Strawberry Icebox Cake

Today’s recipe was inspired by one that I saw recently on The Kitchn. It’s an old-fashioned Strawberry 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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    • Lana Stuart says

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

    • Lana Stuart says

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

    • Lana Stuart says

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

  1. says

    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!

    • Lana Stuart says

      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 :-)

      • Mags says

        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.

  2. says

    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

    • Lana Stuart says

      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.

  3. Jeannie says

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

    • Lana Stuart says

      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!

  4. Heather Smith says

    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.

  5. becky says

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

    • Lana Stuart says

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

      • Becky says

        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

    • Gerry says

      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.

      • says

        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.

  6. marie says

    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?

  7. Rosemarie says

    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.

    • Lana Stuart says

      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.

    • Lana Stuart says

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

  8. says

    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.

  9. Annie says

    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?

    • Lana Stuart says

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

  10. Lynne says

    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!

  11. Erin says

    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.).

    • Lana Stuart says

      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.

      • Erin says

        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!

  12. Stella says

    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

    • Lana Stuart says

      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.

  13. says

    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.

    • says

      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!

      • says

        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?

  14. Mags says

    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.

  15. says

    Ah…another Southern favorite I forgot about! I need to make this; betting my neighbors would love it. They love what I make but don’t cook like I do; I need some great recipes that are easy and still delicious and this one fits the bill!


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