A deliciously simple icebox cake with a very special sweetened condensed milk whipped cream.–Jessie Sheehan

Icebox Cake FAQs

What is a chocolate wafer cookie?

Chocolate wafer cookies are thin, crispy, and mildly sweet chocolate cookies. Nabisco makes one version called Famous Chocolate Wafers, but there are other brands available online and at your local markets.

If you have difficulty finding chocolate wafers, one tester had success substituting these chocolate cookies.

What can I do with leftover filling?

So many things. You can plop it atop Sunday morning pancakes, waffles, shortcakes, angel food cake, berries or other fruit, stick it inside a crepe, serve it with chilled puddings, or just eat it with a spoon.

Can this cake be frozen?

This cake will freeze well. Chill it overnight wrapped in plastic and in the morning, wrap it again to ensure that it’s air-tight. Then freeze it for up to a month.

A partially sliced icebox cake with condensed milk whipped cream and slices on two plates.
A partially sliced icebox cake with condensed milk whipped cream and slices on two plates.

Icebox Cake with Condensed Milk Whipped Cream

5 from 1 vote
This easy icebox cake comes together in just 20 minutes and requires only 5 ingredients.
David Leite
Servings12 servings
Calories357 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Chill Time7 hours
Total Time7 hours 20 minutes


  • 3 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 3/4 cup full-fat sweetened condensed milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 9 ounces chocolate wafer cookies
  • Rainbow sprinkles, for decorating


  • Line a 9- by 5-inch (23- by 13-cm) loaf pan with plastic wrap, so the wrap hangs over both the short and long sides of the pan. You may need two pieces of the wrap.
  • Place the cream, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whisk on medium-high until medium peaks form, 4 to 6 minutes.
  • Position the prepared pan in front of you so the short side is closest to you. Plop three-quarters of the cream in the pan and begin pressing the wafers into the cream (vertically – so they are standing up like dominos) in short rows that stretch from one of the long sides of the pan to the other.
  • Continue doing this until you run out of cookies. Cover the rows with the remaining whipped cream, smooth the top and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours. You may have some extra whipped cream, which can be used for topping cake or filling crepes.
  • Flip the pan onto a serving platter, remove the pan and peel away the plastic. Decorate with rainbow sprinkles and serve.
Jessie Sheehan Bakes

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Serving: 1 sliceCalories: 357 kcalCarbohydrates: 28 gProtein: 5 gFat: 26 gSaturated Fat: 16 gMonounsaturated Fat: 7 gCholesterol: 74 mgSodium: 164 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 20 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2022 Jessie Sheehan. Photo © 2022 Jessie Sheehan. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Comments made when I served this cake to my book group: “I feel like I am 8 years old and eating a delicious ice cream sandwich just as it softens,” “This is my new favorite dessert,” and “This is delicious.” Yes, it is that good and more.

A whole icebox cake with condensed milk whipped cream with chocolate shavings on top.

I remember when my mother would make an icebox cake. We all loved it. It is so great that they have come around again!

This cake is creamy but light. It is beautiful when cut. And it is quick and easy to make; however, it does need to sit in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours.

I made my cake the night before so that on the day I was serving it I just needed to plate it and decorate it. The recipe calls for sprinkles, but I wanted a slightly more sophisticated-looking cake, so I topped it with chocolate curls and then sprinkled the cake with some Valrhona Baking Pearls for interest. I will be making this cake all summer long.

It doesn’t get any easier than an icebox cake and this one is no exception. From start to fridge, this cake took a mere 25 minutes. The hardest part of this recipe was finding plain chocolate wafers.

A slice of icebox cake on white plate, topped with peanuts and caramels sauce and another slice topped with strawberries.

I made this old-fashioned icebox cake with condensed milk whipped cream twice – first with my stand mixer, then with my hand mixer. Both worked equally well.

Both times I made this, I ended up with about 2 cups of extra filling. We ate it on top of sponge cake with berries. The icebox cake has the consistency of thick whipped cream. It does not harden in the refrigerator like ice cream – it just firms up.

We aren’t big on sprinkles, so we did a “top your own” kind of thing. The two favorite toppings were caramel sauce with salted peanuts and macerated strawberries. The first being deeee-lish!

Also, we had about 1/3 of the cake leftover (the second time around), so I placed it back into the loaf pan and gently placed a piece of plastic wrap over it. It kept in the refrigerator fine for the first day. On day two, the cream started to separate out near the bottom.

This icebox cake whips together quickly and can be easily modified to please one’s taste. (Like right now, I’m thinking about Nilla wafers and banana slices!) Make this. It’s good!

This old-fashioned icebox cake with condensed milk whipped cream is a dream to make and a real treat to eat.

I was immediately drawn to this recipe since I love icebox cakes and was intrigued by the use of both sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream as the whipped cream filling. However, I wondered whether the sweetened condensed milk would be too sweet, although no added sugar was called for in the recipe.

The addition of the rainbow sprinkles combined with the layers of vertical chocolate wafers, which were visible when sliced, created that old-fashioned, nostalgic charm so unique to an icebox cake.

In addition to its simplicity of execution and charming presentation, this little icebox cake also rocks in its flavor and texture. Each bite was so pillowy, creamy, and perfectly sweetened, with a cake-like texture from the softened chocolate wafers. An all-around perfect dessert to make, which was loved by all, and even by some who consumed a second slice!

While I thought this cake was too sweet once it finished chilling, my teens and their friends really, really, REALLY liked it. I licked the whisk after making the cream and condensed milk whip, and it was delicious—lightly sweetened and tasting mostly of cream.

Once the cookies absorb into the cream mixture, they are soft, very cakelike, and cloyingly sweet. The sprinkles added another layer of sugar and it was too, too much for the adults who tried it. However, I must rate this a tester’s choice based on the popularity of this cake among the under 18s.

Where has this icebox cake been all my life? How amazing. Sweetened condensed milk whipped cream is simply genius.

This recipe couldn’t be easier, and while you have to wait a loooong time before you can crack into it, it’s totally worth the wait. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever made an easier dessert (other than maybe fresh fruit that all you do is wash).

This icebox cake was fun to put together (it’s like a summer camp art project!) and it was tasty. Even though I had never made or eaten an icebox cake, there was something nostalgic about its simplicity.

The wafers nicely soaked up the moisture from the whipped cream without becoming mushy, and, is the chocolate and vanilla combination ever bad? I think not. My kitchen will definitely see this cake again, however, I would make a couple of adjustments next time.

First, I would try replacing some of the heavy cream (1/2 cup?) with sour cream or crème. It’s something I have tried before, and I loved the pleasant tartness they gave to the sweetened whipped heavy cream.

Second, to add sturdiness to the cake for cleaner slices, I would change the cream-cookie ratio a bit by squeezing more wafers into the cake. (Because why would you choose “less whipped cream” over “more chocolate cookies”?) I’d push more wafers into the cream per row, and ending with a layer of wafers placed flat on top would create a “bottom crust, which would make scooping each slice off of the plate neater.

This recipe is true to the original versions that you might have had in your youth. It’s easy to make and light. One issue might be that it’s a little bit one note, but the sprinkles go a long way in adding a little texture and color.

With very little prep time, this is an easy make-ahead dessert for a summer barbecue. It sits quietly in your fridge and doesn’t even take up a lot of room!

After unsuccessful stops at two different grocery stores looking for the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, I gave up and went home and made these chocolate cookies and I’m so glad I did. The homemade cookies have so much more chocolate flavor. I made two different sizes (2 inches for the icebox cake and a 3-inch version to use for ice cream sandwiches).

I did have to extend the length of time in the refrigerator for the icebox cake. After 6 hours, the cookies were still pretty crispy and too hard to cut through. After sitting overnight, the cookies had softened up.

The cake was easy to remove from the pan and I was able to smooth the edges with a metal spatula to make a pretty dessert. A serving of fresh strawberries was the perfect complement to this tasty treat.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


    1. Molly, one of our testers did try this, and it worked well to give it a bit of extra firmness. Do let us know how it works for you.

    2. I was a 50s kid in the heyday of this type of refrigerator cake.

      My mother often served it frozen in the summer.