Icebox cakes are a great dessert showpiece, with often little to no baking or cooking. What they do require is time – time to let the layers meld together, for an ooey-gooey layered cake affect.

Turtle Icebox Cake

For a Labor Day picnic, I decided to whip up this Chocolate Turtle Icebox Cake. My sweet-tooth demanded that I bring a dessert, but both work and moving have been keeping me busy, leaving little time for more complicated recipes. I had all the ingredients I needed to make a decadent icebox cake – vanilla wafers, caramel sauce, and the necessary fixings for a quick chocolate pudding.

Did you know that whipping up homemade pudding is just as simple and quick as the boxed kind? I highly recommend that you try making the chocolate pudding from scratch, but you can use an instant pudding package if you prefer. Once the pudding is made, vanilla wafers, caramel sauce, pecans, pudding, and chocolate hardening sauce are poured in alternating layers into a springform pan.  The icebox cake does all the work sitting in the refrigerator overnight – the cookies soak up moisture and become cake-like, and syrupy layers become more dense.

Turtle Icebox Cake

When I unveiled the cake at the picnic the other guests swarmed. Their content smiles told me that the Chocolate Turtle Icebox Cake was a hit. What a perfect treat for a picnic!

Turtle Icebox Cake

Chocolate Turtle Icebox Cake

½ cup white sugar
¼ cup baking cocoa
1/8 cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups almond milk
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
14 ounce package of vanilla wafers
6 ounces caramel sauce (i.e. ice cream topping)
8 ounce container of “Magic shell” or 1 recipe of homemade hardening shell
2 ounces pecan bits

First make the chocolate pudding. In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil and stir for 2 minutes, or until it thickens. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla and chill in the refrigerator. Once the chocolate pudding is cooled, prepare the cake. Lay 1/3 or the bag of vanilla wafers on the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, then pour over ½ of the chocolate pudding to coat the cookies and evenly pour 1/3 of the caramel over pudding. Sprinkle with 1 ounce of the pecans, then repeat another layer of vanilla wafers, pudding, caramel, and pecans, in that order. Finally cover the top with the remainder of the vanilla wafers and then pour the hardening shell over the top. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

note: one 3.4 ounce package of instant pudding and 2 cups of milk can be used to substitute the first 6 ingredients.  Follow package instructions to make the pudding.