The Secret to Ina Garten’s Famous Icebox Cake Is This Boozy Ingredient

Our chocolate cravings don’t go away in the summer, even if our willingness to turn on the oven to bake a batch of brownies or chocolate chip cookies is basically non-existent when the temps get over 75. Enter the icebox cake, which just might be the perfect summer dessert. Ina Garten shared her perfect recipe on Instagram, and it includes a secret ingredient that can help the no-bake dessert develop a more nuanced flavor: Kahlúa!

For those not in the know, icebox cakes are usually made by layering some type of cookie, often chocolate or vanilla wafer cookies or ladyfingers, with some type of whipped cream or pudding. As the dessert sits in the refrigerator, the moisture rehydrates the cookies being used, so they get a moist, decadent, cake-like texture.

Garten’s recipe is a Mocha Chocolate icebox cake that combines the flavors of cocoa and coffee. And, as usual, she makes a few simple upgrades to turn the simple classic into an absolute standout.

First, she uses crispy, buttery, Tate’s Bake Shop Chocolate Chip Cookies as the base. They’re layered with silky mascarpone whipped cream that’s flavored with cocoa (Garten recommends Pernigotti brand), espresso powder, vanilla, sugar, and a generous 1/4 cup of Kahlúa, a coffee liqueur.

The whole thing gets refrigerated overnight, and should be served chilled the next day. Maybe with a Kahlúa cocktail on the side! You can watch the video Garten posted to Instagram to see just how she assembles it – and to see the texture of the final product.

Finally, a summer dessert that satisfies our craving for cake and cookies all in one, no oven required.

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