Mom found this recipe somewhere around the time we arrived in Nashville (summer 1994). It was my brother's choice of birthday cake for all of middle & high school; I made it at his bachelor's party using a spent grain crust from a beer Brandon brewed for the birth of his son. There's a poem somewhere in that.


1⅓ c
flour (you can substitute crumbled graham cracker at a 1:1 ratio)
¾ c
walnuts (chopped)
butter (cubed)
Cream cheese layer
4 oz
cream cheese (softened)
1 c
powdered sugar
9 oz
Cool Whip
Pudding layer
2x 5.9 oz
instant chocolate pudding mix
3 c
9 oz
Cool Whip
⅛ c
semi-sweet chocolate (shaved)
⅛ c
walnuts (chopped)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Prepare the crust:
    1. In a mixing bowl, blend the flour/graham crackers (1 1/3 c), walnuts (3/4 c), & butter (3/4 c) with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly.
    2. Press the crust mix into the bottom of a 13x9" baking dish.
    3. Bake for 15 minutes.
    4. Allow to cool to room temperature on the counter, then chill in the fridge for several hours.
  3. Prepare the cream cheese layer:
    1. In a mixing bowl, blend the softened cream cheese (4 oz) & powder sugar (1 c) until completely mixed.
    2. Fold in one container of Cool Whip (9oz) until blended.
    3. Spread this mixture on top of the cold crust.
    4. Return the dish to the fridge to allow the cream cheese layer to set up.
  4. Prepare the pudding layer:
    1. In a mixing bowl, pour the milk (3 c), then gradually add all the instant pudding mix (11.8 oz) as you whisk until well blended (a few small lumps are fine).
    2. Spread the pudding over the set cream cheese layer.
  5. Add the toppings:
    1. Top the pudding layer with the second container of Cool Whip.
    2. Optionally, sprinkle the semi-sweet chocolate & chopped walnuts on top.
    3. Return to the fridge and allow to set for at least one hour.

About this recipe

  • There are a lot of substitution possibilities here. Two excellent ones are butterscotch pudding with toasted coconut topping, or pistachio pudding with chopped pistachio topping.