This Strawberry Icebox Cake is a dreamy, delicious take on the classic no-bake dessert made with chocolate wafer cookies. It takes the unbeatable combination of strawberries and chocolate in a whole new refreshing direction!
a strawberry icebox cake is a summer classic
Not only is the color combination of that pale pink creamy filling and dark chocolate wafers stunning, but the flavors are so simple and fresh. And it’s just plain fun to dig a big spoon in and scoop out all those yummy layers. This recipe is based on the original Nabisco Famous Icebox Cake from the 1940s, which is printed right on the box, to this day. Strawberries takes this simple, magical recipe up a notch.
ice box cake is all about texture
It’s almost like magic how the layers of strawberry whipped filling and crisp chocolate cookies transform into a soft, cake-y dessert. The secret is giving the cake enough time to chill in the fridge (at least 6 hours or overnight) so that the crunchy wafers soak in moisture from the filling and turn into a nice, soft, cake-y texture. It’s brilliant!
the right balance of ingredients for a strawberry filling
Traditionally ice box cakes are made with a simple whipped cream filling, but when you add pureed fruit like strawberries to whipped cream, you’re adding a lot of water along with that fresh berry flavor. To compensate, I added some cream cheese to the party to make sure the filling stayed nice and thick. You don’t really taste the cream cheese, so it’s not quite like a no-bake cheesecake, but the extra body makes for a great filling that will stand up to all the layers of this cake, while staying soft and creamy.
here’s what you’ll need
- fresh strawberries for the perfect summertime flavor
- cream cheese adds body and thickness to the filling
- vanilla extract boosts the flavor of the filling
- whipping cream adds the all important airiness to the filling
- chocolate wafer cookies provide the structure of the cake.
how to assemble an icebox cake
- choose the right pan: I used an 8×8 glass baking pan that is relatively deep, so I’d be able to fit 4 layers of wafers and strawberry filling easily. I like glass because it allows you to see through on the sides, too. Stoneware pans are also a good choice for keeping things chilled.
- You can start layering with a layer of cookies, or with a thin layer of filling. I did a layer of wafers first, but if you start with a thin layer of filling it will allow that first layer of cookies to get a bit softer.
- Lay your cookies in a single layer, overlapping them a little bit if needed. Ideally, you don’t want them to overlap too much so that they have contact with the creamy filling and can soak it up, but you also don’t want to leave too much space between them.
- Continue layering up your icebox cake, until you’ve used up all your filling. Don’t worry too much about all your layers being exactly equal, it will all meld together beautifully in the fridge.
- This filling is soft and creamy when fully chilled, but if you want it to be a little bit firmer, you can pop the finished icebox cake in the freezer for 20-30 minutes before serving, just don’t let it get totally frozen or it will become too hard.
icebox cake tips and faqs
The unique texture of an ice box cake comes from the wafer cookies that soak in the whipped cream filling over time. They lose their crunch and become cake-like.
They can be a pain in the #%* to find, so when you do, hoard! Check larger supermarkets, (usually on the top shelf) and you can always order them on Amazon.
The thin crisp dark chocolate cookies have been around since 1924! They’re used to make ice box cakes and crumb crusts for pies.
I’ve used Oreos, or Oreo Thins as substitutes. You can also use other wafer thin cookies in other flavors like vanilla, ginger, or lemon. Trader Joe’s carries an assortment. Graham crackers, or any thin cookie that is absorbent (i.e. isn’t coated with chocolate or anything) will work. Even thin chocolate chip cookies, like Tate’s, will work.
Yes, you can pop them straight in the freezer, in their box.
You can, but it’s not my preference. The texture and flavor of whipped cream is much better. And I don’t think Cool Whip sinks into the wafers as well as whipped cream does.
It will last 2-3 days, but any longer and the whipped cream will start to deteriorate.
2 hours max.
Yes, I love to do that. Find a small jar that’s about the size of the wafers, and then layer away! I’ve used this method in my mini icebox tiramisu recipe.
I like to allow 6 hours to make sure everything melds together nicely. overnight works, too!
Use your favorite vegan cookie (Oreos are vegan!) and then make a vegan whipped topping for the filling.
more cool no-bake desserts
Strawberry Icebox Cake
- 1 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped
- 12 ounces full fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 9 ounce box chocolate wafer cookies
- strawberries and mint leaves for garnish, optional
- In a blender or a food processor, puree the strawberries, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until very smooth.
- In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with electric beaters, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold the strawberry mixture into the whipped cream, until no streaks remain.
- Begin assembling the icebox cake by lining the bottom of your pan (I used an 8×8 glass baking dish) with the wafers, overlapping slightly if needed.
- Follow with a layer of the strawberry mixture. I used about 1/4 of my mixture for 4 separate layers.
- Continue layering until you have used all of your ingredients, ending with a layer of the strawberry mixture.
- Chill at least 6 hours, or up to overnight.
- Garnish with a few sliced strawberries and mint leaves, if desired. Serve cold.