Boozy dirt cake with whiskey caramel sauce is a delicious adult version of a classic dessert. Alcohol soaked gummy worms, rich chocolate pudding, whiskey caramel sauce, and classic dirt cake topping come together to create one of the best desserts ever. And it's just for the grownups!
I can’t stress enough how amazing this dessert is. Each part individually is spectacular but all together it creates an explosion of decadence!
The creamy base is a pot de creme that lives somewhere between chocolate pudding, chocolate mousse, and chocolate ganache. It's smooth, creamy, rich, with a hint of bitterness.
The caramel feels luxurious, thick, and smooth with hints of whiskey, cinnamon, and salt. While the buttered Oreo dirt gives a delicate crunch that works perfectly with the smoothness of the rest of the dish
This recipe was inspired by my Kahlua hot chocolate recipe, another boozy take on a classic treat. It worked out so well that I decided to make an alcoholic version of dirt cake, too!
Why You Will Love Dirt Cake for Halloween
- A fun adult version of the classic dirt and worms dessert with an infusion of alcohol. It's a fun way to enjoy a childhood favorite with a grown-up twist.
- Easy to make dessert in no time that's a true showstopper!
- Perfect for parties or addition to any gathering, from Halloween to movie night!
This dirt cake with gummy worms recipe may have some fancy-sounding layers, but the ingredients used to make it are incredibly simple.
You'll find all of them easily at your local grocery store. This dessert has multiple components and we're only looking at the highlights here. Be sure to check the recipe card at the end of the post for the full list and exact amounts.
- Gummy worms: Add a vibrant touch and playful appearance to this delicious treat. They give the illusion of worms crawling out of the earth, making it perfect for Halloween parties or other themed events. Choose your favorite brand and flavor of gummy worms.
- Whiskey: I used cheap whiskey for this recipe, feel free to get fancy but the cheap stuff worked great! If you are not a whiskey fan, you can substitute with your favorite amber rum, plain or vanilla vodka, butterscotch schnapps, tequila, or any other favorite.
- Large egg yolks
- Brown sugar
- Dairy: The creamy chocolate cream is made with heavy whipping cream and whole milk.
- Chocolate chips: You want them to bring a little bitterness so use semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips for the best flavor.
- Caramel sauce: To keep things simple I'm using Mrs. Richardson’s caramel sauce. You can also make your own.
- Cinnamon: The cinnamon gives the dish a hint of spice and autumn flavor.
- Salt: The salt amplifies all of the flavors, really bringing the chocolate and caramel together.
- Oreos: Make sure to use the original, not double stuffed to get right texture of "dirt" in this dessert. You can also use golden Oreo cookies or graham crackers instead though they look slightly less like dirt.
- Butter: Use salted for the best flavor. If you're using unsalted, I suggest adding a pinch of salt to the dirt topping.
Substitutions and Variations
- Go Nuts: Add your favorite chopped nuts like peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, or walnuts to give your dessert an added crunch and flavor.
- Pots de crème: Swap the homemade chocolate cream use store-bought or homemade chocolate pudding. You can also try it with different flavors such as butterscotch or vanilla pudding.
- Add a Creamy Layer: You can add a layer of vanilla or banana pudding, whipped topping, or whipped cream.
- Decorations: The sky is the limit! You can use whatever you prefer. Add chocolate chips, edible flowers or cherries for more color and flavor.
- Mini-sized: You can also make mini-sized versions of this dessert if you prefer!
- Kid-friendly: Simply make your Oreo dirt cake with gummy works without the alcohol!
How to Make Oreo Dirt Cake
Just like the ingredient list, this dirt worm cake recipe is much easier than you might think. You'll basically be soaking gummy worms in booze and making homemade pudding. Pretty easy, right?
The highlights are below, but you'll find the exact instructions in the recipe card at the end of the post.
- Soak the gummy works in the whiskey.
- Combine the egg yolks, brown sugar, and salt in a bowl and whisk together
- Bring the cream and milk to a simmer.
- Gradually blend the cream into the egg mixture. Cook until the mixture thickens.
- Add the chocolate chips and whisk until they're all melted. Divide the pudding between serving glasses and refrigerate both the pudding and the alcohol soaked gummy worms overnight.
- Combine the whiskey caramel sauce ingredients.
- Combine crushed Oreos and melted butter to make the dirt cake topping.
- Top the pudding with the dirt and the soaked gummy worms.
- Melt the white candies and fill a skull mold. Chill the chocolate in the mold until it's solid, then gently remove the skulls and place one on each dirt cake.
Hint: Be sure to tap your skull mold gently to remove any air bubbles.
If you think this layered chocolate Oreo dessert looks good, then you'll love this no-bake chocolate peanut butter pie.
Beverage pairings for alcoholic dirt and worms largely depend on the type of alcohol you've incorporated into the recipe.
- If you used whisky consider serving a Smoked Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Whisky Sour or Rusty Nail.
- If you've chosen a vodka-infused dirt and worms, you could pair it with a creamy cocktail like White Russian.
- For dirt cake made with rum, consider a Dark and Stormy or a refreshing Pink Mojito or Chocolate Mojito with Mint.
- Non-alcoholic pairings could include a cold glass of milk or a cup of hot coffee.
- Use a good quality chocolate such as Ghiradelli. It really makes a difference in this recipe. I tested this recipe using cheap Aldi chocolate chips and could really taste the difference.
- Don't soak the worms for longer than 24 hours. 12-24 hours seems to be the sweet spot for them, otherwise they are a bit soft and more fragile.
- Make sure you are using traditional gummy worms, not sour or sugar-coated ones.
- I HIGHLY recommend using Mrs. Richardson’s Caramel, or another high-quality caramel sauce. The Smucker's brand and others that are similar just are not as good (in my opinion).
- Allow the dirt cake desserts to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving for layers to set.
- Store in the fridge for up to two days but do not freeze.
Certainly! To make non-alcoholic dirt cake, simply omit the alcohol and follow the same process of layering everything without the alcohol.
Chocolate Pot de crème is smooth, creamy, rich pudding with a hint of bitterness. To me it's a cross between chocolate pudding, chocolate mousse, and chocolate ganache, all in one.
Pot de creme requires the tempering of egg yolks, which can be very intimidating and temperamental. If your mixture ends up curdling, not all is lost! Toss the whole thing in a blender and blend until smooth then pour into your ramekins and chill. I tested this theory and it worked just fine! The texture may not be quite as smooth as if it hadn't curdled but it was still very smooth and delicious.
More Halloween Desserts
Here some more Halloween and Fall dessert recipes you may also like to try.
Ready to get cooking? Remember that you can print this recipe if you would like.
Boozy Dirt Cake with Whiskey Caramel Sauce
- 12-18 Gummy worms 2-3 per serving
- ⅓ cup whiskey
Pots de crème
- 25 Oreos original, not double stuffed
- ¼ cup butter
- Place the gummy worms into a container with a lid, add the whiskey and mix. Cover the container and let sit on the counter for 12-24 hrs.
- To make the pots de crème, whisk the 4 egg yolks with the brown sugar and salt in a medium heat safe bowl, set aside.
- Add the cream and milk to a small saucepan. Heat the cream mixture on medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is simmering rapidly, almost boiling, around 190°F.
- While whisking the egg yolks vigorously, slowly stream in a couple tablespoons of the hot cream mixture. Once combined, continue the process of whisking vigorously while adding a couple tablespoons of the hot cream at a time until you have added about half of the cream mixture. Then pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining cream mixture. Whisk vigorously, then return to heat. Cook the pot de creme for a couple more minutes until it reaches 185-190 degrees.
- Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Whisk until combined then immediately pour into your serving glasses or ramekins. For an extra smooth texture pour the pot de creme through a fine mesh strainer into your serving glasses or ramekins.
- Place in the fridge immediately and let cool for at least 12 hours.
- When ready to serve, make the whiskey caramel sauce by combining the caramel, whiskey, cinnamon, and salt and mixing until combined. Pour an even layer over the top of each pots de crème.
- Place the Oreos into a food processor.
- Melt the butter and pour into the Oreos. Pulse until the Oreos have become a sandy texture.
- Top each of the pots de crème with the Oreo butter crumbs.
- Carefully remove the whiskey soaked worms from their container, be gentle as some may be fragile, and place 1-3 worms onto each glass/ramekins.
- Decorate with additional Halloween decor such as candy skulls/bones or gravestones.
- Serve and enjoy! Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.
White candy skulls
- Melt the white candy coating.
- Fill your skull mold with some of the melted candy, hit the mold against the counter a few times to ensure all air bubbles are brought to the surface. Scrape any excess candy from the mold then chill in the fridge or freezer until solid. Repeat as needed.