’s an icebox cake?” Well, for the uninitiated let me bring you into the loop. Icebox cake is a chilled or frozen dessert where cookies are layered with some form of whipped cream. The whole thing is refrigerated or frozen and then sliced into servings. The cream provides just enough moisture to slightly soften the cookies, and the result is delightful. The textural contrast and flavor combination make this particular version irresistible. Dark chocolate wafer cookies (homemade if you like, store bought can work too) are layered with salted caramel whipped cream. The whole thing is topped off with coffee whipped cream and guys, what are you even doing if not adding this to your to-make list RIGHT NOW?!

It is no exaggeration when I tell you that this cake disappeared in record time. Everyone who tried it loved it, everyone wanted more. Some people even drove over to my house specifically to get some before it was gone and declared it worth the trip. I adore the chocolate and caramel combo but it can sometimes be too rich. This has just the right amount of decadence without being cloying. While this particular version is going to be in high demand in my home from here on out and is sure to grace many parties, my wheels are already turning with ideas about what combination to try next. There are just so many possibilities! This brilliant version from Zoë Bakes was a great place to start.

  • Prep 30-45 minutes
  • Yield about 10-12 servings

Ingredients

For the chocolate wafer cookies:

  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) sugar
  • ½ cup (125 grams) dark brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup (68 grams) dark Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk

For the caramel cream:

  • 1 cup (160 grams) sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1½ teaspoons corn syrup
  • 4 cups (908 grams) heavy whipping cream

For the coffee whipped cream:

  • ½ cup coffee beans, broken slightly in a mortar and pestle
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

Directions

  • 01

    To make the chocolate wafer cookies, combine the butter, sugar, and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy and well combined, about 2 minutes. Blend in the vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the butter mixture, mixing on low speed just until incorporated. Add in the milk and stir on low speed just until a dough forms. Divide the dough into two equal portions and shape into 2 inch-thick logs wrapped tightly in parchment paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate or freeze for at least 1 hour.

  • 02

    Heat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a sharp knife to slice the dough logs into 1/8-inch thick rounds and place on the prepared baking sheets with about 1.5-2 inches between rounds. Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate trays 180˚ F and from top to bottom rack (or vice versa) and bake 2 minutes more. Transfer the trays of finished cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before removing the cookies from the baking sheet. If making wafers ahead of time, transfer to an airtight container until ready to use.

  • 03

    To make the caramel cream, put the sugar in a large mound in the middle of a medium saucepan, avoiding it hitting the sides. Pour the water and corn syrup gently into the center of the mound, again avoiding splashing the sides. Stir very gently only to dissolve the sugar, avoiding the sides of the pan. (See the theme here?) Cook the sugar over medium-high heat without stirring. When the sugar begins to gain color around the edges, gently stir. Continue stirring gently while it cooks until the sugar uniformly reaches your desired color (I like a medium amber, to avoid any burnt taste). As soon as this color is achieved, carefully stir in half of the cream, whisking until evenly incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 cups of cream. Strain the caramel cream through a fine mesh sieve into a storage container. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time.)

  • 04

    When you are ready to assemble the cake, line an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap or parchment on all sides. Transfer the caramel cream to the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form. Coat the bottom of the lined loaf pan with a layer of caramel whipped cream about ¼-inch thick. Line all the sides of the loaf pan with the chocolate wafer cookies. Spread a layer of cream on each cookie and then stack them one against the other in the loaf pan into rows (you will likely end up with three rows of cookies.) Spread a final smooth layer of the caramel cream over the top to cover up the edges of the cookies. Transfer to the refrigerator or freezer and let chill at least 3 hours.

  • 05

    To make the coffee whipped cream, combine the coffee beans, sugar, and cream in a small saucepan and heat just to a simmer. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep about 30 minutes. Strain through a mesh sieve and refrigerate the cream at least 2 hours, until thoroughly chilled.

  • 06

    To finish the cake, whip the coffee-infused cream on medium speed until medium-stiff peaks form. Turn the cake out of the loaf pan onto a serving dish and remove the plastic wrap or parchment from the sides. Spread the coffee whipped cream evenly over all sides and pipe decoratively over the top as desired. Chill or freeze until ready to serve.

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