Jimmy Carter Dessert

Active Time:

26 mins

Total Time:

4 hrs 26 mins



Every time we share our recipe for Chocolate Delight, we get a flood of comments about the layered dessert’s other names. Some folks call it Husband’s Delight (but that’s a pasta dish to many), and some call it a Girdle Buster, which is really a good laugh. Others have names we can’t repeat here. You know who you are.

But a few folks who make the same dish tell us they add a layer of peanut butter—and that makes it a Jimmy Carter cake.

What Is Jimmy Carter Cake?

This dessert is crunchy, creamy, chocolaty, and full of peanut flavor. The graham cracker crust incorporates dry-roasted peanuts for more crunch. Loads of peanut butter flavor comes through in the cream cheese layer and is matched by the richness of the chocolate pudding layer.

It’s not really a cake, by the true definition. The only part that is baked is the crust. Peanuts and graham crackers are pulsed down into fine crumbs, blended with sugar and butter, and then baked to make it extra crisp and firm.

But whether it’s called Jimmy Carter cake or Jimmy Carter dessert doesn’t matter to us. It’s the perfect choice for family reunions, church potlucks, even block parties. It’s a definite crowd-pleaser.

Jimmy Carter Dessert - Southern Living

Why Is It Called Jimmy Carter Cake?

We really don’t know where the name originated. To be honest, it seems in the excitement to assign fun, catchy names to classic desserts, the 39th President of the United States, a former peanut farmer from Georgia. was attached to this one because of the addition of peanuts and peanut butter. But seeing as President Carter still loves a scoop of peanut butter ice cream, we imagine he’d love every bite of this dessert.


  • 1 cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • 12 graham cracker sheets/rectangles
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 (8-oz.) containers frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
  • 2 (3.9-oz.) packages instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips


  1. Prepare oven:Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Make crust:Place peanuts in a food processor; pulse until coaresly chopped, 3 to 4 times. Pour peanuts into a bowl. Crumble graham crackers into food processor; process until fine crumbs form. Add granulated sugar and half of peanuts to processor (reserve remaining half of peanuts); pulse until peanuts are finely chopped, 4 to 5 times. Drizzle butter over mixture; pulse until evenly moistened, 3 to 4 times. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish; press into an even layer. Bake at 350°F until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
  3. Make peanut butter mixture:Place peanut butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 container of whipped topping; beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. Spread peanut butter mixture over crust. 
  4. Make pudding:Rinse bowl and wipe dry. Place pudding mix and milk in bowl; beat with a mixer at low speed until mixture is well combined and starts to thicken, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread pudding mixture over peanut butter layer.
  5. Add whipped topping and peanuts:Gently spread remaining 1 1/2 containers of whipped topping over pudding mixture. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and remaining peanuts.
  6. Chill:Cover and chill until fully set, at least 4 hours. Cut into 15 pieces.