“Make-Do” Mocha Chocolate Chip Icebox Cake

“Make-Do” Mocha Chocolate Chip Icebox Cake


Recently I found myself in need of a quick, easy but impressive dessert for a special dinner. 

Baking isn’t really my jam, and I particularly don’t enjoy baking in the Southern summer. I needed inspiration, so I turned to the miracle of the 21st century, the internet.  I came across a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, from her book actually titled “How Easy Is That?”  Jackpot!

Then I read the ingredient list – mascarpone cheese, espresso powder, special chocolate-chip cookies from New York, only available by mail order. (BTW, now you can find these cookies in local supermarkets.)

"Make-Do" Mocha Chocolate Chip Icebox Cake


When I mentioned the South, did I mention I am in the rural South? A very small town of only about 8,000 (and about 3,000 of those are guests of the State doing their time at the penitentary on the outskirts of town.)

So where I live, the shopping is tricky. There aren’t many gourmet or special ingredients in our little burg.  But as I looked closer, I thought, “I’ll just make-do.”

Another internet search guided me to a substitute for the mascarpone, really just an Italian cream cheese and exchanged inexpensive “value brand” cookies for the crisp, expensive mail order variety.  A few other tweaks and I got a dessert that got raves.  How easy is that!

What Is An Icebox Cake?

In its simplest form, an ice box cake is a layered dessert of crispy cookies and fluffy whipped cream. After assembling, you let the cake “sit” in the refrigerator for 6 – 8 hours before serving.

chocolate chip cookies
Icebox Cake

After that, it is no longer an ice cream cake without the ice cream – it changes into something truly delightful and complex when placed in the fridge to firm up, as the cookies absorb the cream, softening into something downright caky and luscious.

The icebox cake is a no-bake confection that needs literally no cooking or baking, and yet it yields what you would swear are slices of tender cake layers, filled with airy whipped cream.

moisture from the cream mixture causes the cookies to become soft, like cake.

Layers of cookies, graham crackers or sponge cake can be layered with the whipped cream and put in the icebox (nee, refrigerator) for several hours. The moisture from the cream mixture causes the cookies to become soft, like cake.  

The whipped cream can be plain or flavored. Many are flavored with fruit, coffee, chocolate or caramel. 

How Long Does It Take to Make an Ice Box Cake?

chocolate chip cookies

“Make Do” Mocha Chocolate Chip Icebox Cake


  • 1 8- ounce package cream cheese softened
  • 1 pint plus 1/3 cup cold heavy whipping cream divided use
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • ½ cup sugar I used sugar substitute – Splenda
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips melted
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 14- ounce package chocolate chip cookies the dry kind, not chewy
  • 1 chocolate candy bar
  • 1/4 cup toffee bits


  • First, a little prep work.  Put chocolate bar, bowl and beaters for the cream in the freezer.  Dissolve instant coffee with a couple of tablespoons of cream.  Set aside.
  • Beat softened cream cheese with ¼ cup heavy cream and sour cream until completely smooth.  Add dissolved coffee, melted chocolate chips and vanilla, beat until well combined.  Set aside.  Add cold cream to cold bowl and beat cream until it thickens and peaks form.  Add sugar (or sugar substitute for baking that measures equally, like Splenda) and mix until combined.  Add cheese mixture to cream and mix until well combined.
  • To assemble the cake, cover the bottom of an 8 inch springform pan with chocolate chips cookies, breaking a few to cover as well as you can.  Spread 1/3 of the mocha filling over the cookies evenly.  Continue layering cookies, lying flat and touching sides, followed by mocha filling twice more.  Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 hours to overnight (recommended).
  • Before serving, use a vegetable peeler make chocolate shavings from the frozen candy bar for garnish.  Run a small sharp knife around the edge to remove the sides of the springform pan.

How long does an icebox cake need to be refrigerated?

After it is assembled, you should refrigerate the ice box cake for at least 6 hours.

After it is served for the first time, you can keep an icebox cake last 2-3 days stored in the refrigerator, or until you eat every last bite!
icebox cake need to be refrigerated

1 thought on ““Make-Do” Mocha Chocolate Chip Icebox Cake”

  • 5 stars
    Looks like and easy cake to make to cool one down in the summer. I like that you’ve found a way to sub ingredients that are not available to cheaper one that still make this ice box cake work. Love it.

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