Saturday, April 16, 2011

Creamy Vanilla Pudding Cake

This dessert is one that I made as a teenager one time when my Grandma came down to Minnesota to visit when she lived in North Dakota. She had one bite of this dessert and was forever in love with it! Whenever she visited us she requested that I make this dessert. If we were up in North Dakota visiting her, she made sure she had all of the ingredients on hand so that I could make this for her. She eventually coined it, "Amy's Dessert." That's how I have it written on my recipe card. I don't even remember where I got the recipe from. I'm going to start calling it "Creamy Vanilla Pudding Cake" but deep down, it'll always be "Amy's Dessert." I always felt very special that she wanted me to make this dessert for her. We didn't live near either set of my Grandparents growing up so visiting them was always at least a weekend long visit. We'd go shopping, go to garage sales or just hang out at their house.

Grandma would always make us supper, at least once during the weekend, in her teeny tiny townhouse. There'd be 6 people, at minimum, in her townhouse but she always made us a homecooked meal in that cramped kitchen. My favorite meal? Her homemade mac and cheese. I think it's just elbow macaroni and velveeta, but as a kid, I loved it. I should get her recipe for that so I can always remember it the way Grandma used to make.

If you make this dessert, I hope you enjoy it as much as my Grandma did.While making it, I had faint memories of making it in my Parent's kitchen.

Creamy Vanilla Pudding Cake
Recipe origin: unknown
Ingredients for the crust:
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar

Ingredients for the filling:
1 8ounce cream cheese, softened
1 cup cool whip
I cup powdered sugar
I also added about 1/4tsp of almond extract to the filling but that's not called for in the original recipe

Ingredients for the topping:
2 pkgs vanilla instant pudding (5oz size box)
2 1/2 cups cold milk
Cool whip per your preference (if you want a lot of cool whip on top, use a lot; if you want a little, use a little)

*cool whip note: I used almost all of a 16oz container of cool whip between the 1 cup used for the filling and the topping.

ix the crust ingredients until they're well combined and the result is a moist but crumbly mixture. I used a pastry blender to help me with this process. Once combined, press mixture into a 9x13, lightly greased, pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until light golden brown.

The crust needs to be completely cool before you can top it with the filling.

When you're ready to make the filling, combine the softened cream cheese and the powdered sugar together. I put the cream cheese in a medium sized mixing bowl first. I whipped it up a little with my hand held mixer until it got really creamy and soft. Then, I added the powdered sugar and used a spatula to help mix the two together knowing that I'd create way too much powdered sugar dust if I went at it with my hand held mixer! Once they were well mixed together using the spatula, I used my hand held mixer for a minute or so to make sure that they were completely combined. Fold in the 1 cup of cool whip and spread out evenly on the crust. After they're mixed together, it sort of resembles marshmallow fluff I thought. It's a stirable mixture but it looks really sticky.

Then, it's time to prepare the filling! Combine your 2 packages of pudding mix with the 2 1/2 cups milk in a medium bowl (I used the same bowl I used for my filling) and whisk until it's thick. You don't want it to become set in your bowl, but you want it to be thick and pourable.

Pour the pudding mixture onto the filling layer and make sure it's spread out evenly. The final topping is the cool whip layer.

Top with as much or as little cool whip as you'd like. I top mine with just enough so that it's almost touching the top of the sides of my baking dish.
I think I should work on making my layers more even, don't you think? Oops! It's not too pretty when you look at it from this view.

I do think that the next time I make this, I may make the crust layer a double batch so that it's a bit thicker. There is so much on top of it that I just feel the crust should be thicker.

I'll be eating this tonight for an early Easter meal with my Husband's family. I'll definitely be back to share how it was received by everyone. I hope it's as good as I remember it being.
If you make this, I'd love to hear how you like it!

Edited to add: Well, it got rave reviews at dinner! My Husband's Grandma even asked for the recipe. I think that's always a compliment. I still think I'd double the crust layer next time and be careful to not be cool whip heavy for the topping.

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