Now, the recipe I’m sharing today is one I wasn’t totally sure should leave the family recipe box. It is a Christmas favorite, and I only make it on Christmas every year. In fact, one year my mom tried to make a Thanksgiving version, but it was so unnatural that we couldn’t do it again. This is a Christmas dessert. And it only works with chocolate. No exceptions.
Also, I wasn’t sure I could post it because it only involves these ingredients (plus cool whip but I forgot to take it out of the fridge):
So no, it does not involve any revolutionary baking from scratch. And no, it doesn’t take me days on days to make. It takes me maybe an hour including baking and cooling time. Everything is out of a box. But who wants to spend more time than you have to in the kitchen on Christmas Eve? There are far better things to be doing.
First up, spray a 13×9 inch pan with Pam baking spray. This may or may not be one of my new favorite products.
Then, make the chocolate cake as the box instructs. Your creativity comes from the kind of chocolate cake and pudding you use. Do you go traditional chocolate? Dark chocolate? Devil’s Food? Honestly, it won’t matter, but I personally like the irony of serving Devil’s Food on Christmas.
Pour it into the cake pan and bake as long as it says on the box. I feel like I shouldn’t even be including these instructions right now.
While the cake is in the oven, make two batches of instant pudding. I do them in separate batches and with a wire whisk instead of a hand mixer. I don’t know why, but I like being able to feel it thicken while I mix it. You don’t get that with a hand mixer. Put the pudding in the fridge, covered, to chill until ready to use.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan until completely at room temperature. This is more important in terms of cutting it rather than the actual assembly of the dessert, but I still do it.
Cut the cake into one inch cubes. In her recipe Sandy (of Trout Farm Apple Pie fame) says not to be fussy with the cutting, but I do tend on the side of perfectionism, so I like to make exact little squares, 8 by 8.
Now, you need a trifle bowl. I’m not sure there is any other purpose for this particular serving ware, but I know that when I was moving into my apartment, it was a vital part of my kitchen materials. Put half the cake into the bottom of the bowl.
Next, add one batch of the pudding.
Also from above:
Then, add half of the large tub of cool whip. And by large tub I mean the actual large tub. You might think you’ve found it at the grocery store, but it’s the bigger one.
Now, you get to have some fun. Put two of the Heath bars, unwrapped, in a Ziploc bag.
My mom used to smash them on the counter to crush them up, but after watching my dad then yell from the other room about the noise, I’ve started using a different technique: the attack hammer.
The attack hammer is really a tack hammer that I misunderstood as a child when my mom told me to get it. But the name stuck, so that’s still what I call it. Use one to smash the heath bar into little pieces. You could also buy the bits o’ brickle in the baking aisle, but you don’t get the chocolate when you buy those, so I don’t recommend them.
Add the two smashed bars on top of the Cool Whip.
Then, repeat the layers with the remaining cake, pudding, Cool Whip, and Heath bar.
It looks pretty impressive in the bowl with all of the different layers. It’s easy. And when it’s spooned into a bowl, it’s delicious.
- 1 box chocolate cake mix (plus whatever you need to prepare it)
- 2 boxes instant chocolate pudding
- 1 large container of Cool Whip
- 4 Heath bars, crushed
- Prepare chocolate cake as directed on the box and pour into a 13×9 inch pan. Bake and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Prepare both boxes of chocolate pudding as directed on box. Allow to chill.
- Cut cake into 1 inch squares.
- Layer cake, pudding, Cool Whip, and Heath bar in trifle bowl. Repeat.