chocolate-ricotta icebox cake

by Amy on 28 July 2011

it’s hot, but that’s not going to stop me from making desserts! it’s only going to make me more creative about how to make ’em. my quest this week has been to help us get our sweets fix without turning on the oven. get excited about lots of icebox / no-bake recipes over the next few weeks!

i knew the first recipe i wanted to try was something with chocolate. after finding this recipe, i headed out to buy the ingredients + everything was going peachy until, wait? what the heck are chocolate wafers? like nilla wafers, but with chocolate? i searched the store high + low to no avail, so i got creative + substituted newman’s own chocolate alphabet cookies. strange, yes, but the texture + flavor were just perfect + no one was any the wiser that they were eating alphabet cookies. =)

after chilling overnight, the cake easily released from the springform pan, i garnished it with chocolate shavings (which looked beautiful) + it was ready to sample (yes, at 9 AM)! holy deliciousness. the chocolate-ricotta layers are mousse-like, with a light yet rich creaminess. the cookie layers provide a wonderful flavor, a nice change in texture, + they softened just enough (i worried that they’d be too crunchy). this far exceeded my expectations – it’s a gorgeous, delicious + no-oven-needed cake that is surprisingly easy to make. this is a must try, friends!

chocolate-ricotta icebox cake

makes 10 servings, adapted from martha stewart


nonstick cooking spray
14 ounces semisweet chocolate (do not use chips)
2 containers (15 ounces each) part-skim ricotta cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 package (9 ounces) chocolate wafers, lightly crushed, or lightly processed in a food processor (such as nabisco famous chocolate wafers, or newman’s own chocolate alphabet cookies)


prepare pan: remove sides from a 9-inch round springform pan. place a sheet of waxed paper over bottom, leaving an overhang; lock sides onto bottom, securing paper. spray inside of pan with cooking spray; line sides with a strip of waxed paper 28 inches long + 4 inches wide.

make chocolate-ricotta mixture: break 12 ounces of chocolate into pieces. place in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water. cook, stirring occasionally, until chocolate has melted, 8 – 10 minutes.

in a food processor, blend ricotta until very smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl. add warm chocolate; blend until smooth. in a large bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. with a rubber spatula, gently fold in chocolate-ricotta mixture.

assemble cake: arrange half the crushed cookies to cover bottom of pan. spoon half the chocolate-ricotta mixture on top of cookies; smooth top. cover with remaining cookies; top with remaining chocolate-ricotta mixture, + smooth the top. cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 6 hours + up to 2 days.

before serving, release sides of pan + remove waxed paper from sides. using bottom piece of waxed paper, pull cake onto a platter; with a metal spatula, lift cake + remove waxed paper. using a vegetable peeler, shave remaining 2 ounces chocolate over top of cake. with a knife dipped in hot water, cut cake into 10 slices (wipe off knife, + dip in hot water after each slice).

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 amanda July 28, 2011 at 11:16 am

i think this may be my favorite thing you’ve ever posted. ever. ok, tied with the nutella cookies. i have been looking for a creative use for my mini springform pans, and i think this is it.

2 amy July 28, 2011 at 11:19 am

woohoo, glad to hear it! this recipe would convert easily for mini springform pans – i didn’t measure out any of the layers – just eyeballed ’em – + they turned out surprisingly balanced. let me know how it turns out!

3 Julia July 28, 2011 at 11:20 am

For chocolate wafers, I just scrape out the middle of oreo’s, and use the cookie part. Just in case you run into not being able to find chocolate wafers. Fairly certain this cake is in my near future, looks SO yum!

4 amy July 28, 2011 at 11:27 am

ooh, thank you for the tip! i wish you could have seen me walking up + down, up + down the cookie aisle trying to find the damn things. the newman’s cookies were a great substitute, + thankfully they were on sale. i would never have thought to sub in oreos sans the creme – smart!

5 Ally Garner July 28, 2011 at 11:58 am

Good gravy, i’d eat that whole thing in one sitting. I cannot believe how few ingredients are in it??!! Sold! This will be perfect to make with my inlaws at the beach in a couple of weeks – my nephews will love it.

Smart idea using Newman’s. I’ve seen the fancy chocolate wafers at places like The Fresh market or gourmet shops, but they can be super expensive. Love Julia’s oreo idea too – brilliant!

6 amy July 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm

i was shocked by the tiny ingredient list, too! it would definitely be kid-friendly for the nephews. i’m bringing in to the in-laws house tonight for dinner – i’ll let you know if it’s in-law friendly, too. =)
i have yet to find chocolate wafers anywhere, but i should try gourmet shops, or maybe trader joe’s? until then, good to see that there are some easy substitutes.

7 Wendy (The Weekend Gourmet) July 28, 2011 at 12:01 pm

And what, exactly, is wrong with eating chocolate cake at 900 in the morning?!?!? Works for me…love that this can be made without turning on the oven. It’s been 100+ in San Antonio the past week or so, which means I’m avoiding turning on my oven unless it can’t be avoided. Pinning…

8 amy July 28, 2011 at 12:05 pm

ha, nothing’s wrong with cake in the morning! in fact, i think it largely contributed to my awesome day so far. =) can’t wait to hear how it turns out for you!

9 Caroline @ chocolate and carrots July 28, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Oh my goodness. You’ve gone and won over my chocolate-lovin’ heart. And it doesn’t hurt that I am also an ice cream fiend. So, a cold, chocolate cake is perfection in my eyes. Yum! I can see why your husband came home for lunch! 😉

10 amy July 28, 2011 at 12:54 pm

if you like ice cream, you might like it popped into the freezer for a few minutes before eating, too, for a hint of that frozen texture. it *definitely* won over the husband! next up, bringing it to the in-laws tonight! =)

11 Amber @ Caleigh's Kitchen July 28, 2011 at 12:56 pm

YUMMMMM! I need to try this, I need to try an ice box cake period! I guess the heat is getting to my baking desires too.. YUM!

12 amy July 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm

amber, icebox cakes + pies are super easy – easier than a baked version, i’d even say. it definitely makes getting your dessert fix a lot easier in this crazy hot weather!

13 Renee July 28, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Chocolate at 9am? a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y!!! The cake looks so good I wanted to stick a fork into the screen. Where is the darn taste-o-vision when you need it?

14 amy July 28, 2011 at 1:18 pm

one of these days they’ll invent that taste-o-vision. luckily, this cake is so quick to make that you could whip it up this afternoon, pop it in the fridge, + it’ll be ready just in time for breakfast tomorrow. =)

15 Heather July 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm

yumm! I have never made anything like this but would love to! btw, i think chocolate wafers are very thin and usually sold in a small rectangular yellow box. my dad loves a cake made with only them and cool whip lol

16 amy July 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm

if you’re talking about a box like this one, then you’re absolutely right – that’s the brand everyone recommends but neither of the two krogers in our ‘hood carry ’em. =( lots of icebox cakes call for them, so i’d really like to figure out where they’re carried in nashville.

17 jamie July 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm

i’ve had good luck finding those chocolate wafers at publix- sometimes they even have them out on the aisle displays!

18 amy July 28, 2011 at 5:17 pm

thanks for the tip – i thought about driving to publix or harris teeter to look for them but then opted for lazy improvisation instead. =) will definitely look next time i’m at public (+ stock up, because tons of icebox recipes use them!)

19 Maris (In Good Taste) July 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm

I can’t believe so few ingredients make this gorgeous cake! I love the idea of having something so decadent and not having to turn on the oven. Very creative!

20 amy July 28, 2011 at 9:27 pm

isn’t it crazy how few ingredients there are? thanks for your sweet words – i just ate this cake for the third time today (yikes!!) + it was just as good after dinner as it was for breakfast. =)

21 Sasha @ The Procrastobaker July 29, 2011 at 2:33 am

What a scrummy looking photo! and i daren’t look too much at how easy it would be for me to whip this up as it would be awfully dangerous for my waistline! Looks absolutely wonderful, and i might well give in and give a try sometime soon :)

22 amy July 29, 2011 at 9:17 am

it is dangerously easy to make! at least it has some ricotta cheese in there — that has to make it a little better for us, right? =)

23 BreAna {Sugar and Spice and All Things Iced} July 29, 2011 at 11:52 am

Guess it is time to finally buy a spring form pan! I don’t know why I don’t have one yet, but I’m definitely going to get one now!! My husband would love this!!! He is definitely the chocolate lover in our house…although I am sure that I will enjoy my share of the dessert as well!!

24 amy July 29, 2011 at 11:56 am

i bought my first springform pan less than a year ago + i use it all the time! i was afraid it was going to be hard to use, but it’s super simple. you definitely should get one + give this a try for your husband (+ yourself)!

25 Lesley July 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I could use a piece of that right about now! But I’m, um, still recovering from a little overindulgence in cookie dough. :)

26 amy July 29, 2011 at 1:43 pm

with an under-the-weather baby at home, you deserve all the sweets you can get your hands on! hope she’s feeling better, + that cookie dough (+ fresh tomatoes) were the cure that you needed. =)

27 Lesley July 30, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Amazing Amy! So creamy! The crust was perfect! I think it was the chocolate alphabet cookies won over my 5 year old! She’s now a big fan! Thank you!

28 amy July 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm

isn’t it so amazingly creamy? i still can’t believe that there are only 5 ingredients in the whole thing. so glad you + the family enjoyed. =) thanks for being a taste-tester for me!

29 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. July 31, 2011 at 12:55 pm

This looks fabulous! Great use of ricotta. I’m hungry now

30 amy July 31, 2011 at 1:00 pm

the ricotta lends a super creaminess to the cake – makes it almost mousse-like. it’s making me hungry, too – luckily i have one slice left! =)

31 Shilpa Sharma August 9, 2011 at 2:53 pm

a very nice recipe…

32 Laura B August 18, 2011 at 6:18 am

I was so happy to see this posted on the FB page for my favorite yogurt (DELICIOUS sheep milk yogurt by Bellwether Farms, a must-try, at least in blackberry, I almost guarantee the others too from this one)… When you wrote chocolate wafers, I was like “she’s never had chocolate wafers?” except SHE means Nabisco Famous ones (which are full of soybean oil and other gross shouldn’t-make-cookies-from stuff)… and I meant THESE:

THAT is a wafer to me. Famous’ are COOKIES! I think the Newman’s would be the best option unless you live near an Earth Fare, where super inexpensive super healthy (no GMO, no corn syrup, no additives/colorings/artificial anything) foods actually exist… but only for the SE part of the nation, mostly the east coast…

Now I wonder what it’d be like with the wafers *I* grew up with (I was quite the connoisseur, too… I knew the good ones from the cheap-o waxy kind whose filling was a bit like oreo cream, only not tasty at all!)… I haven’t eaten them in YEARS, but vending machines sell this “Ruger” brand of them all over the place.

33 amy August 18, 2011 at 8:10 am

how cool that it wound up getting posted to Bellwether Farm’s facebook page – i just checked it out. awesome! their ricotta *would* be amazing in this icebox cake. unfortunately, we don’ live near an Earth Fare, so Newman’s are the best substitute for the Nabisco’s Famous ones (which i have since found, but have yet to buy since i prefer the healthier qualities of the Newman’s.) thanks for sending me some other possible substitutions!

34 Jeff October 6, 2011 at 9:44 am

I too had a very difficult time finding the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, but finally located them at Kroger in the ice cream section of all places, next to the toppings…very odd. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thank you for the inspiration!

35 amy October 6, 2011 at 9:45 am

yes! i eventually found ’em too in the ice cream section. had no idea they’d be there. they were pretty expensive, though (i think $4-$5 per package) so i wound up using my substitution again anyway to save a few bucks. =) can’t wait to hear how it turns out for you!

36 Nicole @ July 18, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I love icebox cakes, but I’ve never made one with ricotta before. Such a good idea. Hubby’s birthday is next week so I may have to try it!

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