Be the hit of any holiday or office party this year with this simple dessert that you can make 100 different ways! A friend of mine shared this with me and told me what a hit it has been with her family and office over the years that they tell her they can’t wait for the holiday parties for her to bring it in! I was skeptical at first since I am not much of a cook, let alone a baker, but once she told me how to make it, I couldn’t believe how easy it was! All you need are 4 main ingredients (plus the ingredients they call for on the box) and a glass trifle bowl: cake mix, pudding mix, Cool Whip, and candy or fruit.
Some people call it a dessert trifle, but she calls it Death by Chocolate Cake (or whatever flavor you choose). Basically you pick a base flavor for your cake (chocolate, yellow, spice, strawberry, red velvet, anything you want!), then you pick a pudding and a candy or fruit that will go well with that cake flavor.
To assemble the cake you first want to bake your boxed cake mix into two 8 in round pans. You then want to mix up your pudding and cut the candy into smaller pieces or slice up the fruit. Once the cake cools, flip it upside down and drop it in the bottom of the trifle bowl. Press it down with your hands to create a dense bottom layer. Then you will add half the pudding mix on top of the cake, followed by half the container of Coop Whip. Top with half of your candy pieces or sliced fruit (use a generous amount so every bite can have some candy or fruit in it). Add the second layer of cake, rest of pudding, and top with the rest of the Cool Whip. Use the remainder of your candy or fruit to top off the cake and decorate the top as you like. This cake actually tastes great the next day so you can feel free to make it the day before your party and serve it with confidence a day after making it!
Sounds easy, right? The best part of this cake is that you really can make it your own to suit the tastes of those you’re serving and you can change it up each time to make a whole new cake experience! She has done it a few different ways and these are some of her winning combinations that her family and friends have loved the most, including her original one that started it all:
Death by Chocolate Cake:
Devil’s Food Cake with chocolate pudding, whipped cream, and chopped up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. (For added peanut butter flavor, drizzle melted peanut butter over the cake bit before adding the pudding).
Death by Mint Cake:
Dark Chocolate Cake with chocolate pudding, whipped cream, and chopped up Andes Mints or Candy Cane. (For added mint flavor, use a tsp of mint extract in the pudding).
Strawberry Cake, strawberry pudding, whipped cream, and sliced strawberries.
Funfetti Cake, vanilla pudding, whipped cream, and colored sprinkles. For this one, mix the sprinkles into the pudding and first layer of whipped cream only. For the top layer of whipped cream, add the sprinkles to the top.
Red Velvet cake, cream cheese pudding or white chocolate pudding, white chocolate shavings.
Here is a special one for the holiday season and another example of how you can make this cake your own and add different flavors and dress it up however you want!
Death by Eggnog:
Spice cake, French vanilla pudding (make this with eggnog instead of milk), whipped cream (mix in 1 cup of eggnog), and vanilla wafers that have been soaked overnight in eggnog* (for this part it’s recommended to use real eggnog that is made with spiced rum but non-alcoholic eggnog is fine). Put down a thick layer of the soaked vanilla wafers first, then add the spice cake. Push it down to really get the cake into the wet wafers. Add the pudding and whipped cream. Put down the rest of the wafers and repeat. On the final layer of whipped cream stick 1 vanilla wafer into the center of the cake and garnish by sprinkling a cinnamon nutmeg mixture on top.
There you have it! The perfect desert to bring to any holiday party this season, or any party for the rest of the year! That’s the best part of this recipe, you can have a lot of fun with it and try different flavor combinations and create a new cake each time!