Strawberry-Vanilla Icebox Cake with Chocolate Drizzle

allergy-friendly icebox cake

This delicious Strawberry-Vanilla Icebox Cake will wow your guests and your family. To speed up the assembly process of this sublime allergy-friendly dessert, simply make the vanilla cookies in advance.

A couple of tips for creating this chilled-out dessert. First, a brand like Sunbutter’s ‘natural’ flavor has a hint of sweetness. But if you use sunflower seed butter without added sugar, you may want to sweeten the caramel with additional brown sugar to taste. Or, for a bit of added texture, crunch sunflower seed spread adds just the right amount.

For the dish size: You’ll need an 8-inch square, 2-inch deep glass baking dish for this recipe.

This Strawberry-Vanilla Icebox Cake is gluten-free, dairy-free – in fact, free of the Top 9 allergens. So everyone can indulge. Enjoy making and serving up this most cool dessert.

While there are several steps, there’s nothing difficult to this recipe. OK, there is just one hard part: waiting for the Icebox Cake to chill. (You’ll need to refrigerate it either overnight, or for at least four hours.)

For more inspiration, see Allergic Living’s list of warm-weather dessert recipes here.

Makes: 9 servings
Free of: gluten and all top allergens

Ingredients for Icebox Cake

Vanilla Cookies

  • 3/4 cup dairy-free, soy-free margarine, such as Earth Balance
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened non-dairy milk (e.g. coconut, rice or other)
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 1/4 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • Pinch salt

Sunflower Spread Caramel

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup sweetened, natural crunchy or creamy sunflower seed spread
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp dairy-free, soy-free margarine, such as Earth Balance
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Whipped Coconut Cream

  • 2 (14 oz) cans coconut cream, refrigerated at least 24 hours (See Recipe Tips)
  • 2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Drizzle & Finish

  • 1/3 cup allergy-friendly semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp dairy-free, soy-free margarine, such as Earth Balance
  • 2 lbs fresh strawberries, sliced about 1/4-inch thick


Recipe Tips

If cookie dough sticks to your hands when you try to flatten, use confectioners’ sugar to dust your palms.

If you can't find coconut cream in the can, which has more cream per can than full-fat coconut milk, you can use the latter. To substitute full-fat coconut milk: you can use the same method but will need 3-4 cans of milk, since the cream content will vary.

*A Note on Coconut       Coconut is technically a fruit. While most allergists do not consider it a tree nut, if you are nut allergic, ask your doctor if coconut is safe for you.

Instructions for Icebox Cake

  1. Place cans of coconut cream (see Whipped Cream) in refrigerator the day before dessert assembly. On day you begin to make the dessert, for the whipped coconut cream step, refrigerate a metal stand mixer’s bowl (or mixing bowl and beaters) for about 10 minutes.
  2. To make cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Put dairy-free margarine and sugar in a stand mixer. Beat with paddle attachment until smooth and creamy. Add the non-dairy milk and vanilla extract, and beat until just combined.
  4. Place sorghum flour, millet flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine. Now add flour mixture to the buttery mixture, and beat until combined.
  5. Use your hands to roll pieces of dough into balls the size of ping-pong balls. Place a ball on baking sheet, then flatten to about 1/4-inch thick. Repeat with remaining dough (there should be 16-18 cookies). Refrigerate trays for 8 minutes. Bake 12-14 minutes, until firm to the touch, but still soft. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. For sunflower spread caramel: Once cookies have cooled, add water and brown sugar to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on high heat and cook 90 seconds. Remove from heat, and whisk in sunflower spread until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract, margarine, and salt. Let cool slightly while following next steps.
  7. For whipped coconut cream: Remove chilled metal stand mixer’s bowl (or mixing bowl and beaters) from refrigerator (see Step 1). Also remove 1 can of coconut cream from fridge, being careful not to shake it. Open can and spoon hardened cream at the top into the bowl. Reserve liquid at bottom. Repeat with second can.
  8. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract to bowl. Beat on high, until creamy and fluffy, about 5 minutes, adding a splash or two of canned liquid if needed. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
  9. For the chocolate drizzle: Place chocolate chips and margarine in a double boiler (or a glass bowl set over a saucepan) filled with about 1-inch of water. Bring water to a simmer. Stir mixture until chocolate is melted. Then remove top pot of double boiler (or bowl) from heat.
  10. To assemble icebox cake: Spread thin layer (about 1/4 cup) of whipped coconut cream onto bottom of 8-inch square glass dish. Add an even layer of cookies, breaking pieces to fill big spaces as needed.
  11. Add another 1/4 of whipped cream spreading evenly. Next place about 1/3 of strawberries into dish, in a single layer. Then spread on about 1/3 of caramel.
  12. Repeat two more times: cookies, cream, strawberries, caramel; cookies, cream, strawberries, caramel. Top with remaining whipped coconut cream, and drizzle with chocolate.
  13. Cover dish and refrigerate overnight – or at least 4 hours. The longer the icebox cake sits, the more it cake-like it becomes. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

is the author of The Allergy-Free Cook series and specializes in baking recipe development. Visit, and follow her on Instagram at