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Course: Sweets
Keyword: Chocolate, Chocolate Mocha Refrigerator Cake, Desserts, Frozen, Make-Ahead

Chocolate Mocha Refrigerator Cake

Chocolate mocha refrigerator cake on a black plate.
ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 8 hours 20 minutes
Yield: 10 servings
A descendant of the English trifle and the French Charlotte, the refrigerator cake is a no-bake cake that derives its delectable texture from spending up to 24 hours at constant “ice box” temperatures before being served. It’s like a wonderful dream world between cake and pudding without actually being either.
The basis of this dessert is whipped cream spiked with coffee and reinforced with gelatin, and cookies, in this case, chocolate wafers.
This recipe first appeared in Season 1 of Good Eats: The Return.
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  • 70 chocolate wafer cookies
  • 1 packet powdered gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur
  • 4 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups heavy cream, cold
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Specialized Hardware

8-by-4-by-3-inch loaf pan
Chocolate mocha refrigerator cake on a black plate.
ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 8 hours 20 minutes
Yield: 10 servings


  • Line an 8-by-4-by-3-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving enough overhang in each direction to completely cover the top. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with chocolate wafers and set aside.
  • Sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water in a small saucepan (or even a metal measuring cup) and "bloom" at room temperature for 5 minutes. Then gently warm over low heat until just melted. (Do not allow to boil.) Remove from the heat and stir in the coffee liqueur, espresso powder, and vanilla.
  • Whip the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer on high until soft peaks form, about 1 minute 30 seconds. Reduce the speed to low and drizzle in the cooled gelatin mixture. Increase the speed back to high and whip to stiff peaks, about 30 seconds more.
  • Fill the prepared pan 3/4 of the way with the whipped cream mixture. Insert the remaining chocolate wafers vertically (edge first) into the whipped cream to create 4 rows of about 12 cookies each, keeping each cookie slightly separated by cream.
  • Spread the remaining whipped cream evenly over the cookie rows. Fold the excess plastic wrap over the cake and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24.
  • To serve: Pull back the plastic wrap and invert the cake onto a serving dish. Remove the plastic wrap, slice and serve immediately.
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