5 Ingredients or Fewer

Banana Pudding Icebox Cake

June 25, 2018
12 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 12 hours 30 minutes
  • Makes 1 icebox cake
Author Notes

Banana pudding gets icebox cake–ified, becoming a no-bake, no-cook dessert to keep on hand all summer long. —Emma Laperruque

Test Kitchen Notes

This is one of our Big Little Recipes. Read more here: 4-Ingredient Banana Icebox Cake to Make You Forget Your Oven & Stove —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Banana Pudding Icebox Cake
  • 2/3 cup malted milk powder
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced (about as thick as the wafers)
  • 7 ounces vanilla wafers
  1. Line a 8 1/2- by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with plastic, so there’s a fair amount of overhang.
  2. Add the malted milk powder and salt to a bowl. Add a splash of cream and whisk. Add another splash of cream and whisk. Continue this until you’ve added all the cream. (This ensures that the malted milk powder gets evenly distributed and doesn’t get all lumpy and weird.) Continue to whip the cream until stiff peaks form. (A balloon or cage whisk helps, if you have one.)
  3. Add a single layer of wafers to the bottom of the loaf pan. Top with a layer of whipped cream. Add a single layer of bananas. Top with a layer of whipped cream. Repeat this until you’ve used all the cream—making sure to end with the cream. If it starts to rise above the loaf pan, that’s fine! Even good. Fold the extra plastic over the icebox cake. If it doesn’t completely cover the surface, add more plastic wrap.
  4. Chill in the fridge for at least 12 hours or up to 36.
  5. To unmold, peel away the plastic from the top. Carefully—but confidently—turn the loaf pan onto a plate or serving platter. Peel away the plastic. Slice into thick slabs and eat cold.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • stephanie
  • epicharis
  • Mary P. Brown
    Mary P. Brown
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

35 Reviews

AddictedToDessert August 30, 2023
To get a stronger banana flavor can you ad a smashed banana to the whipped cream?
Also what can you as a replacement for the malt powder?
Elizabeth August 30, 2023
You can! I bet it has a great creamy texture, too. You could also use a few drops of natural banana flavoring.


And I don't think there is a replacement for malt powder. You could simply do without it, but it contributes a nice nutty rich malty flavor. It's a good thing to have in your fridge/pantry, if you like dessert at all. Put it on lots of things!
stephanie August 26, 2023
Wow - this was such a disappointment. Soupy, weirdly flavored and lacking any of the classic banana pudding flavors you might expect from this combination of ingredients. Do yourself a favor and use the recipe on the back of the Nilla Wafers box.
epicharis July 5, 2019
An absolute knockout of a recipe, where the outcome is wildly disproportionate to the effort involved. This was the smash hit of our July 4th despite taking 5 ingredients we already had on hand and like 15 minutes the night before. Thanks to this I'm going to experiment with more malted milk powder and whipping cream!
Joyce I. September 20, 2018
Oh. Wow. Tremendous. I earned MAJOR wife points with this. The malt infused cream is the adult version of a childhood favorite. I added a teaspoon of vanilla to the cream at a reviewer's suggestion. Do it. Let the cake "meld" 24 hours in the fridge.

In the interest of those of us who are Sheldon-esque, the 7 ounces of Nilla Wafers is neither meaningful nor accurate. Like me, you will want to know you need 15 wafers for each of the 4 layers = 60 wafers for this luscious creation.

Don't be skimpy slicing the bananas. It is easy to build this above the pan. I used two pieces plastic wrap (each direction) to fold over the confection.

Really, really wonderful. I recommend with 5 stars.
Emma L. September 21, 2018
Yay! So glad you (and your wife!) enjoyed.
Barb September 19, 2018
For the simple minded here... the pan called for is 81/2 X 4 1/2....
What is depth?
Emma L. September 19, 2018
Hi Barb—great Q! The standard depth for this pan size is 2 1/2 inches.
Irene September 8, 2018
What keeps the bananas from turning brown and ugly, like mine do in banana pudding? I use a firm banana, not too ripe.
Emma L. September 11, 2018
Because they're covered in whipped cream, I didn't have any issues with significant browning. Using a not-too-ripe banana can help. And if you want to take an extra precaution, you can toss the banana slices in some lemon or orange juice, too.
Irene September 11, 2018
Mine are always completely covered with pudding or cream. But I’ll try the orange juice trick. Lemon juice is too distracting to the taste. Thanks!
Mary P. July 29, 2018
This was very good, though I did accidentally use chocolate malt rather than the original and it didn't slice nicely as pictured above. I let it sit in the fridge for the extended time and it still didn't slice - it smooshed when the knife tried to go through. So I gave up and served it like a trifle.
Amanda August 22, 2018
They don't make it very clear, but it should be placed in the freezer.
Emma L. August 22, 2018
Hi Amanda—it actually should go in the fridge, not the freezer. I'll add this to the recipe instructions to clarify!
KIMBERLY S. July 17, 2018
I cant find the malt can I use something else for that part?
Emma L. July 17, 2018
Hi Kimberly! Copying a reply from the accompanying article: This is a flexible recipe, so there's a lot of room to play around. You could mix in espresso powder and confectioners' sugar. Or cocoa powder and confectioners' sugar. Or even a nut/seed butter like tahini. All to taste! I'd start with a couple tablespoons or so, depending on the ingredient, and add bit by bit. Hope this helps!
Suzanne July 13, 2018
How would different fruits work in this recipe? Thinking berries, stone fruits?
Emma L. July 15, 2018
Though I haven't tried another fruit with this recipe, icebox cakes are so forgiving, I'm hopeful it would turn out well. I bet that tart blackberries would be super good!
Sher August 14, 2018
That sounds delish! I love Blackberry anything! Did you try this? I saw a Blackberry Icebox Cake on MSN but haven't tried it yet.
Lexica July 5, 2018
Due to a grocery-related miscommunication I started making this before realizing that oops! we didn't have any malt powder. I substituted peanut butter instead, and it still turned out delicious.
Emma L. July 8, 2018
Yum! Sounds like a happy accident to me :)
susi C. July 3, 2018
Can I make this in a bigger pan and double the recipe?
Emma L. July 5, 2018
Sure! Here's a great article from our contributor Alice Medrich on how to adapt recipes to different pan sizes: https://food52.com/blog/13239-how-to-make-your-baking-recipe-fit-your-pan-size
Kenneth B. July 1, 2018
Having made it I think it might benefit from the addition of vanilla extract to the whipped cream.
Betty M. April 3, 2021
And some powdered sugar. This was not a favorite.
Abananie June 30, 2018
Where would I find malted milk powder?
Kenneth B. July 1, 2018
I found Carnation brand at Walmart - next to the Ovaltine and Nesquik on the coffee and tea aisle.
Bee June 30, 2018
I just made the pudding. It's to die for. Thanks it's a keeper. I used Trader Joe's coconut cream n coconut milk. It's so easy n delicious. 😋
Blaine June 28, 2018
Dumb question.....freezer or fridge?
Emma L. June 28, 2018
Never a dumb question! Fridge :)
Valhalla June 28, 2018
Could you explain the use of the malted milk powder? If it just for taste, or does it facilitate thickening, etc.?
Emma L. June 28, 2018
Great Q! It does add more body to the whipped cream—its primary ingredients are wheat flour and malted barley extracts. But in this case, we're using it primarily for flavor, much like when people add a spoonful to a milkshake.
Valhalla June 28, 2018
Thanks, of course I saw the link right after I asked. Can't wait to try this--icebox cakes are better than cakes or ice cream!
Elizabeth June 27, 2018
How necessary is it to chill for 12 hours? What if I have, say...8 or 9 hours?
Emma L. June 27, 2018
Hi! The wafers would just be a little crisper, but if that doesn't bother you, then go for it!