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Mocha Icebox Cake

I grew up with Icebox Cake made with chocolate wafer cookies and whipped cream. It’s what my stepmom made for everybody’s birthdays. She made them in all shapes and sizes. You take chocolate wafer cookies, smear some sweetened whipped cream on each one, sandwich them together and then ice the whole thing with more whipped cream. You let it sit in the fridge overnight so the whipped cream soaks into the cookies and they get soft. It’s delicious. The recipe has been around forever.

My daughter, Amanda, is a huge Ina Garten fan. She’s also a Paula Deen fan. For spring break she and her friend were thinking of going on a Paula Deen cruise! Better that than Mexico or Florida for heavy drinking I suppose. Anyway, the point is she told me that her new book, How Easy Is That?, which I gave her for Christmas, had a revamped recipe for chocolate Icebox Cake. She made it for me for my birthday and it was really delicious.

Now I don’t claim to be a better cook that Ina Garten, but I thought that there was some room for improvement in the cake. Now I will say that since Amanda had to make the cake on the Saturday night before my birthday on Tuesday (as she was leaving the next morning to go back to college), it did sit in the fridge for 3 days before we ate it. I thought it was a little dry. Delicious, but could have used a little more moistness. When I made it I increased the recipe for the icing (although it’s not really a typical icing but we’ll call it that) by 1/4. I also realized that Amanda made it in a 9″ spring-form pan and the recipe called for an 8″ one. I made it with an 8″ one.

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

Original recipe from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That?” cookbook.  Adapted by Crafty Farm Girl©, January, 2011

Serving Size: Serves eight

For this recipe you should try to use chocolate chip cookies from Tate’s Bake Shop in Southampton, New York, which are available nationally or at If you can’t get them, use another thin, crisp chocolate chip cookie.


2 cups cold heavy cream
12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Kahlúa liqueur
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Pernigotti
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3, 8-ounce packages of Tate’s Bake Shop chocolate chip cookies
Shaved semisweet chocolate, for garnish (I make mine by running a vegetable peeler down a chunk of chocolate)

Remember, if I can teach you only one thing in life, that would be to assemble your ingredients and then “mise en place”, a French term referring to having all the ingredients necessary for a dish prepared and ready to combine up to the point of cooking. Once you learn to do this your cooking life will be much easier.


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlúa, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and vanilla. Mix on low speed to combine and then slowly raise the speed, until it forms firm peaks.

To assemble the cake, arrange chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan, covering the bottom as much as possible. (I break some cookies to fill in the spaces.) Spread a fifth of the mocha whipped cream evenly over the cookies.

Now let me just stick a little note in here. It is very hard to spread this cream/icing onto a layer of cookies at the bottom of an 8″ spring-form pan. Amanda finally ended up starting with a cheese slicer, which was working pretty well, but then we finally ended up sticking the icing into a pastry bag and just cut off the tip (or you can use a plain round piping tip) and piped the icing in. It worked MUCH better that way in my opinion. If you don’t have a pastry bag, then use a small off-set spatula or a cheese slicer to spread the icing. I found when I piped it I didn’t even really need to spread it, as when I placed the next layer of cookies down it squished it all down pretty evenly anyway.

Place another layer of cookies on top, lying flat and touching, followed by another fifth of the cream. Continue layering cookies and cream until there are five layers of each, ending with a layer of cream. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Sprinkle the top with the chocolate. Run a small sharp knife around the outside of the cake and remove the sides of the spring-form pan. Cut in wedges and serve cold.


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