Thursday, February 26, 2015

mocha chocolate icebox cake . . . and a casual birthday brunch


It's been a whirl wind month for our family. February is always busy for us.

The month begins with celebrating our oldest son's birthday, followed by a birthday celebration almost every weekend through the end of month. Nick turned 21 this year, so I was sure to add personal (and special) touches to his birthday gathering . . .

         .     .     .     .         
mocha ice box cake
MOOSE sugar cookies (Nick's favorite animal!)
a mocktail bar with a signature grapefruit drink 
 * 21 gifts *
sparkler number candles!
delicious skillet dishes
spicy Italian strata & baked french toast
 .     .     .     .  

My favorite time of day to entertain is late morning, early afternoon. It's the perfect time for brunch, which I think is one of the best times of day to entertain! So we celebrated birthday after birthday over brunch, every Saturday . . . and I enjoyed every minute of it!

So let's talk cake!

Have you ever heard of an old-fashioned Icebox Cake?

Well, I hadn't heard of one until I saw Ina Garten make one in an episode of the Barefoot Contessa last year. Ironically, the episode aired just days after hosting Nick's 20th birthday brunch; and after watching the episode, I knew that I was going to make it for his 21st birthday!

It has all of his favorite things . . . . chocolate chip cookies and mocha flavored whipped cream, layer upon layer upon layer. YUM!

They're so easy to make, and there's NO BAKING; that is, unless you choose to bake the chocolate chip cookies that go into layering this cake.

Ina uses TATE's Bakery chocolate chip cookies, which I was lucky enough to find at our local Wholesome Market . . . so I couldn't resist buying them for the cake.

It takes just minutes to whip the ingredients . . .  heavy cream, mascarpone cheese, instant espresso powder, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and coffee flavored liqueur . . . and then the layering can begin. It's so simple . . . and delicious!

I can't wait to make a Spring and Summer version using lemons and lemon cookies!

mocha chocolate icebox cake
.     .     .     .     .     .     .
2 cups cold heavy cream
12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua (optional)
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 (8-ounce) packages chocolate chip cookies, such as Tate's Bake Shop
Shaved semisweet chocolate, for garnish
.     .     .     .     .     .     .

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, coffee liqueur, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and vanilla. Mix on low speed to combine and then slowly raise the speed, until it forms firm peaks.

To assemble the cake, arrange chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch spring-form pan, covering the bottom as much as possible. (I break some cookies to fill in the spaces.) 

Spread a fifth of the mocha whipped cream evenly over the cookies. Place another layer of cookies on top, lying flat and touching, followed by another fifth of the cream. 

Continue layering cookies and cream until there are 5 layers of each, ending with a layer of cream. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Run a small sharp knife around the outside of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the top with the chocolate, cut in wedges, and serve cold.

courtesy of Barefoot Contessa

LET'S STAY in touch!

Sharing with . . . .

Stephanie Lynn, It's Overflowing, Twelve O Eight, Carrie This Home, Baking in Pajamas, Huckleberry Love, Dwellings, Smart Party Planning,  The Dedicated HouseMod Vintage LifeLori's Culinary Creations, Home Stories, StoneGableAn Extraordinary Day, I'm Not a Trophy Wife, Between Naps on the Front Porch, Rustic Refined,  Tumbleweed ContessaA Stroll Thru Life,Life With GarnishElizabeth & Co,  My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Savvy Southern StyleThe Recipe CriticJanine HuldieCarolyn's Homework,  Fluster Buster   Designs by Miss Mandee,  Craftie Allie,  Wednesday morning The Blissful Bee,  The Newlywed Pilgrimage Chic California, Lamberts LatelyLive Laugh RoweSweet Bella Roos, The Charm of Home, From My Front Porch to ours, Delightsome Life.Posed PerfectionKatherine's CornerNancherrowThe Freshman Cook,  Jann OlsonHome  Maid SimpleAnderson + Grant,  Rooted in ThymeEveryday Enchanted Home, Pure Grace Farms A Dish of Daily Life, Bacon Time, Sunflower Supper Club, Tater Tots and Jello,  Cooking with CurlsMade from PinterestSimply Gloria


  1. Oh man, this sounds delicious. You had me at mocha. I always love the stories you tell with your photos.

  2. What a delicious brunch and gorgeous cake!! Wishing I had a slice of that with my coffee!!

  3. Oh my talented friend what a wonderful cake. A tasty treat for a special birthday in deed. How wonderful to have a month filled with celebrations. Thank you for sharing, Biggest hugs!

    1. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. Watch for your feature on Monday xo

  4. Happy birthday to your son! What a wonderful way to celebrate! That cake looks delicious and I bet it tasted even better!

  5. You are THE entertaining queen! Everything looks perfect. Absolutely perfect. What a lucky son; I'm sure your whole family will have the fondest memories of your beautiful touches. I hope you get to relax and put your feet up after your crazy birthday extravaganza month (maybe with some cooking shows, some magazines, some blogs...). Also, I had to take a peek at his 20th party, and love those balloons!! Have a good weekend!

  6. Sounds like you had an awesome celebration, and what a cake to serve up. I bet it disappeared very quickly!

    Thanks for linking up to Marvelous Monday on Smart Party Planning.

  7. awwwwwww!!! thank you for recipe!!!!! hugs, angie from germany

  8. This cake is one of our family favorites. Absolutely scrumptious!

  9. Suzanne,
    This Birthday Party is totally 'over~the~top' with love and good food, dear one!!!
    I'd love a piece of that spicy Italian strata, some fresh fruit and a slice of that Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake!!!
    I've never eaten a Cake made from Cookies!!! How fun is (was) that???
    Archiving this recipe for use later in 2015!!!

  10. Wow. This cake looks great and I love coffee and chocolate flavors together. I must try this it sounds pretty simple too. Pinning.

  11. Looks yummy, will definitely try, thanks for sharing at Carolyn;s homework!

  12. What a delicious celebrations! You have a flair and style that is all your own and I love it.

  13. That cake looks so yummy! Adding it my must make some day. Thanx for sharing at THT!

  14. A mocha icebox cake is pretty much my idea of heaven! Looks AMAZING!! :)

  15. I have made this cake Suzanne, and it's incredible! I never had Tate's cookies before, and now I am hooked! So good, you don't need the cake! Your moose cookies are adorable and I know your strata is divine~ Happy Bday to your son!

  16. I knew the moment I saw this picture that it was you that has created this mouthwatering cake, and the whole brunch looks beyond amazing! Saying hello from the creative ways link party! :-) Hope that you are doing great!
    Cathy@ three kids and a fish

  17. This looks amazing- I'm especially loving the addition of Kahlua- thanks for sharing!

  18. This cake sounds beyond amazing! Love how it's based on mascarpone.

  19. That cake looks amazing, thanks for sharing,

  20. Anonymous6:57 AM

    Suzanne, this looks wonderful! Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!! Laura@ Baking in Pyjamas

  21. Well I am positive that he had a wonderful birthday with all of that delicious food. Especially that cake! The moose cookies are so cute and I love the numbers! Thanks for sharing with SyC.

  22. What a wonderful birthday brunch Suzanne! And that cake looks amazing!

  23. February was a busy month for you. I love brunch as well and everything looks delicious! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. Thank You for sharing such delicious and mouth watering pictures! Everything looks Yummy :)
    Leo - here

  26. Loved you way of making and presenting each recipe.
    meet and greet at heathrow


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