8 to 10 servings
This sublimely simple refrigerator cake dates from around 1929, when it was created by Uneeda Bakers, a division of the National Biscuit Company, now known simply as Nabisco.
The original recipe calls for just whipping cream, vanilla and the company's thin chocolate wafers. We've found that a little sugar in the cream enhances the flavor. Although more recent versions of the recipe claim that a tub of whipped topping or a can of whipped cream can be substituted for the whipped cream, the freshly whipped stuff tastes the best.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
9-ounce package Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
Chocolate curls or chocolate wafer crumbs for garnish
In large bowl, combine the vanilla, sugar if desired and cream. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until stiff peaks form. Spread about 1/2 tablespoon whipped cream on each wafer; you will not use all of the whipped cream. Stack the cream-topped wafers next to one another on a serving platter, standing them on their edge like a row of dominoes, to make a 14-inch log. Use the remaining whipped cream to frost the top and sides of the cookie log. Refrigerate for at least 4 to 6 hours or up to overnight. (The cookies will become cakey, which makes for easier slicing.)
To serve, sprinkle chocolate curls or crushed wafer crumbs on top of the row. Using a knife, cut the cake on the diagonal (at a 45-degree angle) into slices. (The cake slices easily when a warm knife is used; run a knife under hot water then quickly dry it with a clean towel.)
Mint-chocolate: Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/4 teaspoon and add 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract to the cream before whipping. To serve, garnish with miniature chocolate chips or roughly crushed Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. Adapted from the July/August 2004 issue of Everyday Food magazine.
Raspberry-chocolate: Add a layer of fresh raspberries between every third or fourth wafer as you assemble the cake. Garnish with fresh raspberries before serving. Adapted from the Food Network's Sara Moulton, as seen on a recent episode of "Sara's Secrets."
Double chocolate: Reduce vanilla to 1/4 teaspoon. Reduce sugar to 2 to 3 tablespoons. Mix sugar with 3 to 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa and add to the cream before whipping.
Per serving (based on 10): 314 calories, 3 gm protein, 28 gm carbohydrates, 21 gm fat, 68 mg cholesterol, 12 gm saturated fat, 229 mg sodium, 1 gm dietary fiber
Coffee and Cream Icebox Cake
Fine Cooking magazine created this sophisticated variation on the Famous Wafer roll. To be sure you have enough cookies, buy two boxes.
Adapted from a recipe in the June/July 1999 issue of Fine Cooking magazine:
Butter for the loaf pan
13/4 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon sugar, or more, to taste
44 Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers (two 9-ounce packages)
1/4 cup finely chopped, toasted hazelnuts for garnish
1/4 cup chocolate cookie wafer crumbs
Lightly butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Line the pan with 2 long pieces of plastic wrap, allowing the excess plastic to hang over the edges of the pan. There should be enough excess plastic wrap to fold over the top of the pan.
In a large bowl, combine the cream, espresso powder and sugar. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream until it holds firm peaks. Spoon about 2/3 of the whipped cream over the bottom of the prepared pan. Tap the pan firmly on the counter to even the cream and eliminate any air bubbles.
Starting at a short side of the pan, stack some of the wafers in the cream, side by side, standing them on their edge in a row like dominoes. Continue down the long side of the pan until you reach the other short side. Repeat with a second row of cookies, but stack the second row so that the edge of each cookie in the second row wedges into the cream between two cookies in the first row. In other words, you want the cookies in the second row to alternate with the pattern of the cookies in the first row. Continue with 2 more rows, alternating, for a total of 4 rows. Press down on the cookies gently.
Cover the rows of cookies with the remaining cream. Using a spatula, smooth the cream, gently pressing to make sure any gaps between the cookies are filled. Tap the pan on the counter several times to eliminate air pockets. If any gaps appear, fill them with more whipped cream.
Cover the cake with the excess plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, preferably two days. (The longer the cookies are refrigerated, the easier the cookies are to slice.) When ready to serve, uncover the top of the plastic wrap from the cake and gently tug on the plastic to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Place a cutting board on top of the pan and invert the cake onto the board. Remove the pan, then gently peel away the plastic wrap.
In a bowl, mix the hazelnuts and cookie crumbs. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top of the cake. Using a knife, slice the cake lengthwise -- that is, start at the short end of the pan and run your knife down the length of the pan to the other short end. This method produces the most visual impact. Then cut each of the long slices in half. Each slice should have multiple chocolate stripes alternating with a thin layer of coffee cream. (The cake slices easiest when a warm knife is used; run a knife under hot water then quickly dry it with a clean towel.)
Per serving: 388 calories, 4 gm protein, 34 gm carbohydrates, 27 gm fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 14 gm saturated fat, 308 mg sodium, 2 gm dietary fiber