3 Ingredient Icebox Cake (Dairy-Free + Gluten-Free)
Published May 22, 2019, Updated Jul 05, 2023
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An upgraded 3-ingredient icebox cake with gluten-free cookies and dairy-free coconut whipped cream. It’s cool, creamy and perfect for summer cookouts and parties. Gluten-free and vegan.
I’ve been wanting to share an icebox cake recipe with you for awhile… I figured now was the perfect time so that you can bring this delicious dessert to your Memorial Day cookouts!
The first time I ever heard about icebox cakes was from Maria a few years ago. She was raving about Ina Garden’s Mocha Icebox Cake (made with Tate’s cookies) and mentioned that she makes it for her sister’s birthday each year.
I’ve never been a huge regular cake person and have always enjoyed ice cream cakes and cookie cakes more, so the idea of an icebox cake, which is kind of a hybrid of both, immediately piqued my interest. I had to try the recipe for myself so I made Ina’s cake for a Labor Day party and it was a HUGE hit. Ever since I’ve been wanting to make a healthier icebox cake.
Old Fashioned Icebox Cake
Classic icebox cakes, like Ina’s, are loaded with heavy ingredients. Traditionally, they’ll have things like vanilla pudding mix, heavy cream or whipped cream, a layer of graham crackers and sometimes even cream cheese. You can imagine how rich and delicious it is!
I love layered desserts, and although the ingredients in traditional versions of this cake aren’t exactly EBF friendly, I knew I could create an upgraded version.
Healthy Icebox Cake Swaps
For this icebox cake, we’re keeping things super easy with only three simple ingredients:
- Coconut whipped cream – You can totally make your own if you’d like, but to keep things simple I recommend buying the frozen So Delicious brand coconut whipped topping (I find it at our local Whole Foods). Coconut whipped topping doesn’t have hydrogenated oil or high fructose corn syrup like regular Cool Whip and it also keeps this icebox cake dairy-free.
- Gluten-free + vegan cookies – I opted for dairy-free and gluten-free chocolate chips cookies to make this cake a tad healthier and enjoyable for almost all dietary preferences. I used the Simple Mills brand crunchy chocolate chip cookies.
- Dairy-free chocolate chips – Keeping with the dairy-free theme, I used dairy-free chocolate chips from EnjoyLife. You could also use Lily’s stevia-sweetened chocolate chips if dairy isn’t a concern and you want the recipe to have less sugar.
How to Make an Icebox Cake
It’s soooo simple! The basic idea is to layer cookies and whipped cream in a springform pan, on a platter or in a baking dish.
I layered Simple Mills chocolate chip cookies and coconut whipped topping. Top with vegan chocolate chips and cookie crumbs and then chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours (or overnight). Trust me, waiting the six hours is the hardest part of this recipe. The cookies absorb some of the whipped topping and soften… almost cake-like. So good!
Equipment Needed for an Icebox Cake
The only special equipment needed for an icebox cake is a springform pan, and technically it’s only really needed if you want the cake to look uniform and tidy. Otherwise, you can use a plate/platter, a square or rectangular baking dish or even a bowl to layer your cookies and whipped topping. So don’t stress if you don’t have a springform pan – just opt for a different container.
More Cake Recipes to Try
- Grandma Miller’s Pound Cake
- Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cake
- Healthy Birthday Cake
- Vegan Coffee Cake
- Flourless Chocolate Cake
Be sure to check out my full collection of dessert recipes here on EBF!
Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Icebox Cake
- 2 boxes Simple Mills Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies, save 2 for topping
- 9 oz about 3 cups dairy-free coconut whipped topping
- 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
- 8- inch springform pan, if you don’t have one you can use a plate
- Place a single layer of chocolate chip cookies into the base of your springform pan.
- Spread 1 1/2 cups of whipped topping over cookies. Add another layer of cookies and spread on remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle chocolate chips and cookie crumbs on top.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. Cake can be made 1 day ahead.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.