Dirt Cake

Dear Boys,

When I was in graduate school, I taught a preschool class at Auburn’s Early Learning Center.  We did a unit on gardening, and the undergrads and I helped the children prepare dirt cake for snack one day.

We made paper flowers and attached them to straws and placed them in the cake.

This poem (which is not composed by me) accompanied the treat:

I know I look strange, but dig right in….
The flowers are fake but the dirt is cake.
I don’t need water or tender loving care,
Just eat my dirt ’til my pot is bare.

It was quite the hit, so I duplicated it when I sent birthday treats with your sister to her preschool several years later.

Poor Beth.  One of the boys in the class pronounced a refusal to eat dirt.  Soon the whole class joined in the protest, and her party snack was a bust.

John, you salvaged this recipe when you eagerly chose it for your birthday as a little guy.  For years since, you’ve been asking for Dirt Cake almost every year to celebrate your day.

A couple days ago, we celebrated your golden birthday.  You were 14 on the 14th!

Sigh.  Not sure when my baby got so big.


This is you as a little newborn.  Your siblings put you in your sister’s doll bed and placed you under the Christmas tree.  We all embraced you as our treasured gift that year.


Here you are — oozing personality and charisma.

You’ve kept us all smiling for a very long time, and that’s just one of the many things we love about you!

Here are the directions for Dirt Cake:


You’ll need 2 bags of Oreo cookies.


Both bags need to be crumbled.  You can do this with a food processor or the old-fashioned way.

Set the cookie crumbs aside until later.

DSC_0255Measure 1 cup powdered sugar,


1/2 stick butter,


and one 8-oz. box cream cheese.  This is the low fat variety; you can use whichever you prefer.


Cream these together with an electric mixer.

In a separate bowl, mix together


2 small packages vanilla instant pudding (be sure to get instant!) and


3 and 1/2 cups milk.

After you whisk these together,


stir in 12 oz. whipped topping.


Now combine the pudding mixture with the cream cheese mixture.

You’re ready for assembly at this point, so grab those crushed cookies.

I keep a clean plastic flower pot that is used only for this dish, but you can serve it in whatever container you prefer.  If you do use a flower pot, you’ll need to cover the drainage holes with foil before you begin filling the pot.


Go back and forth with cream and cookies


until the pot is full.

Be sure to end with cookies and spread them to cover the pudding layer.


Add a few gummy worms, and you’re ready for a birthday celebration!

I love you,


P.S.  We missed you, Beth, but we’ll see you SOON!!


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