Make Ahead

Spiced Dulce de Leche Banana Icebox Cake

May 31, 2013
Photo by James Ransom
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

  • Serves 8
  • 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
In This Recipe
  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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