Sex in a Pan (Robert Redford Dessert)

Sex in a pan dessert

The Spruce

  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Servings: 12 to 18 servings

This sinfully rich layered dessert is similar to the chocolate delight dessert, with layers of cream cheese, whipped topping, and two kinds of pudding on a simple baked shortbread crust.

We're not sure how the name came about, but you can call it anything you like. Alternatively, it's called "Robert Redford Dessert," "Next-Best-Thing to Robert Redford" and "Better-Than-Sex Dessert." Whatever you choose to name it, your friends and family will love it. If you take it to a party or potluck event, make sure you have a few copies of the recipe.

You can try topping the dessert with Heath toffee chips and mini semisweet chocolate chips. See the tips and variations for more substitutions and ideas.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 4 cups frozen whipped topping (thawed as directed, approximately 12 ounces, divided)
  • 1 (5.1-ounce) package vanilla instant pudding
  • 1 (5.9-ounce) package chocolate instant pudding
  • 4 cups cold milk (divided)
  • Garnish: Shaved chocolate, mini chocolate chips, toasted coconut, chopped pecans, or toffee chips

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    Sex in a Pan ingredients
    The Spruce 
  2. Combine flour, butter, and pecans and press into a 9x13x2-inch baking pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 16 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan to a rack and cool completely.

    Combine ingredients and bake
    The Spruce
  3. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar and then fold in 2 cups of the whipped topping. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled cookie layer.

    Cream cheese layer
    The Spruce
  4. Beat the package of vanilla pudding with 2 cups of cold milk. Spoon evenly over the cream cheese and whipped topping layer.

    Vanilla pudding layer
    The Spruce
  5. Beat the package of chocolate pudding with the remaining 2 cups of milk. Spread the chocolate pudding over the vanilla pudding layer.

    Chocolate pudding layer
    The Spruce
  6. Spread the remaining 2 cups of whipped topping over the chocolate pudding.

    Whipped topping layer
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  7. Sprinkle with miniature chocolate chips, milk chocolate shavings or curls, toasted coconut, toffee chips, chopped pecans, or a combination.

    The Spruce
  8. Cover the pan and refrigerate the dessert until serving time.

    Sex in a pan dessert
    The Spruce


  • Remove the R-rating and call it "Robert Redford Dessert."
  • An offset icing spatula is a handy tool; use it to spread the layers evenly in the pan all the way to the edges. 
  • To quickly toast coconut or pecans for the topping, spread them in a large dry skillet. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned and aromatic.
  • Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator.

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the second tub of whipped topping with 2 cups of fresh sweetened whipped cream and top the dessert just before serving time.
  • Substitute two envelopes of Dream Whip whipped topping for the frozen whipped topping, made as directed with cold milk.
  • Replace the vanilla or chocolate instant pudding with butterscotch, cheesecake, or French vanilla instant pudding.

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