Growing up, dirt cakes were a special treat reserved for the best birthday parties, school events, and backyard picnics. As a kid, not only did I love the combination of creamy chocolate pudding and crumbled Oreos, but I also loved the ick factor of eating “dirt” and “creepy crawlies.”
Didn’t grow up digging into dirt cakes? Dirt cakes are a dessert often served in individual cups. Crumbled Oreos made to resemble dirt are layered between fluffy chocolate pudding. Gummy worms always go on top. They are often served at birthday parties and school events because of their wow factor and convenient single servings. Plus, they are a no-fuss, no-bake, easy dessert.
Where Did Dirt Cakes Originate?
Dirt cakes are believed to be a spin on the Mississippi mud pie, a popular chocolate dessert from the 1960s. Dirt cakes took the concept of layering chocolate cookie crumble and pudding, like a trifle. It was first seen in the 1980s in the American Midwest, specifically made for kids. Over time, many variations of dirt cake have been made, using different kinds of crumbled cookies, flavored pudding, and candy on top.
Have Fun! Make It Your Own
While a classic dirt cake is made with chocolate pudding and Oreo cookies, there are endless ways to put your own unique spin on it. Here are some ideas:
- Use vanilla cookies with vanilla or banana pudding.
- For a mint chocolate pudding, add 1/4 teaspoon mint extract.
- Use gingerbread biscuits and butterscotch pudding.
- Add a layer of toasted coconut flakes for a tropical version.
Dirt Cake Without Worms
Classic gummy worms are the traditional garnish, but any type of gummy candy works. I would recommend sticking to the theme of slimy insects and creatures—gummy frogs, spiders, or alligators. Avoid sour-coated gummies since the flavors clash with the creamy pudding.
Best Cup for Serving Dirt Cakes
I love making these in 5- to 6-ounce clear cups—that way you can see the layers! Parfait glasses, stemless wine glasses, or dessert cups are perfect. If you prefer one large dirt cake, use a clear round bowl or a trifle dish.
Plan Ahead, But Not Too Far Ahead
These dirt cups are best enjoyed the day of, but can be made up to 1 day in advance and kept covered and refrigerated. They will keep for up to 4 days, but the crumbs will lose their texture and become soft. Plus, the gummy words will harden in the fridge. I would not recommend freezing them.
If you’d like to plan ahead and serve the most delicious dirt cups, refrigerate the pudding only, tightly covered. Keep the Oreo crumbs and gummy worms out of the fridge. Assemble the dirt cups right before serving.
We Love Oreos as Much as You Do
15 Oreo sandwich cookies
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 (3.9-ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed
18 gummy worms
- 6 (5- to 6-ounce) clear cups
Prepare the Oreo crumbs:
Place the Oreos into a large zip top bag. Seal it, leaving a small opening for the air to escape. Use a rolling pin to crush the cookies into gravel-sized crumbs.
You can also do this in a food processor—just pulse it.
Make the cream cheese mixture:
Add the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and use a handheld mixer to beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.
Make the pudding mixture:
In a medium bowl, whisk the milk and pudding mix until combined and thickened. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the Cool Whip.
Scrape the pudding mixture into the cream cheese mixture, and mix until smooth and fully combined.
Layer and decorate:
Add 2 tablespoons Oreo crumbs into the bottom of each cup. Top with about 1/4 cup pudding. Repeat until filled, ending with crumbs on top. Garnish with gummy worms.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 32g||41%|
|Saturated Fat 20g||99%|
|Total Carbohydrate 81g||30%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||3%|
|Total Sugars 54g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||1%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|