Strawberry Icebox Cake

by Lana Stuart on April 22, 2013 · 58 comments

Strawberry Icebox Cake

If you’re a regular reader of Never Enough Thyme, you know that I always do two posts a week. Without fail. It’s usually Tuesday and Friday. However, with everything that was going on in our country last week, I just didn’t have it in me to do a “happy little post.” The tragedies in Boston and West, Texas, just kinda took the wind out of my sails and I couldn’t come up with words to write here. But I’m starting to get back into the swing of things and hope you enjoy today’s recipe. I’ll try to have two more for you this week to make up for my absence last Friday. Let’s all hope for a better week and remember to support all those folks who need our good thoughts right now.

Today’s recipe was inspired by one that I saw recently on The Kitchn. It’s an old-fashioned icebox cake. As far as I can tell, icebox cakes originated in the 1920’s as a way for Nabisco to promote some of their cookie wafer products. The original ones were simply cookies layered with whipped cream and allowed to stand until the cookies softened and became very much like a thin cake layer.

Well, since this is a vintage recipe you know I had to give it a try! The recipe on The Kitchn used all graham crackers layered with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Yum. However, I happened to have a few Nabisco Chocolate Wafers leftover from the Fresh Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Cookie Crust that I did a few days ago, so I thought maybe a chocolate layer among all that goodness wouldn’t hurt anything. I was right. Didn’t hurt the recipe at all :-)

Fresh strawberries for Strawberry Icebox Cake

You’ll start by washing, hulling, and slicing 2 pounds of fresh, ripe strawberries. Just looking at the picture makes my mouth water.

Sprinkle the strawberries with sugar, toss to combine and allow to sit for about 15 minutes. Allowing them to sit for a few minutes with the sugar will start some of the juices running from the strawberries. It makes your cake even better.

Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract. Whip again briefly to combine.

Layering Strawberry Icebox Cake

On a platter or in a baking pan, spread a small amount of the whipped cream. Begin layering starting with the graham crackers, then a layer of strawberries, and a layer of whipped cream.

Chocolate wafer layer in Strawberry Icebox Cake

Use the chocolate wafers for one of your middle layers.

Assembled Strawberry Icebox Cake

Continue until you have four layers in all ending with a layer of whipped cream.

And now, here’s the hardest part of making this dessert. You have to cover it and let it sit in the refrigerator (or icebox if your vintagely inclined) for at least 4 hours! No, you can’t slice it right now and dive into that whipped cream, strawberry, graham cracker goodness. You must have patience. Something I sorely lack. But your icebox cake needs that time for all the cream and strawberry juices to be absorbed into the cookies and work its magic.

When you’re ready to serve this stack of deliciousness, just cut it into squares and top each with a fresh strawberry. One more time – Yum!

Strawberry Icebox Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This fresh strawberry icebox cake is a no-bake treat featuring layers of graham crackers, chocolate wafers, strawberries and whipped cream.
Serves: 10-12 servings
  • 2 lbs. fresh strawberries
  • 2 tblsp. sugar
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 15 whole graham crackers
  • 12 chocolate wafer cookies (suggest Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers)
  1. Wash the strawberries and spread them on a double thickness of paper towels to dry. Hull and slice the strawberries into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar, toss to combine and allow to sit for about 15 minutes.
  2. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract. Whip again briefly to combine.
  3. On a platter or in a baking pan, spread a small amount of the whipped cream. Begin layering starting with the graham crackers, then a layer of strawberries, and a layer of whipped cream. Continue layering until you have four layers making one of the layers with chocolate wafers instead of graham crackers. End with a layer of whipped cream.
  4. Cover loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until the graham crackers and cookies have softened.
  5. Cut into servings and top each with a fresh strawberry.
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Other icebox cake recipes you might enjoy from around the internet:

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Deborah April 23, 2013 at 12:19 am

I love old fashioned ice box cakes, and this one looks amazing!!


2 Lana Stuart April 23, 2013 at 7:21 am

Thanks, Deborah. We sure did like it. Especially the chocolate wafer layer. I may make another one with just chocolate wafers and strawberries!


3 Lora April 23, 2013 at 9:51 am

Looks delicious! I can’t wait to make it for my family.


4 Lana Stuart April 23, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Thanks, Lora. Hope your family enjoys it as much as we did.


5 Monica April 23, 2013 at 1:06 pm

This looks delicious! Strawberries and whipped cream and chocolate…that’s what I call paradise in dessert. (:


6 Lana Stuart April 23, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Isn’t that almost a perfect combination, Monica? Strawberries, whipped cream, and chocolate are always winners!


7 Shaina April 23, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Goodness. I love the mix of graham and chocolate wafers. This looks delightful.


8 Lana Stuart April 23, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Shaina – that one little layers of chocolate wafers really added a nice touch to the original recipe. Just the right amount of chocolate!


9 Nancy@acommunaltable April 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Growing up, icebox cake was one of my all time favorite desserts! Love the idea of mixing the chocolate with the graham crackers -making a note to try that the next time I make an icebox cake!


10 Lana Stuart April 23, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Nancy – I was getting the graham crackers out of the pantry and the box of chocolate wafers literally fell in my hand. I took it as a sign :-)


11 Mags January 19, 2014 at 6:25 pm

I have been trying every supermarket to find the Nabiscos Chocolate wafers and have had no luck. Just come from a Walmart superstore.
Can somebody please help me. I need them urgently.


12 Lana Stuart January 19, 2014 at 6:41 pm

In my grocery stores, they’re *never* with the cookies. They’re with the ice cream cones and ice cream toppings.


13 Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles April 24, 2013 at 9:30 pm

I’ve never made an icebox cake, but I’m loving the looks of this one, for sure!! :)


14 Lana Stuart April 25, 2013 at 8:30 am

You should try one, Brenda! They’re really great for summer when it’s too hot to bake.


15 Terra April 28, 2013 at 11:31 pm

I don’t think I have ever made an icebox cake, but I have heard how lovely they are! This cake would be awesome for any summer bbq gathering, and looks like it tastes AWESOME!!! Love that you added the chocolate cookies along with the graham crackers:-) Hugs, Terra


16 Lana Stuart April 29, 2013 at 9:54 am

Thanks, Terra! This is a great summer time dessert especially because there’s no baking required! You can keep the oven off and the house cool.


17 Elyse April 30, 2013 at 8:18 am

Wonder how it would be just using layers of choc graham crackers?


18 Lana Stuart April 30, 2013 at 10:51 am

I’m sure it would be just delicious, Elyse!


19 Jeannie May 3, 2013 at 12:25 pm

We always make icebox cake with ONLY the chocolate wafers, standing on end. Will try this with graham crackers and the chocolate wafers.


20 Lana Stuart May 3, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Jeannie-I’m trying to figure out how you assemble it with the chocolate wafers standing on end. I’d love to know how that’s done!


21 Heather Smith May 3, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Fabulous dessert! But my market didn’t have chocolate wafers. So I bought chocolate sandwich cookies, (the cheapest kind), scraped off the frosting (used it on the left-over graham crackers), and it worked just fine.


22 Lana Stuart May 3, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Great idea, Heather! Glad it worked out for you.


23 becky May 8, 2013 at 9:25 am

Just wondering if you can use cool whip or a whipped topping instead of heavy whipping cream? Just curious.


24 Lana Stuart May 8, 2013 at 9:34 am

I’m sure you could, Becky! I just don’t care for whipped topping so I always use whipping cream.


25 Becky May 8, 2013 at 10:17 am

Ok I’ve never used heavy whipping cream before . I will try it thank you. Just mix it with beaters, is it found by the milk


26 Gerry February 9, 2014 at 12:10 pm

No you can’t use cool whip because then the cookies never get soft. I used cool whip for the stand up chocolate recipe and they never got soft. There must be something different in real whipping cream that makes the cookies get soft, which is what you want. For everyone who is having trouble finding the cookies; they are called Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers and are “always ” on the top shelf in the grocery store where the cookies are located.


27 Lana Stuart February 9, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Gerry – the difference is that Cool Whip is mostly oil. Whipping cream is a dairy product, the fattest part of the milk. Also, in each of the grocery stores where I shop the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers are *always* in the ice cream cone and toppings section.


28 marie May 9, 2013 at 11:34 am

We can’t get fresh OR frozen strawberries here, but occasionally get cans of strawberry pie filling…think that would work if I rinsed the strawberries?


29 Lana Stuart May 9, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I’m pretty skeptical that would work, Marie. Maybe try a different berry or fruit. Or just leave them out. The original icebox cakes were just cookie wafers and whipped cream.


30 marie May 10, 2013 at 11:38 am

Okay….maybe I COULD just make it without the fruit, but just before serving, top each serving with a bit of the strawberry pie filling??


31 marie May 10, 2013 at 11:41 am

We actually have a similar dessert here called “mango float”… pretty tasty!!


32 Lana Stuart May 10, 2013 at 11:50 am

Good idea!


33 Rosemarie May 9, 2013 at 2:41 pm

I am having a group of ladies over in two weeks, if you make this icebox
cake the evening before will it still be nice for the next afternoon? Or do you advise getting up early and making it. My friends are coming at noon.


34 Lana Stuart May 9, 2013 at 2:46 pm

I would definitely make it the night before, Rosemarie. It needs a long standing time for all the wafers to soften. Just be sure to cover it well so that the whipped cream doesn’t dry out.


35 Diane Young May 19, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Love the recipe but take issue with total time being listed as 20 minutes when chilling time is one hour minimum.


36 Lana Stuart May 19, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Hi Diane. I don’t count standing or chilling time in total time. It’s hands-on and cooking time only.


37 Diane Young May 20, 2013 at 8:27 am

Lana, some of the questions posed to cooks indicate that the questioners have not even read the entire recipe; that’s why I wish you and others would include extras like chilling time, setting time and rising time. Thanks for reading.


38 sanfay May 20, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Sounds refreshing. I’m looking for a recipe for this weekend. This one will do. Thanks


39 Lana Stuart May 20, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Enjoy it!


40 Annie May 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I’m glad I found your site, it’s almost strawberry season here and cannot wait to try this! Thanks for the recipe. I’ve never made whipped cream before, does it take long?


41 Lana Stuart May 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm

No, not at all, Annie. Just 3 or 4 minutes. You can always substitute with a whipped topping like Cool Whip instead.


42 Lynne June 21, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Hi Lana,
I tried your Strawberry Icebox Cake yesterday. My husband just loved it! And his mom too! I did use the whipping cream as it was my first time with it and I just love it. Took no time at all. The remaining slices tasted even better the next day as the juices really incorporated into the crackers. You are right, it does need the original 4 hours to soak in.

This was the EASIEST no bake I have ever done and it will continue to be part of my hot summer cool desserts.

Thank you and God Bless!


43 Lana Stuart June 21, 2013 at 8:33 pm

You’re welcome, Lynne! I’m so glad you all enjoyed it.


44 Erin July 16, 2013 at 3:26 pm

So I’m not sure what I did, but I didn’t have enough ingredients to make 4 layers. Barely had enough of any of the ingredients. Ran out of whipped cream all together, and had to make more (and I wasn’t doing thick layers either). Managed one layer of graham crackers and one layer of chocolate wafers. Will it still turnout? I only made a 9 x13 pan (which is what I thought it looked like you used from your picture.).


45 Lana Stuart July 16, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Erin – I really don’t know what may have happened. You can see the photos above where I assembled the cake using exactly the ingredients called for in the recipe. I assembled mine in a small baking dish just for convenience. It didn’t actually fill the pan. It doesn’t really matter what size pan or platter you make your cake on so long as you stack it in layers with 5 graham crackers (or 12 chocolate wafers) per layer.


46 Erin July 16, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Fyi, 2 layers works fine. It was still a huge hit. :) I also melted some doc.chocolate with some coconut oil and drizzled it over the top of the cake. When it cools, it becomes hard (kind of like magic shell). It was an awesome compliment to the rest of the cake. Yummy!


47 Erin July 16, 2013 at 11:10 pm

2 layers work* fine ;)


48 Stella August 7, 2013 at 9:43 am

Somewhat late reading this recipe. The use of so much whipped cream makes me wonder if you ever use a whipped cream stabilizer. I have been using this for some time now and like the way it holds the cream together for a longer time. Anyway, the recipe, along with the photo


49 Lana Stuart August 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Hi Stella – I don’t use a stabilizer and it works fine for me. However, I know a lot of people will use a small amount of gelatin to help whipped cream hold longer.


50 Angela February 9, 2014 at 10:34 am

This cake is terrific! If you want to make it even easier than it already is….just use “Cool Whip”, instead of whipping your own cream. I used the ‘lite’ “Cool Whip”, and it turned out beautifully.


51 Lana Stuart February 9, 2014 at 10:48 am

Thanks Angela! I’m glad you found a way to make the recipe easier for you. I don’t care for Cool Whip and real whipped cream only takes me about 3 minutes to make, so that’s why I use it. Hope you enjoy the recipe again and again!


52 Angela February 9, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Thanks Lana, and I do appreciate your comment regarding the real whipping cream. Yes, real whipped cream is definately delicious….but some of us like to keep the calories and the fat down in our recipes as much as we can. It was just a suggestion to some of we ladies who like to stay slim, and how not to feel guilty when making a delicious dessert. I’m 5’7″, and I weigh 105 lbs. I want to keep it that way!! What about you?


53 Mags February 11, 2014 at 11:48 am

There was a recipe using French Vanilla Pudding and I bought the boxes of pudding and now I cannot find the recipe. Can someone help me.


54 Stella June 8, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Is there a print button for this recipe?


55 Lana Stuart June 8, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Hi Stella – yes, the print button is in the top right corner of the recipe box. Just to the right of the Save Recipe button.


56 Stella June 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Well – duhhh – found it.


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