Layers of gingersnap cookies and creamy caramel apple filling make up this delicious icebox cake that’s perfect for fall!

caramel apple gingersnap icebox cake on a plate

This recipe is sponsored by Challenge Dairy.

If you’re looking for a fun and unique dessert using traditional fall favorites, this caramel apple and gingersnap icebox cake is just the thing!

It’s rich and creamy, with layers of softened gingersnaps, caramel, and tender apple bits. Not only is it delicious and irresistible, but it’s easy too! And this make-ahead dish is perfect for dinner parties and holiday gatherings.

caramel apple gingersnap icebox cake with box of Challenge Butter

What is an icebox cake?

An icebox cake is simply a cake that sets up in the fridge, instead of the oven. Alternating layers of store-bought cookies soften as the cake chills, while the layers of creamy filling firm up. The dessert cuts easily into sturdy slices, and even looks a little like a layer cake.

This caramel apple and gingersnap icebox cake has 4 components:

  1. Buttery cinnamon apple pieces
  2. Easy caramel sauce
  3. Fluffy whipped cream filling
  4. Store-bought gingersnap cookies

This may seem like a lot of steps for one dessert, but I promise this icebox cake is easy to make. The hardest thing about this recipe is waiting for it to set up in the fridge!

caramel apple gingersnap icebox cake ingredients

Ingredients you’ll need

Let’s make an icebox cake! Here’s everything you’ll need (full recipe below):

  • Salted Challenge Butter
  • Apples
  • Light or dark brown sugar
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Full-fat cream cheese
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract
  • Store-bought gingersnap cookies

Why I bake with Challenge Butter

Delicious desserts start with quality ingredients, and that’s why I use Challenge Butter. I use both Salted Challenge Butter and Challenge Cream Cheese in this recipe, both of which are made with the freshest cream from happy cows from family-owned dairies.

Challenge Butter is churned fresh daily and ready to be shipped to the supermarket just 48 hours after milking. Their butter is always free of artificial preservatives, fillers and dyes, and their cows aren’t treated with growth hormones.

sautéing apples with butter and cinnamon
making caramel sauce

How to make this caramel apple and gingersnap icebox cake

1. Cook apples. Sauté apples in butter with cinnamon until soft, then set aside.

2. Make caramel sauce. In the same pan, cook butter, brown sugar, and heavy cream until smooth and thickened. Stir in vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Let cool to room temperature.

3. Whip filling. Beat cream cheese until smooth, then add heavy whipping cream a tablespoon at a time until mixture is thin like whipping cream. Add remaining heavy cream all at once and beat to medium peaks.

mixing filling with caramel and apples, and layering it into pan

4. Fold together cream, apples and caramel sauce. Add about half of the caramel sauce and all of the cooked apples to the mixing bowl and gently fold together with the whipped cream mixture.

5. Layer with gingersnap cookies. Line bottom of a 9×5 loaf pan with a single layer of gingersnap cookies, breaking them as needed to fit together. Top with about 1/3 of filling and drizzle with a spoonful of caramel sauce. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling, ending with the filling and final drizzle of caramel. I ended up 3 layers total.

6. Chill. Put in the fridge for at least 4 hours, and preferably 6 hours or overnight before serving.

Then, enjoy!

assembled caramel apple gingersnap icebox cake

Tips for this recipe

  • The best apples to use in this recipe are ones that are tart, firm, and won’t break down on the stove. Granny smith, jonagold, jonathan, gala, honeycrisp, and pink lady/cripps pink are all great varieties to choose from.
  • The apples should be about ¼-inch pieces so they’re small enough to meld into the filling.
  • Don’t rush adding the heavy cream into to the softened cream cheese. Beating it in only ∼a tablespoon at a time prevents it from breaking and becoming lumpy. Once the mixture is thin enough that it looks like heavy cream (about ½ cup cream mixed in), you can add the rest of the cream all at once.
  • Chilling this icebox cake for a it at least 4-6 hours ensures the cookies soften and the filling sets up to slice cleanly. Don’t skip this step!
  • You should have a little caramel sauce leftover to drizzle over slices of the cake when serving.

slice of caramel apple gingersnap icebox cake up close

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Caramel Apple and Gingersnap Ice Box Cake

Layers of gingersnap cookies and creamy caramel apple filling make up this delicious icebox cake that’s perfect for fall!
caramel apple gingersnap icebox cake with caramel in a jar
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5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

Apples:

  • 2 tablespoons Salted Challenge Butter (28 grams)
  • 2 cups peeled and cored apples chopped into ¼-inch pieces (2-3 apples, 226 grams)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Easy caramel sauce:

  • ¼ cup Salted Challenge Butter (56 grams)
  • ¾ cup packed light or dark brown sugar (160 grams)
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream (113 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt , or to taste

Creamy filling and assembly:

  • 4 oz Challenge Cream Cheese , softened to room temperature (113 grams)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream (455 grams)
  • About 10 oz store-bought gingersnap cookies (285 grams)

Instructions

To prepare the apples:

  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a pan set over medium heat. Add apples and cinnamon, and cook for 5-8 minutes until apples have softened, stirring often.
  • Transfer apples to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

To make easy caramel sauce:

  • In the same pan, melt remaining ¼ cup butter and whisk together with brown sugar and heavy cream. Bring to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring almost constantly, until sauce starts to thicken.
  • Remove pan from the heat an stir in vanilla and salt.
  • Let caramel cool completely to room temperature. To quickly cool caramel, pour it into a small bowl and set that bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice water and stir constantly for several minutes.

To make creamy filling and assemble ice box cake:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl and a hand-held mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.
  • While the mixer is running, add heavy whipping cream a tablespoon at a time to slowly incorporate it into the cream cheese so it stays smooth. Stop and scrape down the bowl as needed. Once enough cream has been added (about ½ a cup) that the mixture is liquid, add the rest all at once. Beat cream mixture on medium high speed until it holds soft peaks.
  • Add half of the easy caramel sauce and all of the apples to the bowl and gently fold into the whipped cream mixture until combined.
  • Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, if desired. Spread an even layer of gingersnap cookies on the bottom of the pan, breaking them into pieces as needed to create a complete layer.
  • Add ⅓ of caramel whipped cream mixture on top of the gingersnaps and spread into an even layer. Drizzle with more caramel sauce. Repeat 2 more times until there are 3 total layers of gingersnaps, creamy filling, and caramel sauce.
  • Chill in the fridge for 4-6 hours before serving.
  • To serve, remove cake from pan with the help of the parchment paper and slice, or scoop cake out of the pan with a spoon. Top servings with a generous drizzle of the remaining caramel sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 499kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 36g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 112mg, Sodium: 266mg, Potassium: 210mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 25g, Vitamin A: 1253IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 89mg, Iron: 2mg
Have you tried this recipe?I’d love to hear about it! Leave a review below or take a photo and tag it on Instagram @completelydelicious with #completelydelicious.

Disclosure: This recipe was created in partnership with Challenge Dairy, Inc. Thank you for supporting partnerships with brands I love and believe in, which make Completely Delicious possible. All opinions are always 100% my own. To learn more about Challenge Dairy, you can visit their website here. You can also find them on facebookinstagramyoutube, and pinterest.