Let me start by saying this may be the only time you’ll hear me talk glowingly about something with the word “icebox” in it while the temperature outside is below zero.
My mom introduced me to an icebox cake recipe at my family’s Chanukah party last month – and yes, as you may remember, I also fell in love with a pear salad at this dinner. In fact, I’m sure this won’t be the last time you hear me raving about the food at that family gathering.
But back to the cake for now.
My mom found the recipe for the icebox cake on Smitten Kitchen, and modified it slightly so my cousin who has a gluten allergy could enjoy the cake with all of us. As soon as she mentioned it was gluten-free, I knew I had to bring it to work the night of New Year’s Eve, since one of my friends there has a gluten allergy as well. Plus, I wanted to make the night a little more fun since we were working on a holiday.
The icebox cake is a fantastic multi-layered cake composed of store-bought chocolate wafers and homemade whipped cream. After layering the crispy wafers with whipped cream and putting it in the fridge overnight, you’ll end up with a soft, moist chocolate cake that tastes amazing. With the exception of the time the cake needed to settle in the fridge, it took no more than 20 minutes to make and was incredibly easy to clean up. Since it’s a no-bake dish, it’s also extremely versatile. My mom put her cake on a pretty dish for our dinner, but you can also do what I did and assemble the cake in a foil cake pan so that it’s easy to take to work and you don’t have to bring back a dirty dish at the end of your day. Bottom line: If you’re in need of something simple to bring to a birthday party or a potluck lunch at work, I’m telling you, you’ve got to make this.
Gluten-Free Icebox Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 3 cups of heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 2-3 boxes of chocolate wafers (Smitten Kitchen recommended Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers, but if you’re going the gluten-free route, I’d suggest a 3-pack from Tate’s Bake Shop. You can find Tate’s at Whole Foods).
Pour the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract into your mixer. Mix the ingredients together on high using the wire whip until you see soft peaks.
Lie 7 cookies on a flat base, with one of the cookies in the middle of the others. Measure out half a cup of the whipped cream and spread it on top of the cookies.
NOTE: The first layer will be the hardest, since the cookies have nothing binding them. Be careful not to break the cookies as you spread the whipped cream over them.
Add a new layer of cookies on top, rotating slightly so that the cookies aren’t stacked directly on top of each other. Spread another half of a cup of whipped cream over this layer. Repeat till you have roughly 10 or 11 layers, or until you’re at your desired height. In my case, I ended up with roughly 8 layers of wafers, but that might be because I got a little greedy while I was making the cake… you know, a cookie for the cake, a cookie for me.
After a final layer of whipped cream, cover up the cake carefully and place it in your fridge overnight. After you take it out, you can add chocolate garnishing on top or leave it as is.