June 17, 2009 12:00 PM

A variation on Dirt Cake (the layered dessert that gets its name from its top layer of crumbled chocolate cookies), Sand Cake puts a summer spin on the no-cook treat with a top layer of sugar cookies. Researchers at trace the dessert to Barbara Meyers of Zebulon, N.C., who remembers first making the dessert for a church event in 1978 but doesn’t remember if the idea was all hers or not. “My husband always teases me for not following a recipe by the book,” says Meyers, now 72. “I like to make it my own.”

It’s a Cake!

Sand Cake

Serves: 10 to 12

Hands-on Time: 25 min.

Total Time: 1 hr.

1 (5.25-oz.) package sugar cookies

1 (10.75-oz.) frozen butter pound cake, thawed

2 (3.9-oz.) packages chocolate instant pudding mix

3 cups milk

1 (16-oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

2 tsp. vanilla extract

4 (1.4-oz.) chocolate-covered toffee candy bars, finely crushed

Garnish: chocolate candy shells (available at most candy stores)

1. Crumble cookies; process until finely crushed; set aside. (Cookies will resemble sand.) Cut pound cake into 1-inch cubes; set aside.

2. Whisk together pudding mix and milk; add whipped topping and vanilla, whisking until smooth.

3. Place half of cookie crumbs into a 3-quart sand pail; top with one-third of pudding mixture, half of cake and half of toffee bars; continue layering pudding, cake and toffee, ending with a layer of pudding. Top with remaining cookie crumbs. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes. Garnish with candy shells if desired.