4.60 from 5 votes

Chocolate Icebox Cake with Caramel Cream

A close-up of host Zoe Francois' icebox cake.

I made this chocolate icebox cake with homemade wafer cookies and caramel cream in the middle of summer for season 3 episode 6 of Zoë Bakes! It’s hilarious that it just so happens to be available for streaming today, in the middle of a Minnesota blizzard with dangerous wind chills and after 8 inches of snowfall! Nevertheless it’s a fabulous dessert that I know you’ll love in any weather.

Be sure to check out the other recipe from this episode: grapefruit posset!

Season 3, Episode 6: Icebox Cake

Zoë’s mom is in town during a Minnesota summer scorcher. To help them stay cool, Zoë makes an icebox cake with homemade chocolate wafers and caramel cream, and a refreshing no-bake British dessert called a posset topped with tropical fruit.

Frequently Asked Question

Some people have let me know that when they made this recipe their dough was crumbly. I re-tested the recipe both with 1/2 cup of butter and with 3/4 cup of butter (some of you noticed 1 1/2 sticks butter in the mise en place on the show!). Both work, but I prefer the 1/2 cup recipe because the cookies are smoother and prettier. Here are some suggestions if your cookie dough is crumbly:

  • This may happen for those people who don’t use a scale to measure ingredients. It’s likely they end up putting in too much flour. I always recommend using a kitchen scale for best results.
  • I used Softasilk brand cake flour. King Arthur unbleached may have more protein, which would result in a dry dough.
  • If it crumbles after chilling, when slicing, let the dough warm up slightly so it isn’t so brittle.
  • Use a thin, sharp knife to cut. A thick blade will tend to crack the dough as it moves through.
A close-up of host Zoe Francois' icebox cake.

Chocolate Icebox Cake with Caramel Cream

4.60 from 5 votes
Active Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 9 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings


Chocolate Wafer Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups (133g) cake flour
  • 1/3 cup (37g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Caramel Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp corn syrup
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup water



  • Chocolate shavings for decorating


Chocolate Wafer Cookies

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla extract. Cream together on medium speed for a minute, then add the flour mixture and mix just until evenly combined.
  • On a sheet of plastic wrap, form the dough into a 1 1/2-inch-thick log. Wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. The cookie dough can be made the day before.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough log into thin rounds, about 1/8-inch-thick. Arrange on the baking sheets and bake for about 8 minutes or until set (they will no longer be shiny). If baking more than one sheet at a time, you may want to rotate the trays back to front and switch from top to bottom racks midway through baking. Let the cookies cool completely. Makes about 75 cookies.

Caramel Whipped Cream

  • In a medium saucepan, put the sugar in a mound in the center of the pan, being sure it doesn’t hit the sides. Gently add the corn syrup and 1/4 cup water, making sure the sugar doesn’t splash up on the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat, without stirring.
  • When the sugar starts to color on the edges, gently stir the sugar until it is quite dark and smokes a bit. Once the caramel is dark, reduce the heat and slowly add half the cream. The caramel will sputter and seize up, which is normal. Gently whisk the caramel until the caramelized sugar dissolves. Add the remaining cream and stir.
  • Pour the caramel cream into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours. This can be made a day ahead.


  • To assemble, line an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the chilled caramel cream until very soft, slouchy peaks form.
  • Coat the bottom of the prepared pan with about a 1/4-inch-thick layer of the cream. Line the outside of the pan with some of the cookies. Spread a layer of the cream on each cookie and layer them together in the pan vertically. You should end up with about 3 rows of cookies and cream. This may vary slightly depending on how large your cookies are. Cover the top with more cream, so the cookies are completely covered. Next add a layer of cookies, this time laying them over the cream horizontally. Add two more layers of cream and cookies, ending with a layer of cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cake for at least 6 hours, but ideally overnight.
  • To make the topping: After the cake has chilled, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until just stiff (do not over beat). Taste and adjust the sweetness to your liking by beating in more sugar.
  • Invert the icebox cake onto a serving platter. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the whipped cream. If desired, pipe a design on the top of the cake using a pastry bag fitted with a rose tip or other piping tip. Top with chocolate shavings. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.


Chocolate wafer cookies adapted from “Zoë Bakes Cookies” by Zoë François © Ten Speed Press 2023. Provided courtesy of Zoë François. All rights reserved.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Want to learn more about the guests on my show and receive exclusive recipes from them? Sign up for my Substack where I feature Q&As with the guests, exclusive recipes, and much more.

Share this post

19 thoughts to “Chocolate Icebox Cake with Caramel Cream”

  1. Does anyone know why this episode was removed from the Magnolia website? I watched it the other day and decided to make it. Today I thought I would review some of the steps and the episode is gone! Episodes listed: 1 2 4 5! Whats up?

  2. Zoe I love you but I’m scared of smoking hot caramel so I’m going to go with the vanilla whipped cream instead…but with your HOMEMADE chocolate wafers!

    1. 4 stars
      Go for it. The smoke is minimal as it is just a reference point. Making this or any caramel requires us to be diligent by posting up by the stove as if we are a soldier on watch duty

    1. Hi Maria! Sorry to hear you’re having trouble with the recipe. There’s no egg missing, but I’d love to figure out what may have gone wrong for you. Was your butter room temperature? And did you measure the dry ingredients in gram or cup measures?

      1. I noted on the episode, Zoe using 1.5 sticks butter possibly instead of 1 stick (1/2 c)? Would that have been why dough is crumbly? I had similar results when making the chocolate dough.

        1. Lynda, thank you so much for sharing this observation. I double checked and it does look like she uses 1.5 sticks of butter in the episode. Zoë is going to test the recipe to make sure it works. Thanks again for letting us know so hopefully this issue doesn’t happen for anyone else!

          1. Alright Lynda, I have an update for you! Zoë retested the recipe both with 1/2 cup butter and 3/4 cup butter. Both worked well for her, with some small differences. With 3/4 cup butter she noticed the cookies spread a bit more and weren’t as smooth/pretty, but they do work. Here are a few suggestions she has for anyone who has had issues with crumbly dough. We’re hoping this will help anyone else who has this issue!

            If it is crumbling when mixing:
            This may happen for those people who don’t use a scale to measure ingredients. It’s likely they end up putting in too much flour.
            Zoë used Softasilk brand cake flour. King Arthur unbleached may have more protein, which would result in a dry dough.
            If it crumbles after chilling, when slicing, let the dough warm up slightly so it isn’t so brittle.
            Use a thin, sharp knife to cut. A thick blade will tend to crack the dough as it moves through.

  3. 4 stars
    Made this for my family this weekend and everyone loved it! I never made an icebox cake and followed the steps as Zoe described per recipe. My chocolate cookie dough was crumbly like another reviewer above. But, I just pressed and rolled dough together in plastic wrap to make my log and it seemed to work alright in the end. Although, I didn’t get 75 cookies…more like 50. The recipe calls for 1/2 c (1 stick) butter and the in the episode I noted Zoe using 1.5 sticks butter? Caramel whipping cream turned out great and I was thrilled the cake was holding together when it was time to invert and release it for the whipped cream topping with chocolate shavings! I chilled it for nearly 20 hours and it was a little soft when slicing for guests but that didn’t stop the yummy reviews! A very nice summer evening dessert with caramel and chocolate flavors blended with the light airy whipping cream! Thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    AWESOME!! Easy to follow, quick you to whip up and(!!!!!) TASTES UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! YUM! GREAT recipe!
    Thank you so much for sharing!
    LOVE the TV show!!!

    1. Hi Sally, Zoe’s log has been about 11 or 12 inches when she’s tested the recipe. I hope this helps!

    1. Hi Mike, Yes it can. Zoe suggests making sure it’s no more than 1/8 of an inch thick, otherwise it will take too long to bake and might burn on the edges. Try to get it as even as possible. Once it looks dry, it is probably pretty close to done. Enjoy!

  5. I, too, used 1/2 cup butter and there’s no way the cookie batter comes together with 1/2 stick even using Softasilk cake flour. I measured everything precisely and could not get the dough to stay together so I had to add additional butter.

    1. Hi Janet, you reference both 1/2 stick and 1/2 cup in your comment. Did you use 1/2 stick by chance? 1/2 stick is actually 1/4 cup so you would need to use a full stick for this recipe. Please let us know! Thank you.

  6. Hi! The caramel cream looks delicious. Do you think it will hold up for a layered cake instead of using buttercream?

    1. Hi Rosanna, this caramel cream doesn’t have a lot of body to it, so you could try whipping it a bit longer so it has more structure. Zoe recommends only using it on a lighter cake like chiffon or some kind of sponge cake. If the cake is denser, then she suggests opting for something different. Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating