Vintage Kitchen Dessert Secret - The Ice Box Cake!

Inflation got you down?

Grocery budget not stretching as far as it used to?

It seems like all anyone is talking about is how food prices are higher than ever and packages are smaller than they used to be. 

Today's I've got an inspiring and fun Vintage Kitchen secret that grew out of the Great Depression and isn't what you might be expecting!


Today's Vintage Kitchen Secret is The "Icebox Cake"?

It's a no-bake dessert that became popular in the 1930s during the Great Depression that utilizes simple ingredients like whipped cream and wafers. 

The "cake" is left to "set" in an icebox (the precursor to modern refrigerators) where the wafers absorb moisture from the whipped cream and soften to a cake-like texture overnight. 

Just because money was tight, doesn't mean that we skimp on dessert! 

Therefore, the icebox cake was born out of "necessity" and convenience during a time when economical cooking was crucial. 😉

With the advent of the icebox, homemakers could prepare desserts without the need for baking.

✦ Manufacturers of wafers and biscuits began printing recipes for icebox cakes on their packages as a marketing tool, which quickly gained popularity due to the minimal effort and ingredients required. (see the images below)

This dessert is a testament to the creativity of home cooks during economic hardships, using limited resources to create something delightful.

Feeling Inspired to create your own Ice Box Cake?

 Mix and Match the different layers with this ideas...
If recipe calls for graham crackers you could easily replace them. 
Here is what I recommend:
  • Golden Grahams Cereal (crushed)
  • Vanilla Wafers
  • Biscoff Cookies
  • Vanilla Oreos
  • Teddy Grahams
 Try adding new layers of...
  • Chocolate Ganache
  • Cut Berries
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Melted Chocolate Chips


Looking for an updated recipe that is Too Easy, Too Tasty, and Done in just hours?

Check out this one by The Six Sisters...

No Bake Strawberry Ice Box Cake Recipe:



  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries sliced
  • 1 quart whipping cream divided
  •  cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract optional
  • 14.4 ounces graham crackers 1 box
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips (or chocolate chunks)



  • Wash and slice berries.
  • With a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip 3 1/4 cups of cream until it just holds stiff peaks.
  • Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and almond extract (if using) and whip to combine.
  • Cover bottom of pan with graham cracker sheets.
  • Lightly cover the top of the graham crackers with a thin layer of whipped cream, and then a single layer of sliced strawberries. Repeat the layers 2 more times.
  • Spread the last of the whipped cream over the top and swirl it lightly with a spoon. Add a few more strawberries.
  • To make the ganache, heat the remaining cream until bubbles form around the edges, then pour over the chocolate. Let it stand for a few minutes, then whisk until the mixture is thick and glossy.
  • Drizzle this over the layered dessert with a spoon, or transfer to a squeeze bottle and use that to drizzle.
  • Refrigerate for at least four hours, or until the crackers have softened completely.
  • Garnish with additional berries.


Calories: 403kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 207mg | Potassium: 189mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 935IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 1mg



Here’s a classic recipe for a traditional chocolate wafer icebox cake, along with a twist on the original using fruit for a lighter version.

Classic Chocolate Wafer Icebox Cake


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 package chocolate wafer cookies (like Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers)
  • Optional: cocoa powder or shaved chocolate for garnish


  1. Whip the Cream: In a large bowl, combine the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
  2. Assemble the Cake: Spread a thin layer of whipped cream on the bottom of a serving platter. Arrange a layer of chocolate wafers over the cream. Spread another layer of whipped cream over the wafers. Continue layering wafers and cream until all wafers are used, finishing with a layer of cream.
  3. Chill: Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours, or overnight. This allows the wafers to soften into a cake-like texture.
  4. Serve: Before serving, sprinkle the top with cocoa powder or shaved chocolate for a decorative touch.


Lemon-Blueberry Icebox Cake


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 package graham crackers
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Additional blueberries and lemon zest for garnish


  1. Prepare Lemon Cream: In a bowl, combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
  2. Layer the Cake: Spread a layer of lemon cream on the bottom of a rectangular dish. Add a layer of graham crackers over the cream, breaking as necessary to fit. Spread another layer of cream over the crackers and sprinkle with blueberries. Repeat the layering process until all ingredients are used, finishing with a layer of lemon cream.
  3. Chill and Garnish: Cover and refrigerate overnight. Garnish with fresh blueberries and lemon zest before serving.

Both versions of the icebox cake are easy to make and perfect for a make-ahead dessert that’s sure to please any crowd. Enjoy the blending of flavors as they meld together in the fridge!

 I can't wait to hear your comments about the super simple Ice Box Cakes!


xoxo, Michelle

 PS... Want to find out about the very FIRST Jell-O Recipe? 

Back to blog

Leave a comment