Tuesday, July 13, 2010


It's not very often I prepare things that come out of boxes or containers and feed them to people. For instance, one of the most beloved cakes we make in our family calls for a box cake mix to start (horrors!) Yet I'm on a mission to find a "from scratch" recipe that will taste the same (or better)! I know - there's nothing really WRONG with it, but somehow it just seems healthier to NOT dump something out of a box, manipulate it a bit and serve...

Such a corny name, but what would you call it?

Another favorite recipe also calls for "boxes" and "containers". Four Layer Delight. The original recipe includes instant chocolate pudding and Cool Whip. Yes, it could be worse - and I could instead make my own chocolate pudding and sweetened whip cream. But the way we've made it for years is with Jello pudding and Cool Whip. So why make it more complicated?

The crust alone would be a yummy cookie!!

Mmmm... cream cheese and powdered sugar

Four Layer Delight is a dessert my mom has been making for just about as long as I can remember. And until this weekend, I thought it was something we only ate in our family. Then I Googled it. Here I thought no one would know what I was talking about if I said "four layer delight" but apparently it's not as original as I thought.

Yes you could make a complicated homemade chocolate
pudding - but this is instant

It's such a perfect summer dessert 'cuz it's fast and easy, it's cool, and it can be made way in advance. The way we make it (which I think happens to be the most common, though I did see a butterscotch version) is:

Layer 1..... Pecan shortbread crust
Layer 2..... Sweetened cream cheese
Layer 3..... Chocolate pudding
Layer 4..... Cool Whip sprinkled with nuts

Aw Nuts!

It was difficult to pause and take this picture - yes I was eating it

Ok maybe you call that five layers? Do the nuts count?
Heck though, I'm not counting. It's too refreshingly yummy delicious!!

Four Layer Delight:

1 1/4 c flour
3 T powdered sugar
1 cup ground nuts
1 cube salted butter, melted
1-8oz cream cheese (low-fat ok)
1 cup powdered sugar
1-8oz container Cool Whip (light or fat free ok)
2 small (3.9 oz) boxes instant chocolate pudding
2 cups milk (skim ok)

Mix the 3 T of powdered sugar, flour and nuts in a 9x13 pan. Add melted butter. Mix & press into the pan. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees - until brown. Let cool completely. Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1 cup Cool Whip and spread over the cooled crust. Combine chocolate pudding with milk, beat until thick and spread over. Top with remaining Cool Whip and ground nuts. Let sit in the fridge for at least a couple hours.


  1. Mmmmm, this looks super yummy! Wow!

  2. I'm pleased that I cannot make this - purely for the fact that we don't have many of those cake box mixes here - its very limited and definitely no cool whip. It does look very, very good though.

  3. Lise, I think the dessert is yummy but have never been able to eat Cool Whip. Whipping up my own cream is easy and tastes very good, too!

  4. For years in our amily this has been called Sex in a Pan...not really sure why but it is really good

  5. My favorite dessert! I grew up with this. We call is Cream Cloud though. Gorgeous photos!

  6. My family makes four layer delight every year for Easter, with one big difference-instead of chocolate pudding we use pistachio. It's AMAZING! Also, when I introduced this dessert to my husband he whined about not having real whipped cream until he tried it. It just doesn't taste the same without Cool Whip!

  7. Thanks for posting this! I've been trying forever to get my Mom's recipe for this cake. In our family it was oh so undescriptively named "Barb's Cake" because my Mom got the recipe from a woman named Barb!

  8. Up here in Alaska, they serve this recipe at the famous Double Musky restaurant as "Cajun Delight." It was my birthday cake for several years! The Double Musky recipe book recommends mixing instant chocolate and vanilla pudding for the pudding layer, though, so it's a little different.

  9. I'm speechless. It looks so refreshing!

  10. My mom used to make this all the time when I was a kid, except she used walnuts instead of pecans. IT WAS MY FAVORITE!!!! Over the years, I had totally forgotten about Four Layer Dessert (as she called it). I was so happy to read this post, thanks for re-introducing me to a long lost love!

  11. I love hearing about all your different "Four Layer Delight" stories! I particularly love hearing what other people call it! "Four Layer Delight" sounds so... pedestrian. I wanna make it sound fancy but can't possible fancy up the word pudding. Ha!

  12. Sex in a pan... that is what it was under the table called at my friends house growing up. Of course, around us kids, they'd call it chocolate delight! Yum!

  13. how much is a cube of butter?

  14. A cube of butter is the same as a stick, 8 Tablespoons, or 4 ounces. All the same.

  15. My friend from Texas calls it Lush.
    Here in Alaska it's called Cajun Delight.
    Another friend makes it with pistachio and calls it Ty Pie because we would eat it every Sunday while we watched Ty Pennington on Extreme Home Make-Over.