Make Ahead

Spiced Dulce de Leche Banana Icebox Cake

May 31, 2013
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 8
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • For the spiced dulce de leche:
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 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. For the spiced dulce de leche:
  2. 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.
  1. For the icebox cake:
  2. 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.
  3. 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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  • savorthis
  • Suzy
  • Berenice
  • Emilia Rosa
    Emilia Rosa
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    Donna Barstow
Co-Owner/Designer @ Where Wood Meets Steel-Custom Furniture

21 Reviews

meme S. January 25, 2018

For Passover au lieu of using *chocolate wafers* I used slices banana dipped in melted "kosher chocolate". It turned out soooooo goooooo! MUST TRY!
Pearla January 26, 2016
Anyone know of a recipe for the chocolate wafers to bake at home? I can't think of a shop-bought alternative in England
savorthis July 30, 2015
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.
Suzy July 30, 2015
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?
pamseif July 19, 2015
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 :)
Berenice October 25, 2014
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
Emilia R. August 12, 2014
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.
Donna B. August 7, 2014
Just the category, icebox cake, makes me feel like it's going to be a good summer.
[email protected] November 7, 2013
Thank you so much for the help....I love to make chocolates and I'm always open to new things. I will be trying it this weekend! Thanks again!
[email protected] November 7, 2013
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!
savorthis November 7, 2013
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.
Angel A. July 3, 2013
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. :)
savorthis July 3, 2013
Oh that would be fine and if you were up for it, toasting and grinding the whole spices could only improve either method.
Angel A. July 3, 2013
Brilliant thanks!
Lauren H. June 12, 2013
Mercy mercy... this looks fantastic! Can't wait to make it.
Amanda F. June 12, 2013
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.
savorthis June 12, 2013
Thanks Amanda! Gingersnaps sound great and would be great with peaches (patiently waiting for the Palisades...)
wutsfasupa July 3, 2013
Approximately how many gingersnaps? Thank you.
EmilyC June 4, 2013
This looks great for both kids and adults! Yum!
savorthis June 2, 2013
Thanks.....definitely decadent!
meganvt01 May 31, 2013
This looks fantastic!