Today is national applesauce cake day, so it stands to reason I should have baked an applesauce cake. But I just couldn’t get on board with stewed and baked apples in June. September? Sure. June? Not so much. Instead I decided to make something cold to beat the summer heat: Ice Box Cake.

On Saturday morning, I usually watch 5 Ingredient Fix on Food Network. Claire Robinson’s recipes, all using five ingredients or less, are simple yet appetizing. The Race to the Dinner Table episode provided the recipe and inspiration for this above Ice Box Cake.

The building blocks of ice box cake are layers of wafer cookies (usually chocolate, but vanilla is fine) and whipped cream. I made my own chocolate wafer cookies using a recipe on the Smitten Kitchen blog, adding 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon to the batter.  I layered a cream cheese and whipped cream mixture in between the layers of the chocolate wafer cookies, then iced the entire cake with whipped cream and cinnamon. Enjoy!

Ice Box Cake with Homemade Chocolate Wafer Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
  • For the Chocolate Wafer Cookies
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cups cocoa powder
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 14 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) butter, softened slightly
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the Ice Box Cake
  • 3 cups heavy cream, chilled and divided
  • 9 tablespoons (1/2 cup plus one tablespoon) granulated sugar, divided
  • 8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese, softened
  • Chocolate wafer cookies
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  1. To make the chocolate wafer cookies, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Cut the butter into small chunks and add to the bowl.
  3. Use a fork or pastry cutter to incorporate the butter into the flour mixture.
  4. Add the milk and the vanilla and use a hand mixer or wooden spoon to stir until the dough begins to clump.
  5. Place the dough on a very lightly floured surface and knead a few times to ensure the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  6. Form the dough into a log and wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough until firm, about one hour.
  7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut the log into slices about ¼-inch thick.
  8. Place the dough slices on parchment-lined baking sheets. The cookies will spread a bit, so be sure to leave space between the disks of dough.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet from back to front halfway through baking.
  10. Allow the cookies to cool on wire racks.
  11. While the cookies cool, use a wire whisk attachment to beat together 2 cups of the heavy cream and 6 tablespoons of the sugar in a medium bowl until soft peaks form, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.
  12. Slowly add the cream cheese and beat until incorporated.
  13. Spread 1½ cups of the cream cheese mixture onto the bottom of a springform pan.
  14. Arrange a layer of chocolate wafer cookies on top of the cream cheese mixture.
  15. Repeat layering the cream cheese mixture and chocolate wafer cookies once more, then spread the remaining cream cheese mixture on top.
  16. Cover the pan with plastic wrap, being sure to press the plastic wrap across the top layer.
  17. Freeze the cake until firm, about 2 hours.
  18. When the cake is frozen, remove from the freezer and place in the refrigerator to defrost, about 6 hours. The cake should still be firm.
  19. Whip the remaining 1 cup cream until stiff peaks form, then add the cinnamon and the remaining three tablespoons of sugar.
  20. Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the cake, and release and remove the side of the springform pan.
  21. Frost the sides and the top of the cake with the cinnamon cream.
  22. If desired, sprinkle the top of the cake with chocolate wafer crumbs. Serve cold.
Store bought chocolate graham crackers can be used in place of chocolate wafer cookies.

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