This No-Bake Chocolate Icebox Cake recipe is the ultimate treat with mascarpone whipped cream and hazelnut-chocolate whipped cream, layered with crushed chocolate graham crackers!
So, I might have gained a few pounds during the covid pandemic *cough* But hey, a little extra insulation during the colder months isn’t a bad thing. It’s when summer rolls around and your shorts are tight, that you’re thinking “Hm. Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten four servings of that beef stew.” But it’s ok. Fitting into my bathing suit this summer was not greater than Chocolate Icebox Cake.
You just can’t beat a classic icebox cake. Simple, decadent, layer after layer of deliciousness, and always a crowd favorite.
What is an Icebox Cake?
An Icebox Cake is an old fashioned no bake dessert that dates back 100 years! Similar to a trifle or lush by layering whipped cream, wafer cookies, and fruit, then chilled. It became popular in the 1920’s when companies in the United States started promoting the icebox (a compact non-mechanical refrigerator) as a kitchen appliance. Nabisco started including icebox cake recipes on their chocolate wafer packaging and the dessert idea was an instant hit.
Today there are countless variations of icebox cakes, using different fruits, cookies, and pudding flavors. The Chocolate Icebox Cake recipe we’re sharing today includes chocolate graham crackers that are pulverized and blended with butter, then layered in-between mascarpone whipped cream and Nutella whipped cream. Every bite is creamy, rich, and absolutely heavenly.
Chocolate Icebox Cake Recipe
Ingredients you’ll need to make this icebox cake:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Chocolate graham crackers
- Unsalted butter
- Heavy whipping cream
- Mascarpone cheese
- Hazelnut-chocolate spread (such as Nutella)
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Change the crumbs: Chocolate graham crackers are the classic way to go, but we’ve also made this with chocolate wafers, Oreos, and sugar cookies. All delish!
- Replace the Nutella: Nutella is our favorite in this cake, but we know not everyone loves it. You could try replacing it with a different nut butter, cookie butter, or chocolate spread. The flavors won’t be the same, obviously, but still very good.
- Add fruit: Raspberries or thin sliced strawberries in between the layers would be a delicious addition to this icebox cake.
Make Ahead and Proper Storage
Make-Ahead: This cake needs to chill for at least 6 hours (or overnight) after assembling, so the cracker crumbs can absorb the moisture from the cream layers.
How long does Icebox Cake last? Icebox cakes needs to be refrigerated. Cover loosely and enjoy any leftovers within 2 days. It will last a couple days past that, but gets really soggy and not ideal.
Can you freeze Icebox Cake? We don’t recommend freezing this cake, since once thawed the layers get watery and mushy.
More No Bake Desserts:
Chocolate Icebox Cake
- 18 full sheets chocolate graham crackers (about 3 cups of crumbs)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , melted
- 1 3/4 cups cold heavy whipping cream , divided
- 1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese , divided
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup Hazelnut-chocolate spread (such as Nutella)
- Blend the graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Add in the melted butter and blend until well combined.
- Press 1 cup of the crumbs into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan (misted with nonstick cooking spray.) Set aside the remaining crumbs.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together 1 cup of the heavy cream, 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese, and the powdered sugar, until stiff peaks form, about 1-2 minutes.
- In another large bowl with the electric mixer, beat remaining 3/4 cup heavy cream and mascarpone cheese with the Nutella, until stiff peaks form, about 1-2 minutes.
- Spread half of the vanilla whipped cream mixture over the crushed graham crackers in the pan, then top with 1/2 cup more graham cracker crumbs.
- Spread half of the Nutella whipped cream over the crushed graham crackers, then top with 1/2 cup more graham cracker crumbs.
- Repeat layers, ending with the remaining graham cracker crumbs.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight.
- Uncover the cake and run a thin dull knife around the edge to loosen. Remove the springform ring; smooth the sides with an offset spatula if necessary.
- Slice and enjoy!