The perfect spring party dessert: Dirt Cake!

Thanks for your guesses on my Easter ingredient photo, it was fun watching the answers pour in. For those of you who guessed crushed up Oreos, you’re right! For those of you who didn’t, I still liked your answers. The idea of affording that much caviar or vanilla beans was very exciting for me. But Oreos are a little more in the budget!

Have you ever had dirt cake? I know I made it with my mom as a kid, I also remember teachers bringing it in for parties in elementary school. It’s such a great dessert for kids (but adults love it too) they are absolutely fascinated when you tell them that this bucket of dirt and worms is really their dessert. My brother Jason kept opening the fridge to look at it and warned me that he’d be so hyper if he ate that many coffee grounds!

Eric’s grandpa was definitely the funniest reaction. I brought the bucket and said “Here’s dessert!” and he literally recoiled in horror! It was awesome. Everyone really enjoyed it and it was perfect for spring.

You can also make dirt cake in flower pots with some little fake flowers coming out of it, or make individual servingsin tiny pots or cups. It’s a good cake for spring birthdays, garden parties, Easter, etc. I also made it once when an exchange student in Hawaii wanted an “American” cake for her birthday. I thought a dirt cake would be perfect and her reaction was priceless. I brought the “bucket of dirt” and she was so polite that even though she was obviously disappointed, she thanked me and said it was very nice. Her eyes got huge as I started dishing it up (with a shovel of course), and she was so delighted once she tasted it.

I couldn’t find exactly the recipe I was looking for. I know I’ve used cool whip before, but don’t really like cool whip so ended up making whipped cream instead. Also, the other ingredients are so sweet, I didn’t include the cup or more of powdered sugar other recipes called for. If you need something to increase your risk of diabetes, feel free to add some :) This is one of those recipes that’s fun to make, serve and eat, so go have some fun!

Dirt Cake
serves 15


2 lbs oreos (just less than 2 packages)
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
3 TBS powdered sugar
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1/2 stick of butter
2 small packages instant vanilla pudding
3 1/2 cups milk
gummi worms


Place the Oreos in a food processor and grind until finely crumbled and looking like dirt (include the cream).

Cream together the butter and cream cheese. In another bowl whip the whipping cream and powdered sugar until thick. In a third bowl, combine vanilla pudding and milk. Mix well for two minutes. Stir the whipped cream into the pudding. Add the creamed mixture and stir well.

Layer the cake in your bucket 2-4 hours before serving time. Place 1 1/2 – 2 inches of cookie crumbs in the bottom of the bucket. Then layer the same amount of pudding mixture on top. Continue layering them, leaving room for a layer of crumbs on top. Just before serving, top with crumbs and worms. Serve with a shovel.

(optional: You can also layer worms throughout the cake, or sprinkle a few on top of each serving)

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19 Responses to “The perfect spring party dessert: Dirt Cake!”

  1. natalia
    April 14, 2009 at 8:19 am #

    I’m sure my kids would love it too !!

  2. Nurit - 1fff
    April 14, 2009 at 8:30 am #

    What a GREAT idea!!! I’ve never heard of dirt cake. Just in time as I start thinking about my son’s upcoming bday party. I’ll surprise him and his freinds. He would LOVE it! And I love that it’s easy to make. Oh, and I love your photo in the kitchen. Very cute!

  3. oneordinaryday
    April 14, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    Oh – so fun.
    I just made the sand bucket one for my daughter’s preschool class. She couldn’t wait to trick her friends by telling them they were going to eat sand for snack. :)

  4. Jenn
    April 14, 2009 at 11:06 am #

    Love the reactions to the cake. It’s amazing how food can be used to fool the senses.

  5. chou
    April 14, 2009 at 11:26 am #

    Fun! I agree that adding even more sugar seems a bit over the top!

  6. Hillary
    April 14, 2009 at 11:38 am #

    Cute! Does everyone get their own pail? :) Here is another recipe for dirt cake if you need one :)

  7. Kiran
    April 14, 2009 at 11:46 am #

    I had never heard of this cake before, it seems like a great idea. It is amazing how it really resembles dirt, would be great for children’s party.

  8. TabzChewy
    April 14, 2009 at 12:23 pm #

    This is so hilarious! I want to try it (and luckily, we have a potluck this weekend!)

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Dietitian for Hire
    April 14, 2009 at 5:00 pm #

    that is so cool

  10. Lori
    April 14, 2009 at 6:39 pm #

    That looks so yummy! You guys look like you had a fun day!

  11. Heather
    April 14, 2009 at 8:57 pm #

    That was tastie!

  12. Jen @
    April 15, 2009 at 11:14 am #

    Looks delicious! Loved reading about your family’s reactions to the cake!

  13. Christina
    April 15, 2009 at 7:42 pm #

    This is one of the most creative and yet cute ideas I’ve seen. I was really excited as I read all the description in your post.


  14. me_HUNGRY (phyllis
    April 16, 2009 at 6:02 am #

    OMG – we’re totally on the same wavelength. I was going to feature what I call “Dishin’ the Dirt” on my blog for Easter but I never got around to making it. My mother-in-law’s recipe looks very similar to your dirt cake recipe. Nice job!

  15. haleysuzanne
    April 19, 2009 at 8:32 pm #

    I had a friend who loved Dirt Cake; it was always her number one dessert request. I had forgotten about it until I saw your recipe. I loved that cream cheese filling!

  16. Mindy
    April 25, 2009 at 10:07 am #

    This is exactly what I was looking for! My daughter’s 3rd birthday is coming up, and I wanted to make this, but Coolwhip is nowhere to be found in France…Thanks!

  17. Coca Cola Cake
    April 28, 2009 at 5:31 am #

    hiii very nice picture with dirt cake

  18. Diana (Ladybug Limited)
    May 20, 2009 at 8:59 am #

    This will be perfect for my son’s outdoor 6th birthday party next month. Can I ask one question? In the list of ingredients, the second line just says “1 1/2 cups” but it doesn’t say of what. From reading the recipe, would I be safe in assuming that’s the whipping cream?

  19. Diana
    May 20, 2009 at 9:07 am #

    You all warmed my heart with your comments!

    Diana I can’t believe you’re the first to point out my typo! I’ll fix it right away.

    I hope everyone who made it had theirs turn out great :)

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