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'Better Than Sex' cake is a chocolaty, gooey mess, but it's so worth it

Making this decadent dessert brought us right back to the early 2000s.
Better Than Sex Cake has been around for years, but I had forgotten all about it until recently.
Better Than Sex Cake has been around for years, but I had forgotten all about it until recently.Terri Peters / TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

It's messy, gooey and oh-so-good.

"Better Than Sex" cake is made from store-bought ingredients like devil's food cake mix and Health bars that, when combined, create the perfect balance of chocolate, sugar and salt.

My husband was one of the first in his group of friends to marry, and during our newlywed years, it wasn't unusual for a single friend or two to end up sleeping on our couch after a night at the bar. I was young, kid-free and full of energy, so more often than not, I'd end up in my kitchen at 2 a.m., baking for drunk dudes (who were very appreciative).

Store-bought ingredients are the stars of this simple cake recipe.Terri Peters/TODAY

What is Better Than Sex Cake?

It was the early 2000s, and while looking for recipe inspiration after a night out, I stumbled upon an Allrecipes recipe titled "Better Than Sex Cake II." It seemed obvious that the second one would be more improved than the first, so without finding out what happened to "Better Than Sex Cake I," I pulled out the ingredients to create the deep-dish dessert.

The recipe was uploaded to Allrecipes by user ANGELADY41 sometime around 2003, when the first review of the cake appears on the site. In 2020, the cake remains active on the Allrecipes site, with a five-star rating from 1,300 people and nearly 1,000 home bakers taking the time to leave a positive review.

After baking a devil's food boxed cake according to package directions, the cake gets sliced and prepared for a caramel-sugar drizzle.Terri Peters/TODAY

As friends have married and spread out around the country, I had forgotten all about the cake, which became not only a late-night treat in my social circle, but also the birthday cake request of most of our pals. Life went on, we had kids, we turned 40, and those Better Than Sex Cake days were far from my mind.

When I recently remembered the cake, I knew I had to resurrect it. I purchased the simple ingredients: A box of devil's food cake mix, caramel topping, sweetened condensed milk, crushed Heath bars and Cool Whip, and went to work.

Caramel topping and sweetened condensed milk get heated on a stovetop then poured over the cake.Terri Peters/TODAY

How do you make Better Than Sex Cake?

To make the cake, you follow the boxed mix instructions, baking it in a 9-by-13 pan. Five minutes after it comes out of the oven, you cut slices through the cake and pour on a mixture of heated, sweetened condensed milk and caramel. Next, comes some crushed Heath bars.

Once it's completely cooled, the cake gets iced with Cool Whip and topped with more toffee bars and more caramel topping. So much sugar. So much salt. It's truly heaven.

Once the cake is drizzled with sugar and caramel, it's left to completely cool before icing.Terri Peters/TODAY

Taking a bite of the messy creation, soaked through with sweet milk and caramel, brought me back to my early twenties, living in Baltimore City, feeding single drunk friends after the bars closed.

While I don't know what happened to that young, energetic girl who stayed up until 3 a.m., the 40-year-old version of her can still appreciate a good cake.

This cake is messy, gooey and oh-so-good.Terri Peters/TODAY

When I told my husband I was making the cake for a story, he texted a few friends to let them know the cake was making a comeback. They all remembered it and sent their well wishes to an old friend.

Is the cake actually better than sex? I'll leave up to you to decide.