I had my eye on this cake for a few weeks now. I first saw it when Diana posted it on her blog in April. I knew then that I was going to make it as a surprise for my son on his birthday. I still looked around for other ideas and asked my Twitter followers for suggestions.
The KitchenMaus from Al Dente blog suggested a Holy Giant Cupcake cake she made for her son’s first birthday. Foodista suggested a scrumptious apple cake. But I think my mind was already set up on the dirt cake.
My son was very suspicious of this cake when I put the bucket in front of him. Just recently we bought a few herbs in pots as part of our urban garden adventure this year, so I used some of those in the cake. I looked very convincing and real. Even after I, my husband, and his baby sister took a bite and said it was OK, he did not want to take a risk. It took a few attempts to persuade him until he he was willing to try a spoonful… But then, he asked for the shovel!
Enough for 2 buckets, 5-inch tall and 5-diameter. Serves 8-10 party goers
16 oz. Oreos*
1/4 cup hazelnuts, ground – optional
1/2 stick of butter, melted
2 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk
Fresh herbs and/or edible flowers
Place the cookies in a food processor and grind until finely crumbled and looking like dirt. Add hazelnuts, if using, and then the butter. Pulse to combine.
In a mixer bowl, whip the heavy cream with sugar, zests and vanilla until thick. Remove to another bowl and chill while you make the pudding. Use the same mixer bowl and whisk again to whisk the milk and pudding. Chill for 5 minutes.
Fold the cream into the pudding gently.
Assemble the cake: Put a layer of cookie mixture in the bottom of the bucket, add half of the cream mixture, and then another layer of cookie crumbs. Repeat the same with the second bucket.
Chill for a few hours. Decorate with gummy worms, herbs and/or flowers and serve with a shovel.
NOTE: If you have doubts whether the bucket is food safe, layer the inside with plastic wrap.
* I used Newman’s Oreo’s style cookies since they don’t have hydrogenated oils and no trans fatty acids. Look for brands free of those unhealthy ingredients.
** if you want more layers use 1.5 times the amount of cookies.