Friday, January 14, 2011

Let Them Eat (Dirt) Cake

Maddy’s birthday is this weekend. She has requested that I make her a dirt cake, complete with gummy worms.

I remember when I first made this cake – it was for Jessica’s 7th birthday, so that would be almost 15 years ago. She told her friends it was dirt cake, and one little girl cried and said she didn’t like dirt. It took 5 minutes of hand-holding to convince her that it was not real dirt but crushed-up cookies. After we got through that crisis, I scooped it out of the plastic flower pot with the little plastic shovel and served her a plate. She saw the gummy worms and it was crisis-time again.

However, all subsequent parties involving dirt cake – whether it was for Jessica, Kelli or Maddy – went smoothly. I’ve probably made it at least twice for each of my girls. Kids generally love this cake, and adults like it as well - it’s pretty tasty. It can be made in a flower pot, plastic bucket, clear glass bowl, or even layered in a rectangular pan. The possibilities are endless.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to warn the small children that it’s not really dirt.

Dirt Cake

1 20 oz package chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreos. Don’t use double-stuffed, it’s a waste of a good cookie)
¼ C butter or margarine, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened (can use fat free or low-fat)
1 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 small packages instant chocolate pudding (I use one chocolate and one vanilla)
3 C milk
1 12 oz container frozen whipped topping, thawed (like Cool Whip. Again, low fat or fat free works too)
Gummy worms

Process the cookies in a food processor (or crush them in a gallon freezer bag with a rolling pin) until they are fine crumbs and look like, well, dirt.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla on low to combine, then on medium until smooth. Add pudding and milk and beat on low to combine, then medium to mix thoroughly. Fold whipped topping into the mixture.

To assemble: layer 1/3 cookie crumbs in the bottom of your serving dish, then top with half of the pudding mixture. Follow with 1/3 cookie crumbs, remaining pudding, then top with the remaining cookie crumbs. Decorate with the gummy worms. (You can also mix some worms into the pudding mixture, just to get the full dirt effect and really freak people out).

Chill for at least 3 hours before serving.

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