Better than Robert Redford Dessert + VIDEO

This sinfully delicious, 4-layer, no-bake cake is officially known as Better than Robert Redford Dessert. Now why would they call it that? See this recipe MADE ON VIDEO  HERE.

  Better than Robert Redford Dessert from
With the recent engagement and impending nuptials (2009) of Robert Redford to his long-time girlfriend, Sibylle Szaggars, I guess we can say Robert is officially off-the-meat-market.

Sorry ladies. Those of you who have been holding out for a date with this handsome, iconic, movie star, are going to have to look elsewhere for love. Sigh.

However, if you feel the need to wallow in your grief this cake is for you! It is officially known as Better Than Robert Redford Dessert. Apparently this sweet treat is superior to the previous Robert Redford Dessert that once made the recipe circuit.

Although I cannot vouch for the original, this version is decadence with a capital "D". It is also the lazy girl's version of "real baking" as it does not require any prior cooking knowledge, skill or time to whip up. It's almost as simple as my Peanut Butter-Chocolate Icebox Cake or my Hawaiian Dream Cup Desserts. This is also one of those simple desserts even the cooking novice can put together. Simple ingredients, with unbelievable taste.

It's perfect for the upcoming summer, served cold, and perfect for a warm evening. Your sweet tooth will not be disappointed. 

If Robert Redford is not your heartthrob of the moment (him and I do share a birthday), maybe we could call it, "Better Than Johnny Depp Dessert" or "Brad Pitt" even. Fill in whatever celebrity you are swooning for at the moment and imagine this dessert is better.

It's so good, it just might work.

Now let's put these celebrities out of our minds and get to work!

In a medium bowl add 1 cup of flour, 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted unsalted butter.

Mix until fully incorporated.  Add this to a 13 x 9 baking dish that has been prepared with cooking spray,

Press the mixture into the pan with the help of the back of a measuring cup or just use your fingers.  Make sure you pat the mixture down well, until the crust spreads to all areas of the pan.

Place in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Cool completely when done.

In another bowl, beat 8 ounces of softened cream cheese and 1 cup of confectioner's sugar until smooth.

Fold half the whipped topping into the cream cheese-sugar mixture.

Spread the cream cheese-sugar-whipped topping mixture over the cooled crust. Make sure you lick the spoon and the bowl because it's so good.

Prepare 2 boxes of instant vanilla pudding (3.4 ounces each) using 2 cups of the milk.

Spread the vanilla pudding evenly over the cream cheese layer. It's easiest if you put the large blob of pudding in the middle and then spread out to the sides.

Now prepare 2 boxes of instant chocolate pudding (3.4 ounces each) using another 2 cups of milk.

Now, I know what you are thinking...yes, it's an odd looking picture...but IT"S PUDDING!  Get over it and spread it evenly over the vanilla pudding layer.

Spread the remaining whipped topping over the chocolate layer.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

While you are waiting, you can make chocolate shavings or curls for the cake. I place my unwrapped chocolate bar on a plate, on top of the refrigerator or under a light for about an hour before I start shaving it.

Using my vegetable peeler I turn the chocolate on it's side and make shaving motions in a direction away from myself. I place the pieces on aluminum foil or wax paper as they come off the peeler. I cannot make those beautiful curls we have all seen in magazines so I stick with shavings. For the size above, you need a fairly large hunk of chocolate. Milk chocolate seems to work the best.

If you do not have access to a large hunk of chocolate you can use a 2 ounce bar and just make small shavings.  I like to use both dark and milk for this cake to vary the flavors. Just use the best chocolate you can, either milk or dark or both.

After refrigerating the cake, sprinkle with more coarsely chopped walnuts and chocolate shavings.  Use lots, it's more dramatic that way. Plus you are drowning your sorrows in Robert Redford's wedding day bliss so just sprinkle away!

When you're done eating this, you will never think of Robert Redford again. You will be in a sugar coma trance.

A happy one that is.........

Better than Robert Redford Dessert
You just can't go wrong with this dessert, it's Better Than Robert Redford...remember!


Better than Robert Redford Dessert

Print Recipe

Better than Robert Redford Dessert

Recipe from: Adapted lightly from Family Circle | Serves: 12-14


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, plus more for top of cake
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar (not granulated, as is mistakenly shown in the picture)
  • 1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 boxes (3.4 ounces each) instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 boxes (3.4 ounces each) instant chocolate pudding
  • Chocolate, milk or dark to make chocolate shavings


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a medium-size bowl, mix flour, walnuts and butter. Pat into prepared dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool completely.
  • In a bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioner's sugar until smooth. Fold in half of the whipped topping. Spread over cooled crust.
  • Prepare vanilla pudding using 2 cups of the milk. Spread over cream cheese layer. Prepare chocolate pudding with remaining 2 cups milk. Spread over the vanilla pudding layer. Spread remaining whipped topping over pudding. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Sprinkle with nuts and chocolate shavings. Cut into squares.

Post a Comment


  1. nina 1

    I also think he was a hunk, but sadly have reached his sell by date. This dessert however is true decadence.

  2. April in CT 2

    My step mother originally gave me this recipe and it’s the best. thing. EVAH. It should be illegal it’s so good.

  3. Neen 3

    So I skimmed through the photos before reading your post, and my heart sank. “There’s another one of these Daring Baker types that are capable of spending whole days in the kitchen pulling of sophisticated deserts that would take me a week to complete.” Then I read your post, and nearly laughed out loud. A novice really CAN do that! Wow! I can just see guests’ eyes bugging out now…

  4. Philly 4

    Oh my sweet lord, I so have to make this,,,thank you, thank you , thank you

  5. If by “better than Johnny Depp” you mean not quite so liberal or not into playing odd characters, I might believe you. If, however, you mean better topped with whipped cream, well, I can’t say I’d know for sure. We’ll just have to imagine whether or not that’s the case. Let’s have a moment of silence for that purpose, shall we?

  6. Another YUMMY dessert! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Fantastic looking cake! I never have the patience to make chocolate curls… heh. I really should, they look so pretty.

  8. Steph 8

    That looks awesome. I don’t usually like to make desserts, but this one looks so easy, I will have to try it! Thanks!!

  9. Hmmm…better than Johnny Depp? I’m not too sure about that one, but I think I’d better make this recipe and eat half of it just to be sure.

  10. Harmony 10

    Hmmm…now all I have to do is think of a celebrity to swoon over, and I am set!

  11. Wow, that is one mishmash of awesome flavours! Sounds incredible.

  12. This post brought a smile to my face. I made this probably like 20 years ago. I changed the name to “Better than Tom Cruise” at the time because RR didn’t seem like the hot, sexy thing to me at that age. I’ve also heard it referred to as “Better than Sex.” I remember this being a quite delicious dessert! Thanks for the flashback :)

  13. grace 13

    good heavens. gooooood heavens. first of all, melted butter is gorgeous. secondly, mr redford’s a bit old for me, but i’m no ageist–he’s a sexy man. finally, kudos to you for giving us a recipe for something nice to look at and even better to scarf down.

  14. I have been in love with him ever since I saw “Barefoot in the Park” – and I hadn’t even been born when the movie was released. haha
    That is a beautiful dessert, Cathy. Make sure you cut my slice big, please.

  15. Dillon 15

    Very nice looking vanilla custard, just looking at it makes me hungry. Awesome.

  16. sharon 16

    As always, great pictures! I’ve always laughed a little at the name of this dessert. I believe I’ve only had the standard Robert Redford cake, so I could only imagine how delicious the “Better Than” version must be!

  17. Lara 17

    Oh, my! That looks amazing.

    My 10-year-old niece thinks the word “pudding” is HILARIOUS. I asked her if she thought any other word had such power to make her laugh, and she thought for a moment before saying, “I dunno. I think ‘soap’ is pretty funny, too.”


  18. Kim 18

    Looks yummy, as soon as I am done polishing off the Opera Cake ,I would be ready for your chocolate cake.

  19. Julena Jo 19

    Nina’s very first comment made me laugh aloud at work! I’m a librarian, for heaven’s sake. I cannot be laughing aloud at work! Then I read Lara’s comment about her niece who thinks “pudding” is hilarious. I crack up at “slacks.” I can’t even type it without giggling like a lunatic. I hope I don’t get written up for this! Thanks, everyone! (Great recipe, btw.)

  20. stunning and absolutely delicious. I’m ready for seconds.

    Thanks for the tip about chilling the chocolate before shaving – wouldn’t have figured on my own!

    Thanks for visiting my blog – love the fun and great recipes on your….

  21. Better than Johnny Depp? That is pretty amazing dessert. I’ll withhold judgement until this weekend. I think renting Chocolat and eating a piece of the dessert will surely clear this up.

  22. Don’t know which I like better – your recipes or your photos of them!
    Looks like something definitly NOT on any diet!

  23. These look amazing. Are you sure they’re fat free? Just like the banana/peanutbutter/chocolate muffins? I can have as many as I want?

    Bless you!

  24. Alisa 24

    Can I just eat this for the rest of my life? Yum.

  25. Tipper 25

    My Mom makes something like this-except without the chocolate parts-its called Holy Smoke Cake. I think the chocolate would only make it better!

  26. Deborah 26

    That first picture had me. I need a slice of this NOW!

  27. Dear God. I’ll never get out of the stretchy pants.

  28. Medena 28

    …the picture started loading so slow, first the chocolate shavings, then nuts, then layers, and layers of goodness!!!
    Almost better than Johnny Depp too :)

  29. I think a side-by-side comparison of the man himself, then a bit of the cake would help to see if the name is deserved. ;) This cake looks decadent!

  30. Chou 30

    Yum. And you know the research chefs at Kraft foods are dancing in their kitchens with joy, right? (They’re a nice bunch, no worries)

  31. pam 31

    Definitely better than Robert Redford, probably even better than Clint Eastwood.

  32. In case you’re trying hard to think of your blessings today, let me help. I live thousands of miles and an ocean away from you. If I didn’t, I’d be at your front door nearly every day with an excuse hoping you’d want me to try some of your wonderful ideas.

  33. Jules 33

    Ok…this is seriously looking good! No calories right?

  34. Claudia 34

    Show me a Johnny Depp desert and I’ll happily give up my diet. Until then….I can’t see you, I can’t see you, I can’t see you…..

  35. Brooke in WI 35

    YUM! I make something similar but instead of white sugar, I use powdered sugar. And only one layer of pudding. Thanks for the suped up version!

  36. Redford’s boobs are a little small for my taste but I think an adolescent Wine Tasting Guy may have had a man-crush on Roy Hobbs of The Natural ;)

    But this dessert looks fabulous Cathy. Kind of a shame that as much as I love to cook & love my sweets I so rarely venture to baking. If/when I do, I know what recipe I’ll be trying. THANKS!

  37. I will put the paramedics on speed dial and then get to it!

  38. Kevin 38

    Nuts, whipped cream, vanilla pudding, chocolate pudding, more whipped cream, nuts and chocolate…mmm… That looks so decadent and good!

  39. ALF 39

    I am so not a fan of dessert. I would rather eat potato chips. Is that weird?

  40. Bear 40

    My grandmother made this on holidays for as long as I can remember but I am not sure she knew this name for it. She certainly did see RR in a car right next to her in Memorial Day traffic once, loved to tell the tale, and I think she would have liked the name.

  41. I’m new to this whole blogging thing, but this is better than the cooking show and I can go to work while reading up on a new recipe

  42. I think I am calling this better than Kevin Kostner cake:D

  43. Flea 43

    Originally I thought the yellow layer was lemon. Can I substitute lemon pudding for the vanilla? Do you think that would work?

    And Redford’s been looking rode hard and put away wet lately.

  44. Lori 44

    Mmmmm, so many ingredients that I love! :)

  45. Daisy 45

    Holy Moly. I’ve got all the ingredients in my cupboards and fridge. This is definitely next on my list when I get back in the kitchen.

  46. This is why I work out. I made the peanut butter cookies. They were gone in minutes . . . and I only ate ONE!

  47. Oh my God – you’re killing me! This looks amazing and I love the chocolate curls on top. x

  48. I want this. NOW. The only thing more wonderful than its decadence is its simplicity. Lord help me, I’m going to weigh a thousand tons… (and just for the record, I’ll always think of it as *Almost As Good As George Clooney* Dessert)

  49. Jeff 49

    Drool….looks awesome! I especially love the chocolate shaving and never thought of using my vegetable peeler.

  50. Julena Jo 50

    Johnny Depp. Dessert. Johnny Depp. Dessert. Johnny Depp. Dessert….

  51. Indigo 51

    This dessert is better than any man; I could just gobble up that top picture. OOF, yes please.

  52. Elle 52

    This. Looks. Fabulous! And no bake? Makes it even better!

  53. That sounds incredible. I’ll have to try it.

  54. That is one gorgeous dessert! Great photos . . . but I’m sure digging in with an extremely large spoon is even more satisfying than drooling on my computer screen.

  55. Mike 55

    I love how it looks–so many distinct layers of deliciousness. Save a piece for me

  56. I’m sending you the bill for the short-circuit in my keyboard caused by drooling.

    Count me among those who will only be convinced it’s better than Johnny Depp by doing a side-by-side comparison.

  57. Egghead 57

    As usual this looks soooo good. I choose to call it the Better Than Tom Selleck. I once told my husband I wanted to wear my nightgown with Tom Selleck on it wrong side out so that I could say I was sleeping with Tom. He didn’t laugh.

  58. HoneyB 58

    How about better than Grumpy? lol. Must be love, can’t nobody compare to him for me. The cake however, looks really rich and decadent!

  59. Stacy 59

    Oh my gosh . . . seriously . . . why do I keep seeing all these awesome desserts at the same time I decided to go on a diet? You’re killing me.

  60. Shirley 60

    This is very similar to a dessert I made years ago, but with lemon pudding. Chocolate is always better! I will definitely make it soon. Oh, and I did love Robert Redford back in the day and I think he still looks remarkable for his age. Hadn’t heard about his impending nuptials. Any excuse to eat this dessert, right?

  61. Mrs. L 61

    Oh Good Lord, that pretty much looks better than any guy!

  62. leslie 62

    How did I miss seeing this on your blog..Not only is it better than Robert Redford..I would say its better than BRAD PITT!

  63. candyce 63

    holy cow… this is unexplicably dreamy! YUM!

  64. Wow! Since Out of Africa is my favorite movie and I am a third generation Robert Redford lover, I never thought a dessert would surpass our lovely cinema star but this one just might do the trick! Great post!

  65. That is very layered!!!

  66. Hi Cathy
    I have made this many times and actually posted the recipe a couple months back on my site – Yours however looks amazing and I will incorporate your finishing touches to the top.

    This is so easy and always a crowd pleaser.


  67. chantix 67

    That looks so gooooddd

  68. Jeanne 68

    I don’t understand the reference. Robert Redford is an old man. He was very sexy 40 years ago. I mean, why not say Colin Ferrell or Brad Pitt?

  69. snowmoonelk 69

    OMG, SLACKS is MY word! I also like MOIST, but not in the same sentence! Living in the UK where can I get subs for the puddings and whip, please, anyone?

  70. Right after writing this comment i am going straight to prepare this, and i am sure my wife would surely like it.. lol

  71. Ann 71

    OMG! this looks so tempting and I just love the step by step pics :) That really helps a lot :) and your blog pictures are all awesome.

  72. Taryn 72

    We call this ‘Sex in a Pan’ in Canada. Same recipe pretty much, but instead of chocolate shavings we do Skor bar – or a crispy toffee chocolate bar bits! Delicious, always a favorite!

  73. Cathy Cullen 73

    Found my dessert for the 4th of July weekend in Pine, Colorado. It looks yummy.

  74. Shauna 74

    I made this dessert about a year ago and haven’t found anything else like it. The crust makes this recipe and it’s far superior to graham cracker crust. I made it for a family party and everyone loved it! I found myself looking for your site again and quickly adding you to my favorites. You have several gems here I’d love to try. Your blog is so nice, it’s inspired me. I’m thinking of making my own site with some of my midwestern family recipes. You could have your own cookbook! Thank you for the awesome recipes : )

  75. Teresa 75

    Do you think this would be safe for a bake sale? I wouldn’t want the dairy turning, or the whole thing melting into a puddle.
    (oh and I’m another escapee from that particular California town with its toad tunnels and historic potholes)

  76. Noble Pig 76

    No, I wouldn’t unless you have refrigeration.

  77. Lena Goldmann 77

    The dessert looks great but who’s RR? When I googled him, I just got links about some old guy.

  78. Sue K 78

    I still make the original, “Next Best Thing to Robert Redford,” that made the recipe circuit in the 70s. The differences: the cookie crust has room temperature butter instead of melted; you only use chocolate pudding (no vanilla layer); you use an entire whipped topping container for the cream cheese filling, and another for the topping. Although instant pudding is called for in the original recipe as well, I only use cooked, and use half the milk called for on the package. I think instant pudding has an “off” taste.

  79. karen dee 79

    we call thi recipe poor mans delight. I make it with pecans and use coconut cream pudding-2 boxes and top is sprinkled with pecans and toasted coconut. have also made with banana cream and put sliced bananas etween the cream cheese and pudding layers. any way you fix it is great

  80. Claire 80

    This dessert was too good to be so easy to make! I added a little (1/2 c?) brown sugar to the crust and I couldn’t stop snacking, I couldn’t forget it was in the house!!

  81. VICKIE 81

    Robert Redford, like Clint Eastwood, has aged like a VERY FINE WINE!!! (Or maybe I’m just older than dirt!) ;-)

  82. Pamela Gurganus 82

    I love this dessert and have made so many different versions of it (banana, cheesecake, coconut cream, lemon, pistachio, etc.)! Sometimes I use crushed cookies for the crust (Oreo version), graham crackers (Butterfinger version), gingersnap cookies (pumpkin version), but my favorite is pecans in the crust and instead of vanilla pudding, I use butterscotch along with the chocolate and top it with butterscotch baking chips! YUM!


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