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Chocolate-Espresso Ice Box Cake

  • Author: Alexandra
  • Total Time: 12 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12


Source: Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?

The Original recipe calls for Tate’s Bakeshop chocolate chip cookies, which I’m sure are delicious, but if you can’t find them, Famous Chocolate Wafers work like a charm.

Original recipe also calls for 5 layers of cookies — probably because the Tate’s choc chip cookies are big, so you need fewer per layer. I ran out of steam—so lazy!—after making 3 layers of cookies, but do as you wish. Four layers of wafers probably would have been fine, but I think 5 would have been too many. I don’t think you can mess this kind of thing up. Also, original recipe called for coffee liqueur, which I’m sure would be delicious, but I didn’t have any, so I used brewed espresso instead, which I made with my Nespresso Pixie, which, by the way, I love. Such a luxury, but really great.

If you don’t want to use booze and don’t have a Nespresso, you could use instant espresso with 1/4 cup boiling water or strong coffee. If you want to use both coffee liqueur and espresso, you can use 1/4 cup liqueur and 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder. This meyer lemon variation looks fantastic, too.


  • 2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup espresso, cooled, or 1/4 cup coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua, see notes above
  • 2 9-oz boxes Famous Chocolate Wafers, see notes above, I used 1.5 boxes
  • semisweet chocolate, for garnish


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and cooled espresso. Mix on low speed to combine, then slowly raise the speed, until it forms firm peaks.
  2. To assemble the cake, arrange the cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan (I lined it with parchment paper, probably unnecessary) covering the bottom as much as possible — see photos for reference. Spread 1/3 to 1/4 of the mocha whipped cream evenly over the cookies. Place another layer of cookies on top, lying flat and touching, followed by another layer of cream. Continue layering cookies and cream until there are 3 to 4 layers of each, ending with a layer of cream. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight or for 12 hours.
  3. Run a small sharp knife around the outside of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Shave chocolate over the top of the cake using a microplane or a peeler. Cut in wedges, and serve cold.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 hours