American Classics: Classic Icebox Cake

6. Classic Icebox Cake

This is cookies and cream in its purest form. Lightly sweetened whipped cream and chocolate wafer cookies are all you need to make this killer dessert.

Get the recipe!

Alexandra Penfold

With summertime upon us, I find myself looking for no-bake desserts that still satisfy. Just because the weather's hot doesn't mean I don't want cake—I'd just prefer not to have to heat up my apartment to get my fix. Enter the icebox cake. A recent chance discovery of chocolate wafer cookies at my local grocery store inspired me to attempt Nabisco's "Famous Chocolate Refrigerator Roll," a simple log-like icebox cake consisting of cookies and whipped cream.

When I think of icebox cakes, I think retro. I think of my convenience cooking-loving grandma. But as much as icebox cakes may seem like a product of the 1950s, flipping through old cookbooks I found recipes for "ice-box cakes" as far back as the 1915 edition of The "Settlement" Cookbook, compiled by Mrs. Simon Kander. These early versions of icebox cakes were made with ladyfingers, sort of like an all-American tiramisu.

Nabisco didn't invent the icebox cake but they sure did make it famous by featuring it on the front of their chocolate wafer packages. The front-of-package-photo alone does an admirable job of making you want to take a box of cookies home. The chocolate cake looks like the epitome of gracious summer entertaining, with not a dollop of cream out of place. Flavor-wise, it exudes a cookies and cream vibe all the way (actually the cream moistened cookies, a.k.a cake, remind me of the taste and texture of Good Humor chocolate ice cream sandwich cookies—in the very best way.) You can either stick with the traditional whipped cream filling or easily dress it up with a little mint extract, either way it's a win.

Got a favorite classic American dessert recipe you'd like to see featured here? Email us with the subject: "American Classics."