Elizabeth's "CLEAN" Dirt Cake (with a BONUS Vanilla Pudding recipe)

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

If you have ever lived in, or are from the Midwest, you KNOW about Dirt Cake.  It's pretty much the Midwest staple dessert for any summer backyard get together.  It's almost as well known as Corn Hole. I'm not sure where it got its name seeing as it is neither dirt nor cake but it's still a total indulgence.   Many of you who have been following me for awhile know that I lived in Iowa for 5 years.  In fact, I started writing this blog in Iowa.  The problem with Dirt Cake (also known as  "Dirt Dessert " depending on what part of the midwest you are from, also Worms and Dirt) is that it's HIGHLY processed. The original recipe calls for cool whip, instant pudding, and oreo cookies.  Cool Whip alone scares the poop out of me!  Fortunately,  I have successfully found a way to eliminate most of the highly processed ingredients and clean it up a bit, and frankly, I think it even tastes better!  Please don't confuse "clean" for low fat or low calorie, this dessert is a definite decadence.  I hope you like it!

Elizabeth's CLEAN Dirt Cake
(excuse the picture, I am terrible at taking good pictures!!)

  • 1 pkg. organic cream filled cookies (like Oreos- I used Newman's Own brand- yes these are processed but they have organic ingredients that I can both recognize and pronounce.  Trader Joe's also has a version of a cleaner oreo)
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar ( I used organic from Trader Joe's)
  • 2 cups prepared vanilla (or chocolate) pudding- note- I made my own pudding from scratch- see the recipe below)
  • 8 oz whipping cream, whipped (I always whip my own cream, it's SO easy)
Crush the cookies and set aside, I do this in a ziplock bag and crush them up with my hands.  Whip together the butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer or electric mixer.  Stir in the whipped cream and the pudding.  Layer the crushed cookies on the bottom of a trifle bowl (or you can do it in a 13X9 baking dish) and then add a layer of the pudding mixture on top of the cookies, continue layering with cookies and pudding until you have used it all.  Refrigerate 2 hours.  ENJOY!

Vanilla Pudding
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar (I always use raw sugar)
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch (I make sure to use NON GMO organic)
  • 2 egg yolks 
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 3 tbsp butter, sliced
In a medium sized saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch and the sugar.  Heat over medium heat and stir in 1/4 cup of the milk, whisking constantly until smooth.  While whisking, add the egg yolks and whisk quickly so they don't scramble.  Continue whisking and add the rest of the milk.  Continue whisking until the mixture begins to thicken and bubbles, about 5 minutes.  Switch to a rubber spatula and continue stirring until very thick.  Remove from heat, add the vanilla and the butter and stir constantly until butter is melted.  Strain mixture into a bowl using a mesh strainer, cover with plastic wrap that sits on the surface of the pudding (to prevent a skin) and place in the fridge to set up at least two hours.  

Until next time, happy and clean cooking!


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