This rich and creamy Chocolate Delight has a nutty pecan shortbread crust, a decadent cream cheese layer, homemade chocolate pudding, and luscious whipped cream!

This Chocolate Pudding Dessert is typically made with instant pudding and Cool Whip. My homemade version of this layered dessert nixed the boxed pudding and fake whipped cream and is pure bliss.

Chocolate delight on a square white plate with a raspberry and mint garnish.

Why You’ll Love this Layered Dessert

  • It’s made totally from scratch so no artificial flavorings or chemicals!
  • If you like creamy desserts, this will rock your world!
  • The pecan crust is a delicious base with a texture that complements the luscious toppings.

How to Make

  1. Make, bake and cool the crust.
  2. While the crust is cooling, make the homemade chocolate pudding, cover it with plastic wrap, and chill.
  3. When the pudding is cool, make the cream cheese layer.
  4. Layer the cream cheese mixture over the crust, then the pudding, then sweetened whipped cream.
  5. Chill before serving. Slice into squares and garnish with raspberries and mint or chocolate curls or shavings.
Fluffy Chocolate Dessert garnishes.
Homemade Chocolate Curls circa 2013

Expert Tips

  • Most recipes for this dessert call for instant pudding and Cool Whip. You can substitute the top two layers with these shortcuts, but my homemade version will taste better.
  • Pull your cream cheese out of the refrigerator at least an hour before using it to soften at room temperature.
  • Placing a layer of plastic wrap directly on the pudding’s surface while it chills will prevent a skin from forming on top.
  • Use an offset spatula to spread the layers. It will assist in making smoother, more level surfaces.
  • Garnish with grated chocolate, chocolate curls or berries, and a sprig of mint if serving to company. Check out this Triple Chocolate Cheesecake recipe to learn how to make chocolate curls.
  • Chill your dessert well before slicing. Even better is to put it in the freezer for about an hour to help the layers firm up. Make sure to wipe off your knife between each slice for the nicest appearance.

How to Make Perfect Chocolate Curls

To make the chocolate curls, I melted 3 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate with 1 tablespoon of shortening. I spread this out on the back of a sheet pan….nearly covering the whole surface. The layer should be thin, but not translucent. I popped it in the freezer for 2-3 minutes. My chocolate was a little too hard when I pulled it out, but it was curling consistency after a minute or so at room temperature.

I took my bench scraper (but you could use a metal spatula with a very straight/sharped-edged scooping end), to scrape off chocolate curls. Not every piece was perfect, but the leftover shards could still be used for garnishing. I found this technique on Pioneer Woman’s blog. This technique is much more successful than my former method with a vegetable peeler.

Chocolate delight square on a white plate with a red fork and a bite removed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Chocolate Delight?

Chocolate Delight is a fluffy layered dessert made with layers of pudding, Cool Whip, and a cream cheese mixture on a pecan crust. It’s also known as Better Than Sex Cake, Better Than Best Cake, Next Best Thing to Robert Redford,  and Robert Redford Dessert.

How Can You Tweak a Chocolate Delight Recipe?

You can revert back to the retro recipe and use instant pudding. Try two boxes of chocolate pudding or one box of chocolate and one box of vanilla. A graham cracker crust is a yummy alternative to the pecan crust, especially nice if serving to someone with a nut allergy.
Plus, you can shake up how you garnish the slices to serve. Berries and mint are always an eye-catching option, but I’ve also made chocolate curls or chocolate shavings.

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Layered chocolate dessert on a white square ceramic plate with raspberry garnish

Chocolate Delight from Scratch Recipe

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Yield 16

A dreamy chocolate dessert with a pecan shortbread crust, chocolate pudding layer and a whipped cream cheese topping!

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 3 ounces pecans (toasted)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the pudding layer:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate (coarsely chopped)
  • 1-ounce milk chocolate (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

For the cream cheese layer:

  • 1 pound cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the whipped cream topping:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Chocolate shavings or curls and berries (for garnish, if desired)

Instructions

To make the crust:

1. Place the pecans and sugar in a food processor and pulse together till pecans are finely chopped.

2. Add butter and vanilla and pulse till combined, then add the flour and salt and pulse until just mixed.

3. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a 9 x 9-inch pan with non-stick foil.

5. Press the chilled dough into the baking dish.

6. Prick the dough with a fork and bake for 10 minutes or till lightly golden.
                                                                                                 
7. Cool the crust while preparing the remaining layers.

To make the pudding layer:

1. Heat the cream for the pudding in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.

2. Stir together the sugar and egg yolks in a mixing bowl.                                                                                                                

3. When the cream just starts to simmer, slowly add about half the hot cream into the egg mixture while whisking vigorously.                                                                            

4. Then stir the egg mixture back into the cream.

5. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

6. Place chocolates in a mixing bowl with butter, vanilla, and salt.

7. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate and butter are melted.  

8. Pour the pudding into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.

9. Pop pudding in the refrigerator to cool while preparing the other layers..

To make the cream cheese layer:

1. In a small mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, vanilla, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar together until smooth.

To make the whipped cream topping:

1. Whip the cream to soft peaks, then add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and vanilla and whip, until stiff peaks form.

To assemble:

1. Spread the cream cheese over the cooled shortbread crust, top with the pudding, and then spread on the whipped cream.

2. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

3. Garnish with chocolate curls and berries if desired.



Notes

If you're short on time, you can revert back to the semi-homemade version by using instant chocolate pudding and Cool Whip.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 715Total Fat: 52gSaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 135mgSodium: 422mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 3gSugar: 20gProtein: 8g

Thatskinnychickcanbake.com occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although thatskinnychickcanbake.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe. Also, many recipes on thatskinnychickcanbake.com recommend toppings, which may or may not be listed as optional and nutritional information for these added toppings is not listed. Other factors may change the nutritional information such as when the salt amount is listed “to taste,” it is not calculated into the recipe as the amount will vary. Also, different online calculators can provide different results. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate.

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