Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dirt Cake

I can remember exactly where I was when I first ate dirt cake.  I was in Copeland, Alabama and it was the summer of  1990.

I'm pathetic, I know.

I was at my stepfather's brother's house and he was having a huge get-together.  They were roasting a whole hog, but who really cares because there was dirt cake.  And I had never heard of it before and when I took a bite, I was like "What on earth is this stuff?"

And someone said "Dirt cake."

And then my life had meaning.

Dirt cake is ridiculously rich, but it's so yummy it's almost irresistible.  Or, in my case, it is irresistible.  It's basically crushed Oreo cookies in a vanilla pudding and cream cheese mixture.  I'm not sure why it's called cake.  That part is confusing.  But the recipe is easy.  I got it from a church cookbook years ago.

I usually only make this about once or twice a year, and usually only for events involving children.  This week was perfect because my cousin was visiting with her family, and when we all got together, there were lots of children.

So this was for the children.  Yeah.

Please notice was his shirt happens to say. :o)
 Here are some things to remember:

-I found this milk chocolate rock candy at Wal-Mart, and I used it to decorate the top, as well as placing some of them in the cookie crumb layers (as long as it doesn't touch the actual pudding because it will melt and make the pudding discolored and ugly--I found this out the hard way) to look like rocks in soil.

-And by the way, Wal-Mart has all kinds of cute gourmet candy, in case you haven't visited their candy aisle lately.  Since it just takes a few to worms to decorate, I actually froze all of the gummy worms I bought from the last time I made dirt cake, that way I don't have to go out and buy more.

-I don't like putting worms in the actual pudding, either, because they melt and create a bad flavor and color.  I usually just decorate the top with them.

-The green grass clumps are a tube of green frosting using a #233 grass tip.

-This is better if it chills overnight.  I decorate it right before I serve it.

-I'm sure you've seen this served in a (unused) flower pot with some plastic flowers sticking out of it.  That's another way to present it.  Or little individual flower pots.  Cuteness.  But how about adding some fondant flowers on top?  Or maybe some candy Easter eggs for an Easter dinner dessert?  Lots of different ways to make this special.

Dirt Cake

Printable Recipe

3 1/2 cups whole milk

2 small packages instant French vanilla pudding

1 stick butter, softened to room temperature

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

1 (16-ounce) container non-dairy whipped topping

2 packages chocolate sandwich cookies

Milk chocolate candy rocks

A tube of green frosting

Assorted gummy worms

Whisk the milk and pudding together in a large bowl until smooth.  Let stand five minutes.  In another large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together with a hand mixer on medium speed until fluffy.  Beat in the powdered sugar until smooth.  Add the pudding and beat until smooth.  Fold in the non-dairy whipped topping.

Crush 1 package of cookies so that there are some fine crumbs, but also some larger pieces.  There needs to be a variety.  Fold this into the pudding mixture until evenly mixed.

Finely crush the other bag of cookies.  In a large clear glass trifle dish, pour about a third of the pudding mixture into the bottom and spread to smooth.  Sprinkle with a layer of about a third of the finely crushed cookies.  Stick several of the candy rocks in the cookie layer, especially around the perimeter of the dish where they will be visible.  (To look like rocks in the soil.)  Top with another third of the pudding mixture on top of the cookie layer, then repeat with another cookie layer and some more candy rocks.  Spread the remaining third of the pudding on top, then top with the remaining cookie crumbs.  Add clumps of grass in different spots using a grass tip and the green frosting, then place more rocks and gummy worms on top to decorate.  Chill for several hours to overnight before serving.

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  1. Oh my gosh this is a blast from the past. I haven't made one of these in ages, but I will now. What a great idea for Easter lunch.

  2. If you do blog awards, I just passed one on to your blog--dirt cake looks awesome!

  3. Awww, thanks guys! Could this be any more calorie laden? No, I don't think so.:o) Although I have thought about making it as a trifle with layers of brownies. Hmmmm....

  4. My younger grandsons will absolutely love this. It really is a great idea for the holiday. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  5. Thank you, Mary, for stopping by!

  6. Thanks for posting Lorie! I am going to make it for Easter brunch with Eric's family. I had such a wonderful time last month with you all, and I think trying your recipes helps me feel more connected to ya'll. :o) Now I just need to find that key lime pie.... I haven't tasted a decent one since yours and don't think I ever will again!

  7. Yummy! We featured your recipe today!
    Stop by and say hi....

  8. OMG! thank you so much I ate this years ago, but I forgot to ask what it was and I wanna eat it again ever since and now I finally know what it is and how to make it!! (:

  9. This looks great! Do you think thick whipped cream would work instead of the Cool-Whip?

  10. Yes, I think thick whipped cream would be absolutely lovely. :)

  11. My mom use to make dirt, but she used chocolate pudding and cool whip instead of vanilla and cream cheese.

  12. It's just my guess, but I think it's called dirt "cake" because it's basically an Oreo cheesecake. ;) they're mostly the same ingredients I use for my famous cheesecake.

  13. I make this all the time in a plastic sand bucket and use the shovel to serve. The only thing different is I use white chocolate pudding instead of vanilla.

  14. We LOVE this at our house! But be careful if you're using it as a birthday cake, complete with candles. Our daughter requested it for her birthday one year. After singing to her she blew out the candles.....and a LOT of the cookie crumbs went flying all over the table AND our beige carpet in the dining room!

  15. this is a great idea for a kids birthday party. put in into indavidual serving cups 1 for each kid

  16. Has anybody ever made this with chocolate pudding?

  17. This is gonna be a birthday cake for my daughter's garden party.:)

  18. Just made this today for my celiac support group using gluten free brownie crumbs and gluten free chocolate chip cookie crumbs (from an otherwise baking disaster). It turned out perfectly and everyone loved it. I used fresh homemade whipped cream because I prefer to stay away from preservatives if possible. Thanks for this recipe!

  19. Made this for my daughter and her boyfriend and they loved it. I sent some leftovers to work with my husband and the guys said it was the est dirt cake they ever had. Will make again soon.

  20. Wow - you really went above and beyond with your dirt cake! It's similar to the dirt cake recipe we used albeit with so many more details! We absolutely love the rocks, worms, and grass! What a whimsical spin from the traditional version!