Making Icebox Cake Without Nabisco's Sadly Discontinued Chocolate Wafers

The icebox cake has been around since the days when actual iceboxes were a thing — iceboxes, as you may not recall unless you were a child of the 1920s, were proto-refrigerators where the cooling was provided by an actual block of ice that was changed out whenever the iceman cameth. Icebox cakes of different varieties date back to the 1920s, but the most famous (and Famous) recipe of all came around right at the tail end of that decade. Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers first hit store shelves in 1924 and 5 years later, the manufacturer was already suggesting that these be layered with whipped cream to make what may well be the world's most delicious two-ingredient dessert.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and after 90+ years, Famous Chocolate Wafers are no more. Nabisco quietly dropped them from its cookie lineup earlier this year and fans of the icebox (or if you prefer, the zebra) cake are scrambling around to try to find replacements. While some overachievers will resort to baking their own copycat chocolate wafers, others may feel that doing so defies the whole ethos of an easy-to-make cake that's been made with store-bought cookies for nearly a century. Famous Wafer fans are most likely to be satisfied with an icebox cake made from Oreos as these have a similar dark chocolate cookie component, while the cream filling just blends in with the sweetened whipped cream. Still, there are other alternatives for those inclined to experiment.

Icebox cakes don't always have to be made from chocolate cookies

While the traditional icebox cake is striking in its black-and-white elegance, people have long been tweaking the recipe by mixing in ingredients such as flavoring extracts, nuts, and fruits (we think strawberries are a great addition to an Oreo-based cake). The cookies, too, can be subject to change. For a somewhat less chocolaty cake, Ina Garten uses chocolate chip cookies — store-bought ones, but a "very good" brand, of course. Still, you can venture even further afield and make non-chocolate versions of this cake classic.

One super-simple icebox cake recipe we have up our sleeves involves just three ingredients: strawberries and whipped topping layered between graham crackers. Another recipe sticks to sweetened whipped cream as a filler, as in the Famous Wafer cake, but swaps out that recipe's chocolate cookies for lemon shortbread ones instead. (Aldi's Girl Scout Lemonades knockoffs work particularly well for this purpose). A Mexican icebox cake called carlota de limón makes use of a lemon-flavored filling with a base of Maria cookies, or, if you're feeling experimental, you could even try making a Passover-friendly icebox cake out of matzo. Gingersnaps, plain shortbread cookies, or even saltines could also be pressed into service, or you could put the ice back into icebox cake by stacking up ice cream sandwiches and covering them with a layer of whipped cream as well as a few possible add-ins like sliced bananas or hot fudge sauce before refreezing.