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Robert Redford Dessert (Easy Recipe)

Robert Redford dessert has four layers of pure decadence, and like its namesake, it’s pretty darn dreamy.

In fact, it’s my new favorite chocolate dessert.

Between the buttery crust, creamy cheese layer, silky-smooth pudding, and light whipped topping, this dish is to die for.

Slice of Robert Redford Dessert served on a plate
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This dessert is full of creamy, chocolaty goodness. No wonder it’s also sometimes called “Sex in a Pan.”

Just imagine the glorious combination of chocolate, cream cheese, and pudding on top of a butter pecan crust! It’s definitely impossible to resist.

Plus, it’s a snap to whip up and can feed a crowd, too. That makes it perfect for parties and potlucks.

Whether you’re a fan of Robert Redford or not, you’re guaranteed to fall in love with this drool-worthy dessert. 

Robert Redford Dessert

Robert Redford dessert is a layered cake consisting of four key elements.

At the bottom is a crisp and buttery crust loaded with pecans. That alone tells you how great this dessert is.

But that’s followed by a cheesecake-like layer full of richness and flavor.

Up next is always a crowd-pleaser: pudding. And not just one, but two flavors: chocolate and vanilla. Because why not?

Finally, to top it off is a fluffy layer of whipped cream and a good sprinkling of chocolate and chopped pecans. Wow.

To say that this dessert is heavenly is an understatement.

Why the name, though? 

The cake was very popular during the ‘70s; around the same time the movie star also became a big hit. 

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It was initially called “Almost Better Than Robert Redford” or “The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford” and was eventually shortened.

That said, I think I prefer Sex in a Pan 🙂 Though I’d happily share this with the man himself.

Chocolate Lasagna in a Casserole Dish with Chocolate Shavings

Ingredients 

Let’s check out what you’ll need:

Crust:

  • All-Purpose Flour – The base of the crust. 
  • Butter – To saturate the flour and add a buttery flavor.
  • Chopped Pecans – For crunch.

Cream Layer:

  • Cream Cheese – Think of this layer as a smooth and creamy cheesecake. Use softened, room-temperature cream cheese for a lump-free mixture.
  • Powdered Sugar – For sweetness. Do not use granulated sugar, otherwise, the texture will be off.
  • Whipped Cream – To make the layer light and airy. If you’re in a hurry, you can always use Cool Whip.

Pudding Layers:

  • Chocolate Pudding and Vanilla Pudding – Double the pudding, double the flavor.

Topping:

  • Whipped Cream – There’s nothing like a light and fluffy cream to make a dessert supreme.
  • Chopped Pecans and Grated Chocolate – For extra crunch and flavor.

Tips for the Best Dessert

Check out these tips for making the best dessert:

  • Invest in a vegetable peeler. It sounds crazy, I know. But a vegetable peeler makes shaving chocolate much easier. It works best with chilled or frozen chocolate since it won’t melt in your hand.
  • For more decadence. A tablespoon of cocoa powder in the crust will make a much richer treat. You could also make a crunchy Oreo crust instead. Yum!
  • Save time with instant pudding. In a dish like this, easy is your friend. There’s no need to cook the pudding the hard way. Use an instant mix instead.
  • Butter the pan well. If you don’t, the crust will stick to the bottom. Cooking spray will also work.
  • Freeze between layers. Freezing the cake for 15 minutes after adding each layer makes it easier to spread the next one. You can also freeze the whole cake for 30 minutes before cutting it. Doing so will make slicing it a breeze.
  • Remember to chill. The dessert needs at least 4 hours in the fridge before you serve it. Otherwise, the layers won’t set properly.
  • Storage tips. Store the dessert in the fridge covered in plastic wrap until ready to serve. Leftovers should keep well for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Homemade Robert Redford Chocolate Lasagna Dessert

Variations

Robert Redford dessert is epic as it is, but you can also try other variations if you’re interested in new and fun flavors.

Here are some ideas:

  • Peanut butter. Add peanut butter to the cream cheese mixture. You could also add a layer of caramel under the cream.
  • Mint chocolate. Use Mint Oreos for the crust and top the dessert with crushed Andes Mint candies.
  • Lemon. Use lemon pudding instead of chocolate and add a splash of lemon juice to the cream cheese mixture.
  • Reduced sugar. Use sugar-free instant pudding and whipped topping.
  • Parfait. Assemble the layers in glasses for individual servings.
  • Toppings. Top the cake with chopped nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, or fresh or dried fruits. Marshmallows, jam, caramel, and crushed candy are other great options. Feel free to mix and match.

Other Names for This Treat

While this dessert is mostly known as the “Robert Redford Desert,” or simply “Robert Redford,” it also goes by many other names. Here are a few of my faves:

  • Chocolate Lush
  • Sex in a Pan
  • Better (or almost) Than Sex Dessert
  • Chocolate Lasagna
  • Chocolate Pie Squares
  • Slush Cake
  • Chocolate Fudge Layered Lush
  • Other variations: Lemon Lush, Banana Lush, Strawberry Lush

Can I Make This No-Bake?

Definitely! Just swap the flour for crushed Graham Crackers or Oreo cookies and refrigerate the crust to let it set. Easy Peasy!

If you’re using Oreo cookies, there’s no need to remove the cream filling. It will make the crust extra sweet and tasty.

Note: 26 Oreo cookies will yield 3 cups of crumbs.

More Creamy Desserts You’ll Love

Banana Cream Cheesecake
Cherry Yum Yum
Dream Whip Pie
Patti Labelle Banana Pudding
5 Cup Salad
Banana Split Cake

Robert Redford Dessert (Easy Recipe)

Servings

16

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

3

hours 

15

minutes
Calories

345

kcal

This Robert Redford dessert has four layers of pure decadence, and like its namesake, it’s pretty darn dreamy. In fact, it’s my new favorite chocolate dessert.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup pecans, chopped

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 (10-ounce) container frozen whipped cream, thawed

  • 2 cups chocolate pudding, prepared per the box instructions

  • 2 cups vanilla pudding, prepared per the box instructions

  • chopped pecans and grated chocolate, for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously grease a 9-x13-inch baking pan with butter.
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. (About 1 minute.)
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low, gradually add the flour, and beat just until combined. Stir in the pecans.
  • Press the mixture into the greased baking pan to form a crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar at medium speed until smooth. Gently mix in half of the whipped topping.
  • Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled crust. Top with the chocolate pudding, followed by the vanilla pudding. Spread over the remaining whipped cream. Sprinkle with the pecans and chocolate.
  • Chill for at least 3 to 4 hours to let the layers set. Slice and enjoy.
Robert Redford Dessert

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

12 thoughts on “Robert Redford Dessert (Easy Recipe)”

  1. My Aunt Eddie has made this dessert for family gatherings my whole life!! {{I’m 44}} I’ve never been able to get the recipe from her though! Thank you Google news feed! Only difference is she called it “Texas Torte”.

    Reply
  2. Hi Kim,
    I can’t eat nuts any longer. Do you think this would taste as good if I made it with a graham cracker crust instead? Your recipe looks so good and flavorful!

    Reply
    • Hi Martha, they are actually not the same thing! Dream Whip is a brand name for a powdered whipped topping mix, which is combined with milk and vanilla and then whipped until it becomes light and fluffy. Frozen whipped cream is actual whipped cream that has been whipped to soft or stiff peaks and then frozen.

      Reply
    • Hi Julie!
      The crust will probably look pale, but if you’re not seeing any browning around the edges, you can give it an extra 5-10 minutes.
      You’re not really cooking it, per se.
      Instead, you’re actually drying it out slightly so it holds up better under the wet filling.
      It also helps the butter melt into the flour and nuts, then it solidifies and sets, making it more stable.
      Hope this helps!

      Reply
    • Hi Deborah!
      I don’t recommend using a round pan for this dessert.
      It’s very soft, and the wedge-style slices you get from a springform pan will likely look messy.
      Instead, I’d use a 9×9 square pan so you can make square slices, which hold up better.
      That said, if it’s all you have, you could use a 10-inch springform pan (3 inches deep) and just be mindful when slicing 🙂

      Hope this helps!

      Reply

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