Saturday, November 22, 2008

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layered Dessert

A layered pudding dessert with a shortbread type crust, topped with a peanut butter cream cheese layer, then pudding and topped with whipped topping.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layered Dessert

I'm pretty sure the dessert was born out of the 70s, and like all the other layered desserts, it has the press in crust, the layers of cream cheese and pudding and topped with whipped cream. The one difference is that this one has peanuts and peanut butter and if you love peanut butter, you will adore this version.

Perfect for big events, parties, potlucks and the like, back in the day it was known as Jimmy Carter Cake. If you're not a fan of the namesake, don't let that discourage you from trying this dessert, because frankly it is awesome. Just name it something else!

I don’t really know why these types of desserts have been referred to over the years as a "cake" because there isn't anything cakey about it, although a version has popped up in more recent years that does include an actual cake layer now, instead of the classic shortbread type crust. That of course is marvelous, so I've included that one as well. It's a delicious dessert, perfect any time of the year, so let's get started making it shall we? Here's how.

Chop up 2/3 cup of peanuts, mix them with a cup of flour and cut in a stick of cold butter, press that into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool completely. This produces a very thin bottom crust. If you like your crust a bit more substantial, and especially if your pan is slightly larger, you will probably need to make a 1-1/2 to double bottom crust.

Cream together a cup of peanut butter, a block of cream cheese and a cup of powdered sugar and layer that on top of the crust. Don't you just want a spoon of that peanutty goodness right there? Guess what? You can! This actually makes a great dip for fruit. Loosen it up with a little cream, half and half of milk to desired consistency then serve with some cut up fruit. Yummy!

Whisk the two puddings together and then whisk in the milk. Spread that on top of the peanut butter layer. I forgot to grab a picture of that peanut butter layer by itself...oops! But you get the picture, right?

Spread that pudding layer completely out over that peanut butter layer. (Don't you hate how grainy looking instant pudding can be?)

Now, whip up the heavy cream - or use Cool Whip - and spread that creamy, sweet decadence all over the top of that pudding layer.

Sprinkle some extra chopped nuts all over the top.

Use a microplane grater to finely grate some good dark chocolate on top.

Scatter some cherries around on top if you like. Go ahead, do it. You know you want to. They look too cute! You can use a variety of garnishes with this too of course - coarsely chopped mini peanut butter cups are cute, but chocolate curls, grated chocolate, chocolate or peanut butter chips - let your imagination run with it!

Stick the whole thing in the fridge to set and chill for several hours before serving. If you can stand it. I'll bet you won't be able to.

Recipe: Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layered Dessert

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 30 min |Inactive time: 6 hours | Yield: About 12 servings

  • 2/3 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted cold butter
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 small package instant pudding, vanilla flavor
  • 1 small package instant pudding, chocolate flavor
  • 2-3/4 cup whole milk
  • Optional Garnishes: Coarsely chopped miniature peanut butter cups, chopped peanuts, Chocolate for curls or grating, chocolate or peanut butter chips and/or Maraschino cherries

Combine peanuts and flour and cut in butter; press out into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes; set aside and cool completely. Put crust in fridge to chill further. May also prepare with a chocolate cake mix layer, see cook's notes below.

Cream the peanut butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar together. Carefully spread on top of the crust layer. Put in fridge to chill.

Whisk puddings together, add milk and whisk for about 2 minutes or until pudding begins to thicken. Carefully spread pudding on top of the peanut butter & cream cheese layer, taking care not to disturb the peanut butter layer. Put in fridge to chill.

Chill mixer bowl and beater in the freezer. Whip heavy cream on medium low speed until it begins to thicken. Add sugar, increase speed to medium high and whip until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat. Carefully spread the whipped cream over the pudding layer taking care not to disturb the pudding layer. Garnish as desired. Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight before serving.

Cook's Notes: This produces a very thin bottom crust. If you like your crust a bit more substantial, and especially if your pan is slightly larger, you will probably need to make a 1-1/2 to double bottom crust. A non-dairy topping such as Cool Whip can be substituted here – if so, omit the heavy cream and sugar and simply spread the topping out on top of the pudding layer. For testing purposes, I used regular salted Planter's dry roasted peanuts, White Lily flour, Jif creamy peanut butter, Philadelphia cream cheese and Jello brand instant pudding.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layered Cake Version: Combine the contents of a (15.25 ounce) dark chocolate cake mix, using one stick of softened butter and a large egg. Press into the bottom of the 13 x 9 inch pan, and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, letting cool completely. Proceed with layering as above.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on September 11, 2012
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  1. What have you done to me!!! I had something like this at a Road House restaurant and it has haunted me ever since. I haven't really looked for the recipe because I was afraid to find it. I'm not very strong. And now you've gone and done it. Bad Girl.

  2. LOL um, what?? I have no idea what you're talkin' about... this must be the work of my evil and very thin alter ego who is makin' all these delicious temptations!!!!! It could never be me.... ;)

  3. My mom makes this.
    It is amazing.
    And now I know how to make it.
    Her secret goodness is no longer a secret.


    Amber Neely

  4. LOL Amber .... you'll just have to tell her that you figured it out on your own! It definitely is a winner and great for a pot luck or a party. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Hey I tried to subscribe but it says you don't have a feed. :[

    I'm following you instead...this is going to really hurt my waistline but I can't help myself. GAH!

  6. Hi Brandy LOL - glad to have you as a follower! I think Feedburner's been doing some upgrades and have had periodic down times the past few days. Thanks for stopping by and letting me know - it shows feeds when I click on it right now so hopefully it's resolved.

  7. That looks divine! And you're right... when I saw the picture I instantly thought... "I've made that before."

    But I was wrong.

    Dead wrong.

    I can't wait to try this peanut variation. I love anything peanutty. I am even growing peanuts here in my part of the South. Not being the Deep South, but the Southwest. Mmmmmmmmm.....

    Thanks! I'll let you know when I try it, blog it, and certainly reference your fabulous post.

  8. Trish, can't wait to see what you think!

  9. I found your blog a few weeks ago. I don't really remember how, but I am glad I did. I made your Jimmy Carter Cake this weekend for my famaly's 4th of July cook out and it was a huge hit! I left with an empty pan. Thanks for the awsome recipe. I can not wait try several more from your blog that I have book marked.

  10. Hi Renea! I just LOVE this dessert. Thanks for coming back to let me know how it was received!! So many people pretty much just pass by, so I love hearing from readers.

    If you're interested, you can also subscribe at or there's an email subscription in the left hand sidebar.

  11. That looks good! I swiped the recipe... Thank You!!!

    I thikn I'll fix that for our son's party tomorrow. :-) So I better get started.

    ~ Susan

  12. Don't be scared ladies - it isn't that hard - I made it and I am a 30 year old snow-plow-drivin man from Amish Country, Ohio.

    Though I think the name should be updated to Obama Pudding - half chocolate, half vanilla and NUTS!

    hahaha Thanks Mary.

    1. and he was the best president EVER - YOU ARE MOST LIKELY "MIXED" AS MOST PEOPLE ARE!

  13. I've made several versions of layered dessert recipe and this one definitely goes on the MUST TRY list! yum-yum!

  14. They are all good aren't they? I love this one with the peanut butter.

  15. I would like to know if anyone knows who actually created the Jimmy Carter Cake? I have someone claiming their Grandmother created it yet I have seen thisrecipe going around in many versions for years and years. It is agreat dessert but to blatantly claim creative ownership of something is something I find hinky.

    1. I believe it was popular back in the late 70s and may have picked up the name because Jimmy Carter was president then and happened to be a peanut farmer. As to how the actual dessert started, I would guess it dates back to the 50s since instant Jello pudding showed up in the late 30s, but I sure haven't a clue as to who made these layered desserts up, other than the Jello company, so afraid I can't help much on whether your friend's grandmother had a hand in it!


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