This gorgeous Strawberry Icebox Cake is made with low carb, grain-free chocolate wafer cookies. The ultimate summertime dessert goes keto. THM friendly.
I am going to confess to something of a pet peeve here. You know those recipes that say “only 4 ingredients!”? Those recipes often irritate me. I am not against easy or uncomplicated recipes as a whole, but in many cases, it strikes me as false advertising. I probably wouldn’t have batted an eye at them a few years ago, when I didn’t have to consider my own ingredients so carefully. But now I see that for most of these recipes, there are far more ingredients than actually advertised. Because the ingredients themselves often contain a number of other ingredients. Ingredients that I can’t eat, like sugar and wheat. So when a recipe description says “so easy, only 4 ingredients”, I think to myself “well, so easy for you! If I want to make it, I am going to have to the cookies for that cookie tart crust from scratch!”. The same recipes often bill themselves as “no bake” as well, and that’s only because someone else has done the baking for them, in some factory far away. Again, if I want to make it, I am going to have to turn on the oven and do some baking.
This may seem awfully grumpy of me, and I swear I don’t begrudge my fellow food bloggers and recipe developers the ability to use store bought cookies in their no-bake crusts. It’s just that I come at this from a completely different perspective now. Things I used to take for granted, like store bought cookies and breads, are simply no longer an option. And in so many ways, this is a huge blessing, because the foods I eat and the ingredients I use to make them are far healthier and less processed. But it’s made me a tad more sensitive to the “easy recipe” label, and made me realize that easy isn’t necessarily a good thing. Not if it means the recipe contains ingredients I don’t want my loved ones to consume. If I want to make a comparable recipe, I have to go old school and make the cookies from scratch with my own low carb, gluten-free ingredients. I’m okay with this, but I do have to consider the time and effort involved.
So you won’t see me selling this low carb strawberry icebox cake as “easy, with only a few ingredients”. It wasn’t easy and it contains well over 10 ingredients. But it is most certainly worth the effort, and once the low carb chocolate wafer cookies are baked, it is really is quite easy to throw together. The cookies themselves aren’t overly difficult and can be made a day or two in advance of when you want to serve the cake. It’s an impressive summertime dessert and a great way to showcase strawberries when they are in season. And I guarantee you that your guests won’t be able to distinguish this from the version made with store bought cookies. I served this at a backyard barbecue and every guest gobbled it up and said how fantastic it was and that they wouldn’t have known it was sugar or gluten-free if I hadn’t told them. The empty plates, with every crumb gone, were high-praise indeed. I am insanely proud of this one!
Low Carb Chocolate Strawberry Icebox Cake
- 3 ½ cups almond flour
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup Swerve Sweetener or other granulated erythritol
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs slightly beaten
- ¼ cup butter melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon stevia extract
- 2 ½ cups whipping cream
- ¼ cup powdered Swerve Sweetener or other powdered erythritol
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups strawberries hulled and thinly sliced
- ½ ounce sugar-free dark chocolate for garnish
- For the wafers, preheat the oven to 300F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine almond flour, cocao powder, erythritol, baking powder and salt. Add in eggs, butter, vanilla and stevia and stir well until dough comes together.
- Roll out dough between two pieces of parchment paper to about ⅛ inch thickness. Lift off top piece of parchment and set aside. Using a 2 ¾ inch diameter cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and use a knife or offset spatula to loosen and lift gently. Place cookies on prepared baking sheet. Gather up scraps of dough and reroll until too little is left to roll out. You should get about 50 cookies.
- Bake cookies until firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. They will crisp up as they cool.
- For the filling, whip cream, powdered erythritol and vanilla extract until it forms semi-stiff peaks (somewhere between soft peaks and stiff peaks, don't overbeat but you want it to holds its shape).
- To assemble the cake, use at least a 9-inch cake stand or plate.
- Place one wafer in the center of the plate and 6 wafers in a circle around it. Spread about ½ cup whipped cream carefully over the wafers and top with sliced berries.
- Repeat with remaining wafers, whipped cream and berries until you have completed 7 layers of wafers.
- Top with any remaining cream (you should have plenty) and sliced berries in a decorative fashion.
- Using a cheese slicer, shave chocolate over top.
- Refrigerate and let firm up, about 3 hours.
For the 1/4 tsp stevia, do you suggest using powdered extract or liquid. Thank you!
I’m going to give this a try – it looks fabulous! One questions – I’m not sure which the recipe is calling for: cocoa powder or cacao powder? I suppose either could be used but wonder if you could clarify?
For people concerned about how to cut this – I have made ice box cake many a time in a spring form pan as follows:
Line the wall of the pan with a band of parchment (no need to line the bottom – that will serve as the base of the cake).
Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of cookies – use any broken cookies to fill in spaces.
Cover cookies with a layer of whipped cream.
Place another layer of cookies on top of the whipped cream and cover with another layer of whipped cream.
Repeat as many times as allows so that you are ending with a layer of whipped cream.
Sprinkle top decoratively with cookie crumbs from broken cookies.
Cover pan with plastic wrap (be careful when removing plastic the following day that you do not allow condensation to drop on cake).
Refrigerate for the amount of time specified by Carolyn in this recipe.
Remove from fridge, remove sides of pan and peel away the parchment. The cookies will have softened such that the cake can be easily sliced without making a mess.
Erica B says
Hi Carolyn, I’m sorry if I missed this info somewhere: can the cake be assembled a day in advance and hold up in the refrigerator for about 24 hours? I’ll probably add a touch of xanthan gum to stabilize the whipped cream.
Yes, it can. The cookies get kind of soft but that’s not a bad thing!
Erica B says
Thanks for letting me know! I’ve never had an icebox cake before, so not sure exactly what the texture should be. ????
Stacey Scarmack says
Seriously this cake needs to be frozen!
Put in fridge for 1 hour and the layers were sliding down the sides. Not very pretty but I’m sure it will still be tasty!
It doesn’t actually need to be frozen so I wonder if your whipped cream was not whipped enough.
Sonia Mehrotra says
Hi Carolyn…this looks awesome. For some reason keto chocolate cookies are not going down well with the family. I was wondering what other flavours can I make. Also may I please request you to inform your site coordinator/moderator that while I don’t have problems with ads on your blog the choice of the ads on display is somewhat ironic and depressing. Very often on your blog when I am checking out recipes the ads I see are for chest pains and Hospitals!! Given as Low carb diet followers we routinely cook and bake high fat stuff chest pain ads are somewhat off putting and scary. Thanks and I hope you understand I mean no offence.
Baking at 300 degrees for 30 mins sounds like a bit too long… Does the cookies get super hard ?
They are meant to be crunchy and crisp, just like regular wafer cookies. I am not sure why you’d think this was too long. Almond flour contains much more moisture than wheat flour and thus baking at a lower temperature for longer helps crisp things up.
Mrs Babyhead says
I’m so excited to dig into this! My diabetic DH is getting it for Father’s Day tomorrow! It’s in the fridge now for tomorrow noon. Our five year old daughter is about to burst. LOL Could this be put in the freezer for a bit (couple hours tomorrow morning) to firm it up for easy cutting?
Also thank you so much. You’ve transformed our lives with these awesome recipes!
I think the chocolate might get too hard with freezing and then it would crack when you tried to cut it.
I have made your No-Bake Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake twice in less than a month… it is so light and delicious! Now this? Wow, a childhood favorite! Can’t wait to make it! Thank you.
do you think the cookie dough would have enough body to be formed into a log, chilled, and then sliced to bake rather than having to roll the dough and cut into rounds? I love the convenience of refrigerator cookies….
Yes, I think it would!
I’m absolutely giving this a try! Thanks for making such a creative gluten-free dessert. I’m also about cooking with as minimally processed ingredients as possible.
I’m making this for my husband’s birthday tomorrow. Can’t wait to taste it!
Kori Vincent says
You are amazing! I want to follow you on Pinterest. What is your name there?
Hi Kori…my Pinterest account is dreamaboutfood
Aleksandra Kleschina says
Dear Carolyn, I live in Russia and I came upon your website by accident and …. couldn’t stop reading it!! I got especially interested by this cake and picked a lot of strawberries at my granny’s garden so they are sitting on the table tempting me to hits awesome cake! But I don’t have Swerve Sweetener, only stevia powder – so how would you recommend to adapt your wonderful recipe? In the worst case I can use sugar (I think it would still be very good as it’ll be gluten-free) but what would be the proportions?
Hi Alexsandra, if just using stevia powder, use enough to equal about 3/4 cups sugar in the cookies and 1/4 cup sugar in the whipped cream. Or just use sugar in those amounts.
I’m thinking these wafers would make a perfect crust for a peanut butter cheesecake 🙂 Mmm…
They would, indeed!
Some time before it ceased publication (a very sad day IMO), Gourmet Magazine published a number of (truly) 3 ingredient recipes. My favorite was for Osso Bucco – veal shanks, onions, and plum tomatoes. Aside from salt and pepper, that’s entirely it. It has been a go-to recipes for years – completely delicious. With quality ingredients, you don’t need more.
Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says
What a beautiful presentation, a great dessert for a party!
Russell at Chasing Delicious says
I love the way these icebox cakes look. I’ve always wanted to make one!
Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says
This looks so cool, Carolyn! I hate the false advertising thing also and I give you so many props for transforming recipes into low-carb like you do!
Bewildered Bug says
That “4 ingredient” false hope is one of my pet peeves too! Not just because I am gluten and dairy free, but because “boxed mix” is not ONE ingredient to me! Anyways…you covered it quite nicely above! I love this recipe – it looks absolutely gorgeous! I am definitely gonna try it!
Thanks! Glad to hear I am not alone in that particular pet peeve.