Make a beautiful cake without the oven with our gluten free icebox cake! This is a perfect dessert to make in the summer, and we decorated ours with fruit for the 4th of July. Our version of this vintage dessert is gluten free and dairy free.
If you want to make an easy and fun dessert for summer parties without having to turn on your oven, you’ve got to try our gluten free and dairy free icebox cake!
This dessert is inspired by a vintage classic (kind of like a trifle) and it’s a fun dessert you can make with your kids as well since it’s super simple and only takes a few minutes to put together.
We decorated our icebox cake in a red, white, and blue theme for the fourth of July, but you can decorate this “cake” any way that you like to fit different holidays or themes!
- Gluten free
- Dairy free
- Contains eggs
- Peanut free
- Soy free (depending on the whipped cream you choose)
What is an icebox cake?
Icebox cakes were created in the 1930’s in America as part of marketing efforts for companies selling the icebox as a home appliance. Companies whose products were often used in icebox cakes (like wafer cookies) started adding recipes for them on the back of their product packaging and the recipe quickly became popular.
You’ll see these vintage cake-inspired desserts around the world with different names and flavor variations, like Mango Float in the Philippines, biscuit cake in the UK, and Chocolate Ripple Cake in Australia.
I really had never heard of an icebox cake before until just recently. I think I may have seen it before in old cookbooks as a kid, but never paid attention to it as a something that would be fun to make for our website until a few weeks ago. I saw it online and knew I had to make a version our family could have!
How to make gluten free icebox cake
Making an icebox cake is super easy and you don’t have to turn on your oven. Our version only uses 4 ingredients.
Here are the steps to make a gluten free and dairy free icebox cake. This is just an overview of the steps, the full recipe is at the end of the post!
- Spread a thin layer of dairy free whipped cream over the bottom of an 8×8-inch glass pan.
- Place the gluten free vanilla wafer cookies over the whipped cream in a single layer.
- Spread half the remaining whipped cream over the cookies, covering them completely.
- Arrange another single layer of cookies on top of the whipped cream.
- Spread the remaining whipped cream on top of the cookies.
- Slice your strawberries and arrange the strawberries and blueberries on top of the whipped cream. We created stripes for a 4th of July type design, but you can arrange them however you prefer!
- Cover and chill in the fridge overnight.
- Serve chilled.
The cookies in our cake don’t soften a ton, so they are still firm and the cookies won’t get soggy!
Variations for our dairy free icebox cake
One of the ways we made our icebox cake was by putting the fruit inside the layers vs. just adding them on top at the end. Both ways are great! If you want to have more fruit inside, you can add a layer of fruit between the cookie layers, but you might need a little more dairy free whipped cream between layers.
We created an American flag style for our icebox cake, but you can use just about any kind of fruit if you want (or not fruit at all) to create different colors and patterns!
Sliced mango or peaches and raspberries would also be a beautiful way to decorate your wafer cake.
Dairy free whipped cream
For our dairy free whipped cream, we used the So Delicious CocoWhip which is our favorite dairy free whipped cream because it’s so yummy and it’s also soy free.
You can use other brands of dairy free whipped cream in this recipe though. We also made this recipe using the Silk heavy cream that we whipped up with some vanilla and powdered sugar and it was great.
I would avoid using the canned whipped cream (like the dairy free Reddi-wip) since there isn’t much in the can compared to the container and it tends to deflate pretty quickly after you spray it.
Gluten free vanilla wafer cookies
At the time of writing this, I only know of one brand of gluten free cookie that’s a close alternative to Nilla Wafers, the Kinnikinnick vanilla wafer cookies. These are a pretty good alternative to Nilla Wafers and they are also dairy free and nut free, but they do contain eggs.
Some brands make gluten free and vegan vanilla cookies, but they are a bit thicker than Nilla Wafers and may not absorb the moisture as well.
If you can’t find these Kinnikinnick cookies, you can try making our allergy friendly sugar cookies and make them into small 1.5 inch circles. They won’t be quite as crisp and airy as the Kinnikinnick ones, but should still work great in this recipe.
Check out our other no bake desserts!
Gluten Free Icebox Cake (Dairy Free)
- 1 box (6 ounces) Kinnikinnick gluten free vanilla wafer cookies*
- 1 container (9 ounces) SoDelicious CocoWhip (or other dairy free whipped cream)
- 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- Spread a thin layer of dairy free whipped cream on the bottom of a glass 8×8-inch baking dish.
- Place a single layer of gluten free wafer cookies on the whipped cream until it's mostly covered. Depending on your pan and the size of your cookies, this might be 12 to 16 cookies.
- Spread half the remaining whipped cream over the cookie layer, completely covering them.
- Arrange another single layer of cookies on the whipped cream.
- Spread the rest of the whipped cream on top of the cookies.
- Arrange sliced strawberries and blueberries in a pattern on top as you like. We did a stripe pattern, but you can arrange them how you like!
- Cover and refrigerate overnight to soften the cookies.
- Serve chilled.
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist