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RECIPE: A Chocolate Dirt Cake Pot For National Chocolate Day

Dirt Cake Flowerpot
[1] A different way to enjoy chocolate on National Chocolate Day (photo The Venetian | Las Vegas).

Halloween Oreos
[2] Halloween-ify it with season Oreos (photo Walmart).

Halloween Lollipops

[3] Trade the flower lollipop for chocolate spooky pops (photo Melville Candy).


October 28th is National Chocolate Day, and pastry chefs nationwide are outdoing themselves.

Most of the recipes sent to us are beyond the skill of home cooks, but we found something fun from The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas.

There, from the Yardbird Southern Table, we received a more sophisticated version of that childhood favorite, dirt cake.

Dirt cake is an American invention made from crushed Oreo cookies and pudding, to create edible earth or mud. The garnish is gummy worms, figuratively inching their way through the dirt. (See the history of dirt cake below.)
It’s a simple dessert, whether made by Mom or a pastry chef. Each cook can add a spin:

  • Container: Early versions were created in small plastic kid’s sand pails, that contained multiple portions. You can use a pie plate or baking pan (preferably glass), casserole dish or trifle dish.
  • Individual containers: Use a small flower pot, rocks glass or julep glass for individual servings.
  • Instead of chocolate pudding: cream cheese pudding, ice cream, Marshmallow Fluff or Cool Whip.
  • Instead of chocolate: White dirt cake (an oxymoron? perhaps “sand cake”?), with white sandwich cookies (like Vienna Wafers) or vanilla wafers and vanilla pudding.
  • “Gravel”: Our personal touch, using M&Ms, toffee bits, chocolate chips or other candy on the bottom of the container, atop the cake.
    For a Halloween twist, use Halloween Oreos (the filling is orange—photo #2) and a Halloween lollipop (skull on a stick, etc.—photo #3).

    The Venetian’s version is essentially a flowerpot ice cream cake: ice cream, nuts, Marshmallow Fluff, chocolate cake. The Fluff is used to create the lollipop, but you can use it as a layer inside the dish.

    If you have the patience to do that (we don’t), great. Otherwise, buy a flower lollipop.

    We also purchased a chocolate pound cake loaf instead of baking a chocolate cake.

    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 8 Oreo cookies
  • 1 cup of pecans
  • 1 slice of unfrosted chocolate cake
  • 1 scoop chocolate ice cream
  • 1 cup of Marshmallow Fluff or mini marshmallows
  • Garnish: gummy worms
  • Optional garnish: small mint leaves
  • Optional: small flower pot, rocks glass or julep glass
  • Preparation

    1. CRUMBLE the cake and pat into the bottom of the dish. Add the optional candy layer.

    2. CRUSH the Oreos and pecans into fine crumbs using a food processor. Alternatively, place the cookies in a re-sealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Set aside.

    3. ADD the layer of ice cream on top of the cake. Cover with the Oreo-pecan “dirt.”

    4. ADD the lollipop and garnish with gummy worms and/or mint leaves.
    To Make The Marshmallow Lollipops

    Whisk 1 cup of Marshmallow fluff in a bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Then create six circles and join them into a flower shape on a lollipop stick (photo #1). Color with a sprinkle of decorator sugar. Let harden.

    Here’s the chronology thanks to Food Timeline.

    Recipes evolve over time. Dirt cake evolved from Mississippi Mud Pie, which dates to the mid-1960s.

    Likely culinary ancestors are Elizabethan-era Trifle (cake and whipped cream), 19th century Viennese torts, 1900s double fudge brownies, 1920s Black Bottom Pie, and 1950s novelty ice cream cakes.

    The earliest print reference suggests it was concocted by the wife of a rising star chef based in Long Beach, California, circa 1965.

    Perhaps she was inspired perhaps by Mud Pie and gummy worms, the latter a relatively new candy phenomenon imported from Europe (the history of gummy candy).

    The Mud Pie, also known as Mississippi Mud Pie and Louisiana Mud Pie, was originally a no-bake, frozen, fudge-topped or -swirled ice cream pie in a chocolate cookie crumb pie crust.

    The minute a recipe gets into a cook’s hands, there’s a chance that changes will be made. With Mud Pie today, ice cream flavors vary; some recipes incorporate marshmallow or whipped cream. “Adult” versions are laced with liqueur.

    Mud Pie became a phenomenon in 1970s, when it hit mainstream restaurants such as The Chart House restaurant chain. It became a “signature” dessert during the chocoholic 1980s.”

    The concept evolved into a children’s dessert, dirt cake, garnished with gummy worms.

    Mud Cake, a baked dessert, came later.

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