Sometimes a treat is so good that you need some sort of exclamation and this holy smoke cake is just that treat! It’s called a cake but really this is more of a layered dessert. When it all comes together you can cut it into squares very much like a cake. But, I can assure you that your friends and family will be far too busy enjoying the rich flavor to question which category of dessert this belongs in!
The base of the cake is a slightly salty pecan shortbread. But, it actually contains no sugar at all! Don’t worry- the top layers will give the cake plenty of sweetness and in the end the flavor balance is truly perfect.
The next layer is made with cream cheese and Cool Whip. It’s ok if you spread this onto a warm-from-the-oven base, but don’t put it on when the shortbread is too hot. Otherwise it can melt and ruin the texture somewhat.
The next layer is where you have a few options. This recipe calls for instant butter pecan pudding mix. But, if you can’t find that flavor at your local grocery then you can use butterscotch, vanilla, white chocolate, or whatever flavor you like.
After the pudding layer has set then you’re going to top the whole thing with more Cool Whip and then sprinkle with more pecans. It’s best to let it chill in the fridge a while so that the layers can firm up.
Having made this for my family I speak from experience when I say that there was no one who tried it who didn’t love it immediately. It’s sweet, salty, creamy, and crunchy all at the same time.
It’s the kind of dessert you’d find in church cookbooks all those years ago. But, unlike some of those recipes this has stood the test of time because it’s just that tasty.
Holy Smoke Cake
1h 30m prep time
15m cook time
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup chopped pecans, divided
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 (16 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
- 1 (3.5 oz) box instant butter pecan, butterscotch, or vanilla pudding mix
- 2 2/3 cup whole milk
- Preheat oven to 375˚F. Add flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and butter to large bowl. Beat using electric mixer until dough forms. Fold in 1/2 cup nuts. Spread over bottom of greased 9”x13” baking pan making sure it’s level.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden on the edges and set in middle. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before adding top layers.
- Using electric mixer beat together powdered sugar, cream cheese, and 1 cup whipped topping. Spread over crust until even.
- In cream cheese bowl combine pudding mix and milk using electric blender. Pour over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.
- Spread remaining Cool Whip on top. Top with remaining nuts. Refrigerate for 1 hour before cutting into squares to serve.
Recipe adapted from Blind Pig and the Acorn.