Monday, June 22, 2009

Daddy's Chocolate Icebox Cake

It dawned on me yesterday that I haven't shared a recipe in ages!! (At one point, I intended to make that a weekly feature.) After telling you about my Dad last night, I thought I'd share one of his favorite desserts. (No, it doesn't contain peanut butter!)


This is a great summer recipe as there's no oven involved!

This was one of the first things I learned to make as a child since it involves no real cooking and makes for a great kid’s project. I was always led to believe it was Daddy’s favorite. Since I had never seen this served anywhere other than at my Gran’s or at our house, I assumed it was invented by Mom or Gran. Until two years ago when I was looking at a cookbook put out by the D.C. Blues Society and actually found a version had been submitted by Ann Rabson, one of my favorite performers. She’s definitely not a member of the family and not from this area so maybe it wasn’t a family original !!!

*** This has to be refrigerated for several hours before serving, so plan ahead !

1 box Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
1 container of Cool Whip or real whipped cream
A large tray or cookie sheet that will sit flat in the refrigerator.

*Holding a wafer in one hand, spread the whipped cream and put a layer on one side of the wafer. In deciding how much to use, remember you want to use enough to have an eighth to a quarter-inch layer between the wafers, plus enough at the end to cover the whole thing. Place a new wafer on the iced side of the last one and ice the other side. Sit this “wafer sandwich” flat on the tray and work on that surface from then on. Repeat icing wafers and stacking them next to the previous wafer, until you run out of wafers. It will sort of resemble a train.

*Cover the entire train of wafers with the whipped cream just as if you were icing a long, rectangular cake. You can sprinkle the top with chocolate or colored jimmies or add a maraschino cherry or two for decoration.

*Cover the cake and put it into the refrigerator for at least 5 hours. (The cookies soften while it chills.)

*To serve, take it out and cut into slices. Gran used to slice this on a diagonal so that each slice had pretty stripes. Mom used to just slice across most times (which is MUCH easier!)

This is VERY sweet, so small slices work best !

*** Ann Rabson’s version differed in that she calls hers a Crawling King Caterpillar and arranges it with a curve or two, like a caterpillar. She grates a little bitter chocolate over it and adds walnuts to the finished product.

Not long after discovering Ann's version, I also heard of someone else again making a similar dessert! A Martha Stewart Show viewer sent photos of a Radiator Cake from the ‘50s. They made it with whipped cream and graham crackers instead of chocolate wafers. As a variation, they suggested adding chocolate syrup to the whipped cream! An audience member stated the Radiator Cake she recalled from childhood was made with chocolate pudding between the crackers and iced in whipped cream.

I did a little research and found that Nabisco actually printed the original recipe on the cookie wrapper in the 1930s. I have also found pictures of the same idea made in a round cake pan, stacking the cookies with layers of whipped cream between them and drizzling the top with chocolate syrup. Pictures of that version can be found here along with a variety of other variations, including mixing a little Bailey's Irish Creme into the whipped cream for an adult flavor!

And to think, all these years, I believed this was a family original !

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