My mom has this dessert that she makes called the good dessert. I think it’s kinda boring, it’s all from boxes/tubs, and the flavors don’t especially work well or compliment each other. It’s a layer of not really shortbread with nuts, cream cheese, pistachio pudding, chocolate pudding, and Cool Whip (yes, Cool. Whip.) topped with more chopped nuts. But Bulldog LOVES it. He always requests it. I guess it’s one of those desserts that has a nostalgic thing going for it.
Anyway, I made it and threw in some secret ingredients – namely 3 Tbsp powdered sugar and about 3 Tbsp more butter, and adjusted the ratios of each layer a little bit, and apparently I hit the nail on the head, because the entire dish was gone by the end of the meal! So here’s the recipe:
The Good Dessert
1/2 stick butter
1 cup AP flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnut, toasted
Melt the butter and mix the above together and press into the bottom of an 8 x 8 pan. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, til it’s barely golden, and allow to cool completely. You just don’t want it to get soggy when you pile the rest on top.
1 8 oz brick cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 8 oz tub Cool Whip
Beat the above together and spread about 3/4 of on top of the shortbread layer once it has cooled.
Pistacio instant pudding mix
Chocolate instant pudding mix
4 cups milk
Prepare each pudding mix and spread about 3/4 of each on top of the cream cheese layer, pistachio then chocolate is how we like it.
Top with the rest of the Cool Whip and more chopped toasted nuts (about 1/2 cup). This is the good dessert. Done.
And now for the carrot cake. I used Rose Levy Beranbaum’s recipe form Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, and adapted her Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting (aka ganache) to fit the type of frosting my mom likes. I was debating whether to use her recipe or the one from Best New Recipes, and I decided to use their method, which involves making an emulsion of the wet ingredients to avoid and dense sinky bottom, with her ingredients. It worked great and this is definitely a great old fashioned carrot cake. I also added some nutmeg and cloves like in the BNR recipe.
Rose’s Carrot Cake from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes
2 2/3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup minus 2 tbs light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups canola or safflower oil
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups shredded carrots
Toast about a cup of nuts (I threw those in instead of raisins) and chop them, then toss with 2 Tbsp flour.
While they toast, shred a pound of carrots. Grate some extra to snack on – it’s better than snacking on batter!
Gather your dry ingredients – yes, that is cocoa powder, the secret ingredient that makes it taste old fashioned in an awesome way!
See how everything is all nicely and neatly gathered? The OCD monster in my head is satisfied.
Now here’s the magical part. Process the wet, excluding the oil, in the food processor until frothy. With the processor on, drizzle in the oil, like when you’re making mayo, and process until it lightens in color. This is your emulsion! Now you can pour it into a normal mixing bowl and continue like with any other cake. Bake at 350 for 45 – 55 minutes, until spongy on top and just barely beginning to pull away from the pan at the sides. Cool for about 10 minutes, then depan!
Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting
9 oz white chocolate melted
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
12 oz cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp vanilla or almond extract
I threw in couple of cups of powdered sugar, since that’s the way my mom likes it, plus it was very runny
Beat everything together until combined!
This cake is dense, but in a good way. It’s not overly sugary, and the spice mix (I threw in 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/8 tsp cloves like in the BNR carrot cake) was not overpowering. Everything seemed to work very well together, and the cocoa powder is the secret! Do NOT leave it out! It makes it awesome!!