An old-fashioned American traditional dessert is icebox cake. It is a cake that “cooks” in the refrigerator by layering crunchy cookies with a heavy cream/cream cheese mixture. The creamy filling softens the cookie and the texture changes from crunchy to cakey over time.
Chocolate Espresso Icebox Cake combines all of the traditional elements of an icebox cake, but with elevated espresso and chocolate ganache flavors. The cookies used are chocolate wafer cookies, which are layered with an espresso-scented cream cheese mixture that is sweet and whipped to perfection.
The cream filling is what flavors the entire cake, so it’s important to make sure that it is delicious. Instant espresso powder is dissolved in milk before adding to a mixture of cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla. This adds the coffee flavor throughout the whole dessert.
You can use any cookies that you like in this icebox cake. Thin, crispy cookies work well in icebox cakes because they absorb a lot of moisture from the cream filling. You can use soft-baked cookies, too. The beautiful thing about icebox cakes is that you can use your favorite ingredients to make your perfect flavor.
Also layered within this cake is a homemade chocolate ganache. Ganache is super easy to make, and the flavor is amazing. Simply combine heavy cream and chopped whole chocolate for the best consistency, heat together in the microwave for 30 seconds, and stir. That’s it!
Icebox cakes are super easy and are perfect for people who like sweets but do not like to bake. They are no-bake desserts! It’s time to bring back icebox cakes because they are not only delicious but super simple to prepare. Just be sure to make it in advance because it takes at least 4 hours for the cake to set up in the fridge.
The toppings on this cake are what make it beautiful, in addition to the layers. Add store-bought chocolate sauce drizzled over the top for decoration and even more chocolate flavor. For crunch, also add some chocolate-covered espresso beans for nice texture contrast.
Serve this icebox cake at a potluck or family gathering. It does require refrigeration so keep that in mind when traveling with this cake. Chocolate and coffee lovers, this amazingly rich Chocolate Espresso Icebox Cake is for you!
For the Ganache:
For the Whipped Cream:
In a small cup, pour in the milk and dissolve the espresso powder. Stir to combine and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy with a hand mixer. Slowly add the espresso mixture, heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Beat for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is thick, creamy, and completely smooth.
Next, make the ganache. Add the chopped chocolate and heavy whipping cream into a bowl and microwave for 20-second intervals, stirring in between, until completely melted. This may take 2-3 bursts in the microwave.
To a clear trifle dish, layer a single layer of cookies into the bottom of the bowl. Top about ⅓ of the espresso cream mixture, then ⅓ of the chocolate ganache, then another layer of cookies. Repeat this sequence until all of the ganache and cream are used.
Finally, make the whipped cream for the top. Whip the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl using a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Top the icebox cake with the whipped cream. Decorate the top with store-bought chocolate sauce and chocolate-covered espresso beans.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but overnight is better. When ready to serve, spoon servings into bowls.