Watch out, this could become habit forming.

Did your mom ever make the classic Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer icebox cake?  Both my husband and I have childhood memories of it.  The recipe dates all the way back to the 1920s, soon after the cookies first came out.  Somebody discovered that if you stacked the the thin chocolate wafers with layers of sweetened whipped cream in between, and then refrigerated them, the cream seeps into the cookies and results in an ice cold creamy cake.  It’s been a summer staple ever since.  I took the concept and ran with it.  I used instant espresso, Kahlua, whipped cream and dark chocolate, along with the classic wafer cookies, to make a quick faux Icebox Tiramisu.

Ice Box Tiramisu
serves 4
1/2 cup cold heavy whipping cream
2 tsp confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla

  • Whip the cream until it starts to thicken.  Add the sugar and vanilla and continue whipping until it’s firm and holds it’s shape.

1/2 cup cold instant espresso (or brewed espresso, or very strong coffee)
2 Tbsp Kahlua

  • Mix together the espresso and kahlua and set aside.

16 Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies
1 square (1 oz) semi sweet chocolate

  • Take four glasses or small dessert bowls and layer one cookie at the bottom of each.  Spoon 2 tsp of the espresso mixture on top, spreading it around so the entire cookie gets soaked.
  • Grate a layer of chocolate over the top of the cookie, using a microplane or small grater.
  • Put a dessert spoon full of cream on top of the cookie and chocolate.  Take another cookie and lay it on top of the cream, pressing down slightly to spread the cream out.  Continue layering until you have 4 layers, ending with whipped cream and a final sprinkling of chocolate.
  • Cover loosely and put in the refrigerator for at least an hour or two, to get really cold.

Notes:  The layers held up really well in these, I think because the wafers were first soaked in the coffee/Kahlua mixture, and then topped with a barrier of grated chocolate, so the whipped cream stayed in a thin, clean layer instead of being absorbed by the cookie.


I made individual desserts in pretty vintage glasses I got at a thrift store.  Thrift stores are full of these kinds of old glassware and they’re perfect for this, but you can play around with whatever glasses you have, and see what works.

These were amazing.  All the flavors of tiramisu, very elegant looking, with very little effort involved.  I kept the serving size small, so they’re refreshing and not too heavy or caloric.  I’m already planning some different versions; you’d be surprised how many kinds of thin wafer style cookies are out there if you keep an eye out for them.  One of my grocery stores even has their own store brand.

Stay cool!


Craving still more tiramisu?   Try my SLAB TIRAMISU

Slab Tiramisu, easy no bake

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19 Responses to It’s hot out there! Icebox Tiramisu

  1. […] Ice Box Tiramisu from The View from Great Island […]

  2. […] Icebox Tiramisu from The View from Great Island […]

  3. I love it. This is an amazing looking dessert!

  4. grace says:

    i’ve never had a true icebox cake, but i’ll be darned if this isn’t one of the classiest desserts i’ve seen. how unexpected!

  5. Stephanie says:

    Beautiful presentation Sue!

  6. Hi Sue! Sadly, I have never had the icebox cake, I guess I was a neglected child ? I might just make the classic version up for my kids as a quick throw together dessert and your version for John and I.

    How do you get such close up photo’s with no blur. Are you using a tripod, high ISO or Aperture? Curious, as I am just starting to work on a manual setting.

  7. Mary says:

    Once again, I’m wishing we were neighbors! I just last year tried the famous icebox wafer cake for the first time. I seriously could have eaten the entire thing. Completely addictive! This version though, oh. my. gosh. You rock. It’s a very good thing you can make these one at a time. I can only imagine how dangerous an entire cake would be!

    I’ve missed seeing your posts! If I could just stay in town long enough to catch up, I’d be a very happy girl!! Have a beautiful day, Sue!

  8. I love those chocolate wafers. I remember my mom making the famous chocolate refrigerator roll when I was a small child. Individual servings are a great idea.

  9. Magnolia Verandah says:

    Looks perfect especially in those glasses.

  10. tiffany rose says:

    Tiramisu is my favorite, I had one for my wedding cake. This looks to be a cool and fun variation, and easy too. Must try the yummy!

  11. Ellen B Cookery says:

    This is so pretty. Something to serve at a dinner party since it has such an awesome presentation…

  12. Katie says:

    That last picture is gorgeous Sue!

  13. OMG, decadent, deadly & devine and delicious!

  14. I don’t think I’ve ever tried that icebox cake…at least not that I remember. But I would LOVE these. Great serving sizes, too…it would help me keep myself in check ;P

  15. It looks so luscious. Ina makes a similar icebox cake with chocolate chips cookies. I have to wait until I have a party to have this delicious dessert. I lack self control!!!

  16. Kate says:

    Looks fantastic. Great idea… can’t wait to hear your variations.

  17. Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum! What a great summer dessert. You know I love this one!! Beautiful photos too :)

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