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Toasty, slightly sweet Maria cookies were an after-school snack staple for Velez while growing up in The Bronx—here, she transforms those beloved cookies into an icebox cake, layered with a sweetly spiced cream filling, topped with luscious dulce de leche, and festooned with strawberries and flowers. Can’t find Maria cookies? Velez says that any variety of thin, crunchy cookie will be delicious here. Just don’t skimp on the time in the fridge; this cake tastes best when it has a night in the fridge.

Paola Velez


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary test

35 mins
10 hrs 35 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Lightly coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with a large piece of plastic wrap. Repeat with a second layer of plastic wrap, forming a “cross” with the first layer of plastic wrap so that all sides are evenly covered. In a food processor, grind 10 Maria cookies to form coarse crumbs; set cookie crumbs aside.

  • In a large bowl, combine cream, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, and spices. Using an immersion blender or electric mixer, beat cream mixture to medium-soft peaks, about 4 minutes. Fit a piping bag with a large tip and fold down the bag once or twice; fill with cream mixture, unfold the bag, and twist the bag for piping.

  • Layer enough whole Maria cookies to cover the bottom of the dish, arranging them with their embossed sides down. Pipe about 1½ cups of cream filling over the cookies and smooth top with an offset spatula. Sprinkle some cookie crumbs over the cream. Repeat the process 5 times more, ending with a final layer of Maria cookies. Refrigerate at least 6 hours (or up to overnight) to allow the cookies to soften.

  • Invert icebox cake onto your favorite serving plate and then open and lift off the springform pan. Carefully peel away the plastic wrap covering the icebox cake. Spread the top of the icebox cake with dulce de leche, leaving the outer perimeter of the cookies exposed. Garnish the icebox cake with strawberries and edible flowers, if desired. Enjoy!