Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Cake That's Better Than...Something

Most of us who enjoy cooking and eating passionately shun Cool Whip. But it's bound to show up in any number of easy dessert recipes that we are occasionally forced to eat and sometimes *gasp* actually enjoy.

Sue recently mentioned eating a dessert that mentions Robert Redford and sex and contained Cool Whip. I knew exactly what kind of cake she was talking about. It's called Better Than Sex Cake, which has a few variations called Better Than Robert Redford Cake and Better Than Tom Selleck Cake. The original Better Than Sex Cake consists of cake mix, Cool Whip, and instant pudding. The Robert Redford version has cream cheese. The Tom Selleck version also contains choclate pudding. There is also a version of Better Than Sex cake that uses chocolate cake mix, condensed milk, fudge sauce, and Heath bars.

I learned about all of these cakes from a wonderful cookbook (my all-time favorite dessert cookbook) called Gooey Desserts by Elaine Corn. It is a treasure trove of all things fattening and every recipe seems to drip butter, cream, and sugar. It contains many classic reciepes, but Corn does her best to improve on them and make them more homemade. It is my go-to book for banana cream pie and her variation on Better Than Sex Cake is always a hit at parties.

Corn provides the recipes in a sidebar for the classic variations on the recipe, but Corn's own version called Better Than Better Than Sex Cake (because how can anything really be better than sex? She's merely saying it's better than the original cake). It contains a homemade shortbread crust, homemade pudding, and fresh whipped cream. She does use jarred caramel sauce, although the book provides some good caramel sauce recipes as parts of other recipes. I usually don't bother.

Better Than Better Than Sex Cake

2 sticks butter
2 Tbl sugar
2 cups flour

Cream Cheese Layer
1 80z package softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup cream

Vanilla Pudding Layer
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbl butter

Whipped Cream Layer
1 1/2 cup cream
3 Tbl powdered sugar
1 Tbl vanilla extract

Pineapple Caramel Layer
1 8oz can crushed pineapple, drained
1 jar caramel sauce or chocolate sauce (optional)

Chocolate Glaze
2 oz semisweet chocolate
2 Tbl unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

Butter a 9x13" pan. Set rack in center of oven and preheat to 350.

Make crust: Beat butter and sugar until fluggy. Add flour, and with mixer on low, blend until mixture is pebbly and can be pressed together. Press mixture in bottom of pan and bake 20 minutes, or until golden.

Cream Cheese Layer: Beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice just to blend. In a separate bowl, whip cream to medium-stiff peaks. Fold a scoop of whipped cream into cream cheese mixture and then fold in remaining cream.

Vanilla Pudding Layer: Beat yolks and set aside in a place convenient to the stove.

Whisk sugar, flour, and milk in a medium saucepan until free of lumps. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, just to a boil.

Remove from heat and whisk a little of the hot pudding into the yolks and pour the yolk mixture back into the main mixture, whisking well. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until thick.

Pour pudding into bowl. Add vanilla and butter. Strain out any lumps if necessary.

Chill with a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface until ready to use.

Whipped Cream: In a cold bowl with cold beaters , whip all ingredients together to stiff peaks.

Assembly: Spread crust with cream cheese mixture. Top with pineapple then the caramel or chocolate sauce. Spread pudding over the pineapple and spread the whipped cream over the pudding. Drizzlle with chocolate glaze.

Glaze: Melt chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring until smooth and completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Drizzle over dessert in zig zag patterns.


Emiline said...

There's a guy that I work with that told me this was the best cake ever. He raved about it. It would be funny to make this, and bring it into work.

Sounds rich! Perfect for me.

I like the Better than Robert Redford version.

Sue said...

I'm so glad you found this. I LOVE that you can make it using real stuff, and not synthetic wax and polymerizing ethylene oxide.

Of course, that's not to say that this is in anyway healthy, but, at least, you're only hurting yourself and not altering your genes for future generations by using all that fake stuff.

I'm sticking with the Robert Redford name.

michelle @ thursday night smackdown. said...

holy jesus, i think i got three new cavities just reading the recipe!

isn't it about time to update the "better-than-tom-selleck" cake? maybe a "better-than-george-clooney"? or maybe we need to invent that one ourselves!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Well, I like to make trifles using marble pound cake, homemade chocolate pudding, raspberry jam, framboise liquer, and fresh raspberries, topped with fresh whipped cream. Sometimes I use sliced almonds and amaretto instead. That's a similar concept and it's better than a lot of the big screen meatheads out there.

Mansi Desai said...

Ok! now that's a cake that is surely going onto my to-do list!!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Wow, that sounds like some kind of cake! Wow! And I agree with Sue - better to eat naturally occuring bad for you food than chemicals!