Dirt Cake

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This Dirt Cake is a moist chocolate cake filled with frosting that’s loaded with Oreos and layered with more Oreo crumbs! It’s even got gummy worms between the cake layers for a cake that’s creepy-crawly and perfect for Halloween!

Overhead view of a full Dirt Cake on a gray cake stand
A slice of Dirt Cake next to a silver fork on a gray plate

This Dirt Cake has been a long time coming! One of my best friends since forever has been requesting I make a Dirt Cake for as long as I can remember. As it often happens, it took a while for the cake to take shape in my mind – and fortunately it’s just in time for Halloween! It was also just in time for when she came to visit last month. I texted her a photo as I was writing out the recipe and she was super pumped!

It also happened to be the weekend that she was celebrating two years since the bone marrow transplant that saved her life. She battled leukemia (after also fighting thyroid cancer just a few years prior) and is now cancer free, so it was awesome to be celebrating her health and I couldn’t have more happy to share this cake with her!

I have to give her some credit for how this cake took shape too. I was texting her and asking her preferences as I made it, since this cake was largely for her. I figured if she loves Dirt Cake that much, she would know best. She chose a vanilla based frosting full of Oreos and definitely wanted gummy worms between the cake layers. I have to say – I love the way it turned out! Gummy worms and all!

A slice of Dirt Cake next to a silver fork on a gray plate
Side view of a full Dirt Cake on a gray cake stand

How to make a Dirt Cake

To get started with this Dirt Cake, you’ll want to make the chocolate cake layers. I used my favorite moist chocolate cake recipe as the base. It’s a super simple batter to put together – easier than even a cake mix! You can simply combine everything with just a whisk! And it makes literally the best and most moist chocolate cake ever. Don’t be alarmed by the thin batter or the low temperature that it’s baked at – those are all correct.

Once the chocolate cake has baked and cooled, it’s time for the frosting. The base of the frosting is a vanilla buttercream, but most of the flavor comes from the large amount of Oreo crumbs that it’s filled with – 3 full cups of crumbs.

When the cake is layered together, it’s not only full of the Oreo frosting that tastes like eating a big Oreo, it’s also filled with even more Oreo crumbs. Yum! You can never go wrong with more Oreos.

Also layered into the cake is quite possibly my favorite part – the gummy worms! They totally define a good, fun Dirt Cake so they had to be included in this one. I wasn’t entirely sure how the cake would slice with the gummy worms in the middle, but it actually sliced great! And while you don’t want to add too many and have them overwhelm the cake, they were a tasty and fun addition.

To finish off the cake, there’s some additional Oreo crumbs pressed into a few places around the cake to give it that “dirt” look. And then of course grass, because where else would the worms hang out? 😉 And if you can keep from eating all the gummy worms before they make it into and on top of the cake, you should add those too.

The final cake is seriously so fun! Not only is something everyone will fall in love with for it’s decor, it’s also sure to be devoured for it’s delicious cake and filling. It’s perfect for a celebration, a random Wednesday and especially for Halloween!

A slice of Dirt Cake next to a silver fork on a gray plate
A slice of Dirt Cake next to a silver fork on a gray plate
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Overhead view of a full Dirt Cake on a gray cake stand

Dirt Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 33 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 18 minutes plus cooling time
  • Yield: 12-14 slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This Dirt Cake is a moist chocolate cake filled with frosting that’s loaded with Oreos and layered with more Oreo crumbs! It’s even got gummy worms between the cake layers for a cake that’s creepy-crawly and perfect for Halloween!


Chocolate Cake Layers

  • 2 cups (260g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (414g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (70g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk
  • 1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup (240ml) water

Oreo “Dirt” Frosting

  • 1 1/4 cups (280g) butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (237g) shortening
  • 6 cups (690g) powdered sugar
  • 3 cups Oreo crumbs (3540 Oreos)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 34 tbsp water or milk
  • 1 3/4 cup Oreo crumbs (2025 Oreos)
  • About 30 gummy worms

Green Vanilla Frosting

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup (115g) powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 tbsp water or milk
  • Green gel icing color


1. To make the chocolate cake layers, prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom, and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 300°F (148°C).
2. Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and combine.
3. Add eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla to the dry ingredients and mix well.
4. Slowly add water. Mix well.
5. Divide batter evenly between cake pans and bake for about 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
6. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 3-4 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
7. To make the Oreo dirt frosting, add the butter and shortening to a large mixer bowl and beat until combined.
8. Add about half of the powdered sugar and the Oreo crumbs and beat until well combined.
9. Add the vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons of water or milk and mix until well combined.
10. Add the remaining powdered sugar and Oreo crumbs and mix until well combined and smooth.
11. Add additional milk or water until the right consistency is reached.
12. To build the cake, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the tops of the cake layers.
13. Place the first cake layer on a serving plate or cardboard cake circle and top it with about 3/4 cup of frosting.
14. Pipe a small dam around the outside edge of the cake, on top of the frosting, then add about 1/2 cup of Oreo Crumbs. Place 6-8 gummy worms around the crumbs and gently press them down into the crumbs.
15. Add the second layer of cake, then top with another layer of Oreo frosting.
16. Repeat step 14.
17. Top the cake with the final layer of cake, then frost the outside of the cake with the remaining Oreo frosting.
18. Use the remaining Oreo crumbs to press them into some areas around the outside of the cake to make it look “dirty”.
19. To make the green frosting, add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth (if you can, since it’s such a small amount).
20. Add the powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
21. Add the vanilla extract and one tablespoon of water or milk and beat until smooth. Add additional water or milk, if needed to get the right consistency.
22. Use the green gel icing color to color the frosting green.
23. Use Wilton icing tip 233 (the grass tip) to pipe grass around the top edge of the cake and few places on top. Place a few more gummy worms around the top of the cake and finish it off with the remaining Oreo crumbs.


  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 939
  • Sugar: 91.8 g
  • Sodium: 669.6 mg
  • Fat: 51.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 118.5 g
  • Protein: 7.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 29.2 mg



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    1. Lindsay

      They are layered into the cake when you frost it. They may look like they were in the cake layers in the photo, but that’s just from slicing it.

  1. renata

    hi, lindsay. l have a question. what exactly do you mean with word shortening, the ingredient for the frosting? is it a sour cream or is it lard, grease?

    thank you

    p.ps. it would also be nice to see some photo of little mckenzie

    have a nice day


    1. Lindsay

      Shortening is a butter substitute. You can replace it with additional butter.

      And we actually took some family photos last week, so hopefully I will be able to share an update soon. 🙂

  2. Gabs

    Question: step 8 says “Add about half of the powdered sugar and the Oreo crumbs and beat until well combined.” Do you mean half of the powdered sugar AND ALSO half of the Oreo cookies, or half of the powdered sugar and all of the Oreo cookies? Thank you!

  3. Bailey

    Looking forward to making this for my son’s birthday this weekend! Although I do have a question; would you recommend doubling this recipe for a two layer 9×13?

  4. Katie

    I’m so excited to make this for my husband (child at heart)! I’m wondering if the Oreo crumbs are crushed whole oreos (perhaps crushed in a food processor?) or are they just the chocolate cookie portion with (no white cream)? I hope this makes sense! Thank you! I absolutely love your recipes!!

  5. Taryn

    Can this same recipe be used to make cupcakes? If so, do you know about how many it might make? Would any measurements need to change? 

    1. Lindsay

      Yes, it can. You can actually find the same chocolate cake as cupcakes here. The recipe is just cut in half for about 12 cupcakes. For the frosting, the amount used for the cake is probably enough for about 24 cupcakes, so you can adjust depending on whether you make 24 or cut it in half for 12.

    1. Lindsay

      Yes, it can. It’s actually a thicker cake that way, so it’ll take longer. It should take about 45 minutes to bake.

  6. Amee Lewis

    How do I adjust this recipe for 9” cake rounds? Less cooking time? I’m excited to make this for my brothers 30th (old as dirt) birthday party 🙂

    1. Lindsay

      Would you be making two or three layers? If making three layers, you’ll definitely need to reduce the baking time because the layers will be thinner. If only making two layers, the baking time might actually be a little more similar. You’ll definitely want to keep an eye on it.

  7. Maria

    I made this for a family birthday party and everyone loved it…especially all the kids. My nephew requested this cake for his birthday but in a football shape since he loves football! And now my daughter wants this as her birthday cake. It is becoming a family favorite. Thanks for all the fun and creative recipes!

  8. Gaye Fisher

    I just looked at your favorite moist chocolate cake recipe. It calls for buttermilk and boiling water – which is not on your dirt cake recipe. Have you decided it wasn’t necessary??  

    I have everything measured out – we are making it after my grandsons nap!!  He’s 3 – it won’t be as cute as yours- we’re going to decorate it kinda pumpkish. 

    I’ll send pictures. 

    1. Lindsay

      Oh yes, the water doesn’t really need to be boiling. As for the milk – both buttermilk and regular milk will work just fine. Buttermilk will give it a smidgen of flavor.

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29