Mocha Icebox Cake
Icebox cake is so named because it relies not on an oven, as most cakes do, but rather on an icebox. In other words, it is a terrific cake to make in the summertime.
The hardest part is waiting for the cake to set up properly in the refrigerator overnight. While the cake chills, its cookie layers soften and meld with the surrounding whipped cream layers. You could use any kind of cookie that you like, though chocolate cookies with espresso-tinged whipped cream make for a fine mocha combination.
Should you be so inclined, you could add layers of chocolate pudding, for a riff on dirt-with-gummy-worms, or you could sandwich lemon cookies between layers of berry jam and whipped cream. There are plenty of celebrations this summer to try out all sorts of variations. Which one is your favorite?
1½ cups heavy cream
¼ cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon dark rum (optional)
¼ cup espresso or very strong coffee, cooled
14 ounces chocolate wafer cookies
Bittersweet chocolate, for grating
Whip the cream and sugar to firm peaks, then whisk in the rum and espresso.
Spread a spoonful of the whipped cream in the center of a small cake pan with a removable bottom. (The exact size of the pan doesn't matter much--the smaller the pan, the taller the cake will be--and you could even skip the cake pan entirely and just assemble the cake on a plate.) Place a single layer of chocolate cookies on top of the cream. Gently spread an even layer of the whipped cream on top of the cookies, using enough to create a whipped cream layer that is about the same thickness as the cookie layer. Arrange a second layer of cookies, followed by a second layer of cream. Continue layering cookies and cream until you've used up all the cream. Cover the cake loosely with plastic and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 8 hours (or overnight).
Using a metal rasp-type zester, grate a little chocolate on top of the cake. Unmold the cake from the pan, slice into wedges, and serve cold.