Chocolate dirt cake is a delicious no-bake dessert that looks like a potted plant filled with soil and worms, but is actually made with crumbled cookies, chocolate pudding, and gummy worms.
It’s a fun, easy recipe that is perfect for parties, potlucks, or just a family dessert. This article will provide a detailed guide on how to make this crowd-pleasing dirt cake.
To make a chocolate pudding dirt cake that serves 12-15 people, you will need:
- 3.4 oz (1 large) box chocolate pudding mix
- 4 cups cold milk
- 8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1 package (16 oz) Oreo cookies
- 1 package (12 oz) chocolate sandwich cookies like Chips Ahoy
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 8 oz gummy worms
You will need the following equipment:
- Large bowl
- Electric mixer or whisk
- 9×13 inch baking pan
- Plastic flower pot, planter, or terrarium for serving (optional)
Make the Chocolate Pudding
- In a large bowl, whisk the chocolate pudding mix and cold milk for 2 minutes until thickened. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Gently fold in the thawed whipped topping until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate pudding for at least 1 hour before assembling the dirt cake. This allows the pudding to set up.
Crush the Cookies
- While the pudding chills, crush the Oreo cookies in a food processor or ziplock bag until they resemble fine crumbs. You should have about 2 cups of crumbs.
- Transfer the Oreo crumbs to a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and toss gently until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
- Crush the chocolate sandwich cookies the same way into fine crumbs. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of cookie crumbs.
- Combine the two types of cookie crumbs together in a bowl.
Assemble the Dirt Cake
- Spread half the chocolate cookie crumbs evenly over the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan. Press lightly to create the “dirt” base layer.
- Carefully spread the chilled chocolate pudding over the crumbs. Smooth the top with a spatula.
- Sprinkle the remaining chocolate cookie crumbs evenly over the top of the pudding layer. Gently press them in slightly to adhere to the pudding.
- Top decoratively with gummy worms spaced out over the surface so it looks like worms are coming out of the dirt!
Chilling and Serving
- Cover the assembled dirt cake and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before serving. This allows it to firm up completely.
- When ready to serve, scoop the dirt cake into bowls or transfer the whole pan onto a serving platter.
- For a fun presentation, serve the dirt cake in a new plastic flower pot, planter, or terrarium. Sprinkle a few extra gummy worms on top.
- Provide small spatulas or spoons to scoop out the dirt cake. Keep stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- The dirt cake can be made 1 day in advance. Make sure to press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding before refrigerating to prevent it from drying out.
There are many ways to customize chocolate pudding dirt cake:
- Use Oreo mint cookies instead of regular Oreos for a mint chocolate dirt cake.
- Replace the chocolate pudding with vanilla or pistachio pudding.
- Use crushed Teddy Grahams instead of Oreos for the dirt layers.
- Mix in crushed chocolate sandwich cookies like Chips Ahoy or crushed chocolate graham crackers.
- Top with crushed peppermint candies, crushed pretzels, or coconut for added textures.
- Add gummy bugs, worms, frogs, spiders, or other candy instead of just gummy worms.
- Drizzle the finished cake with chocolate syrup or melted chocolate.
- Decorate the top rim of the planter or flower pot with small plants, flowers, rocks, moss etc. for added realism.
Read More: 45 Best Halloween Cake Ideas – Updated 2023
Tips for Making Perfect Chocolate Pudding Dirt Cake
- Chill the pudding completely so it firms up and holds its shape when you assemble and slice the cake.
- Use Oreos that are labelled “Double Stuf” for more cookie flavor in the crumbs.
- Crush the cookies into very fine, sandy crumbs so they look like dirt. Pulse them in a food processor for best results.
- Use high-quality chocolate wafers like Chips Ahoy for the best chocolate flavor in the dirt layers. Avoid using soft chocolate cookies.
- Let the assembled cake chill for at least 2-3 hours before serving so the layers set up neatly.
- If your whipped topping deflates too much, add a little extra when assembling the cake for a fluffier texture.
- For easy slicing, dip your knife in hot water and wipe clean between cuts.
- Have extra Oreo cookie crumbs to quickly “patch up” any cracks that form when slicing and serving the cake.
With this detailed guide, you can make a picture-perfect chocolate pudding dirt cake that will impress both kids and adults.
The combination of creamy chocolate pudding, crunchy cookie dirt, and fun gummy worms is sure to make this a hit at your next party or potluck.
Adjust the ingredients to suit your own tastes and get creative with the serving presentation.