LuAnn's Family Favorites Recipes

Carrabba's Dessert Rosa Cake (LuAnn's Clone)

Our favorite dessert item on Carrabba's menu was removed! After searching the internet for recipes, I devised my own version which is as delicious as I remember! After serving "my" Dessert Rosa earlier this month, one of my daughters requested that I keep track of the recipe as she might want it for her birthday cake. The layers of fruit, custard and whipped cream make this a cool, refreshing dessert for hot summer days.

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Yield: 12 servings



  • 1 (2 layer size) package yellow/butter cake mix
  • 1 stick butter, melted (instead of oil/ or margarine)
  • 3 eggs + water (as directed on cake mix box)


  • 2 small boxes vanilla cook and serve pudding mix
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk + 1 can water


  • 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple (drain, reserving juice)
  • 2 pounds choice fresh strawberries, rinsed, drained, hulled, then sliced*
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 1 (12 ounce) container Extra Creamy Cool Whip**


  • 6 large choice fresh strawberries (or six large berries, halved), washed, drained, then halved – leaving hulls ON
  • Chocolate syrup


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (check box).
  2. Spray two 13 x 9-inch pans with no-stick cooking spray.
  3. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.


  1. Mix the batter as directed for 9 x 13-inch pan, substituting melted butter for the oil or margarine.
  2. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, weighing to make sure they are equal.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 22 minutes, or just until the sides of the cake begin to pull away from the pan and the center of the cake feels done when lightly touched with a finger tip.
  4. While the cake bakes, prepare the custard and fruit.


  1. Custard: Use the ingredients shown above, following the procedure described on the package.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the stove.


* I probably only used 1 1/2 pounds, including the berries saved for the garnish; however, the remaining 1/2 pound were less than prime and couldn’t be used, which is why I suggest having 2 pounds on hand.

** Or whip real heavy whipping cream, sweetening slightly with powdered sugar and flavoring with a dash of vanilla.


Recipe by LuAnn Bermeo, author of Amazing Meals I and II, a two-volume collection of family-approved, plant-based recipes.

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