Chocolate Icebox Cake


Chocolate is the best way to end a summer celebration.

Chocolate Icebox Cake
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Ruth Blackburn; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke
Active Time:
35 mins
Cool Time:
10 mins
Chill Time:
12 hrs
Total Time:
12 hrs 45 mins

During the summertime, you'll be hard-pressed to convince us to turn on our ovens. It's already warm enough outside, for goodness sake! This recipe for Chocolate Icebox Cake, which comes from our beloved Southern Living Party Cookbook, is the simple dessert that you'll make again and again throughout sweltering Southern summers.

Sure, you could arrange a platter of fresh fruit as the finale for your barbecue, but this Chocolate Icebox Cake is really something special. Icebox cakes require no baking whatsoever, making them perfect for the summer heat. This dessert is composed of layered ladyfingers, silky chocolate mousse, and sliced almonds. The chocolate mouse is fluffy, light, and airy, with richness from tempered egg yolks. The lady fingers in the middle layer soften slightly, while the bottom layer holds onto a little crunch. The almond extract comes through in the mousse, giving the chocolate an almost cherry-like flavor.

Like all icebox desserts, the cake must be assembled ahead of time. The cake can be chilled for up to one day, but it's best to top it with the whipped cream just before serving. Try this recipe and be prepared to share the recipe with all of your guests.


  • 1 (4 oz.) 100% cacao unsweetened chocolate baking bar, roughly chopped

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan

  • 6 large pasteurized eggs, separated, at room temperature

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ½ teaspoon almond extract

  • 2 ½ cups heavy whipping cream, divided

  • 1 (7-oz.) pkg. crisp ladyfingers

  • 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted, plus more for garnish

  • Unsweetened cocoa for dusting


  1. Fill a small saucepan with water to a depth of 1 inch, and bring to a simmer over medium. Combine chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl; set bowl over pan of water, ensuring bottom of bowl doesn't touch water. Heat, stirring often, until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

  2. Vigorously whisk together egg yolks, kosher salt, and ¼ cup of the granulated sugar in a large bowl until pale and thickened, about 3 minutes. Gradually stream in cooled chocolate mixture, whisking constantly until well combined. Whisk in vanilla and almond extracts. Set aside.

  3. Beat egg whites with a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium speed until frothy, about 45 seconds. With mixer running on medium speed, gradually add ¼ cup of the sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Gently fold egg white mixture into chocolate mixture in 3 additions.

  4. Beat 1 cup of the heavy whipping cream with stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes. Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture.

  5. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter. Arrange half of ladyfingers in a single layer on bottom of pan, breaking cookies as needed. Spread half of chocolate mixture (about 3½ cups) in an even layer on top of cookies. Sprinkle with ½ cup sliced almonds. Repeat layering with remaining ladyfingers, chocolate mixture, and ½ cup almonds. Cover and chill overnight, about 12 hours.

  6. Just before serving, beat remaining 1½ cups whipping cream with stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment on medium-high speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes.

  7. Run a small offset spatula around edges of pan to loosen. Remove sides of pan, and smooth sides of cake with spatula. Top cake with whipped cream; spread in an even layer. Dust lightly with cocoa, and garnish with additional toasted sliced almonds.

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