Spiced Dulce de Leche Banana Icebox Cake

By • May 31, 2013 20 Comments

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Author Notes: I never tire of the fun of making an icebox cake. As a kid, I would often make them with my mom, getting them in the freezer in the afternoon so that they would be ready after dinner. It is an indulgence I was excited to pass down to my daughter, and I wanted to upgrade it a bit. The chocolate wafers were a must, but I decided to stir some dulce de leche into the whipped cream and layer in some bananas. I had long wanted to try making dulce de leche in a slow cooker, and it worked really well. It seemed silly to make only enough for this recipe, so there will be leftovers, which is hardly tragic. You can also use a jar of dulce de leche instead of making your own. savorthis

Food52 Review: WHO: We think about savorthis’s Ooey Gooey Toasted Cheese at least once a day.
WHAT: Everything an icebox cake should be, plus a little something-something.
HOW: Make dulce de leche in a slow cooker (or pick up a jar at the store) and whip it into cream. Then, arrange the cookies, paint huge swaths of caramelly whipped cream over top (and throw a few banana slices in the mix, too), and stick your creation in the freezer. When it’s firm, invite friends over for a celebration. A cake celebration.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Our old favorite has gussied herself up with dulce de leche and bananas and now she’s ready to party. This fancified icebox cake is ready for your weeknight celebrations. The hardest part will be inventing reasons to party (and that’s not hard at all).
The Editors

Serves 8

For the spiced dulce de leche:

  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  1. Mix milk with spices and pour into three 8-ounce canning jars. Gently secure the lids, put in a slow cooker, and fill with hot water so that the water level is even with the top of the milk in the jars. Cook for about 6 hours on low, until milk has browned. Tighten lids and put in fridge.

For the icebox cake:

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces dulce de leche
  • 1 box chocolate wafers (like Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers)
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  1. Whip cream with vanilla and salt just until stiff peaks form. Drizzle in dulce de leche and mix until incorporated. Layer cookies, whipped cream, and banana slices. (I chose to expose the edges of the cookies à la Smitten Kitchen for a mix of crunch and soft cookie.) Put the cake in the freezer until firm, then let it sit on the counter about 10 minutes before serving.
  2. Editors' note: We layered the cookies and the whipped cream by using 6 wafers for each layer, arranging them in the shape of a flower or a spoke, with one cookie at the center and 5 surrounding. We topped this with whipped cream, then put on a new layer of cookies, alternating with the layer below.
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Comments (20) Questions (0)


4 days ago savorthis

You can definitely make it ahead but I wonder if, because of the bananas, you'd want to throw it the freezer right away and then let it thaw a bit in the fridge before you serve it. Or tuck the bananas so they are not exposed to any air.


5 days ago Suzy

Looks amazing and easy - love! How far in advance can I make this cake? Would two days before be too long to sit before serving?
Also, would it be okay to store in the fridge rather than freezer?


15 days ago pamseif

The cook in our sorority used to make this will nilla wafers and no spices It was fantanabulous and I have been looking for a recipe for this forever. I graduated awhile ago :)


9 months ago Berenice

If I leave it in the freezer for 3 hours is that enough? It's my first time making an icebox cake, I can't tell if it's firm enough yet


12 months ago MrsK

Oh, goodness! I've got to try this recipe. I was wondering how it would look if instead of completely incorporating the dulce de leche, you'd leave a few sticks unmixed... Might be a pretty effect.


12 months ago Donna Barstow

Just the category, icebox cake, makes me feel like it's going to be a good summer.


over 1 year ago [email protected]

OK...I'm new at this. Could you please explain 2 things for me? One, what is Dulce De Leche and how is it pronounced, and 2, do you still put it in the fridge overnight like the cookies and cream? I'm guessing that the Dulce De Leche really softens the cookies and that's why you freeze it but I need to be positive. Thank you so much for this excellent sounding recipe!


over 1 year ago savorthis

It is a caramelized sweet milk or "milk candy." There are many different versions of it, but the pronunciation I am familiar with is similar to DOOL-seh deh LEH-tcheh (though people also say DUL chay which is probably not correct). You can actually buy cans and jars of it already made at many grocery stores, but it is not hard to make yourself. I chose the freezer because I like those cakes a little firmer. The dulce itself does not make a big difference so you can easily put it in the fridge. One other benefit of the freezer is you can take it out for your company to admire a bit before serving and it will be just right.


about 2 years ago Angel At Large

We can buy a cans of a sort of ready made dulce de leche here, so my question is would it be possible to just stir the spices through or would it be necessary to cook it from scratch to infuse the flavours? thanks. I'm a bit nervous about boiling it in jars. :)


about 2 years ago savorthis

Oh that would be fine and if you were up for it, toasting and grinding the whole spices could only improve either method.


about 2 years ago Angel At Large

Brilliant thanks!


about 2 years ago Lauren Hendrick

Mercy mercy... this looks fantastic! Can't wait to make it.


about 2 years ago Amanda Faison

Made this tonight--it was fantastic. And easy! I used thin gingersnaps instead of chocolate waffers and I thought the cookies played well off the cardamom and cinnamon. I can see all kinds of variations working (like peaches or plums instead of bananas). I've added this recipe to my go-to file. Can't wait to make it again.


about 2 years ago savorthis

Thanks Amanda! Gingersnaps sound great and would be great with peaches (patiently waiting for the Palisades...)


about 2 years ago wutsfasupa

Approximately how many gingersnaps? Thank you.


about 2 years ago EmilyC

This looks great for both kids and adults! Yum!


about 2 years ago savorthis

Thanks.....definitely decadent!


about 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This looks and sounds amazing, Love the slow cook method for the dulce de leche.


about 2 years ago meganvt01

This looks fantastic!