A trifle is always a welcomed dessert at any occasion. I've taken the typical cake based trifle recipe, swapped out the cake for brownies and then added decadent layers of chocolate pudding, Oreo cookies and whipped topping. And of course, what makes this a "Dirt Cake Trifle" is that fun layer of gummy worms in the cookie crumbs!
What is a trifle
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of a trifle is "a dessert typically consisting of plain or sponge cake often soaked with wine or spirits (such as brandy or rum) and topped with layers of preserves, custard, and cream" .
I think over the years though, a trifle has morphed into basically any dessert that is layered with some cake/brownie base, pudding/custard filling and a whipped topping.
There are many variations of a trifle, including fruit trifles, chocolate cake trifles, heck, I've even made a carrot cake m&m trifle before!
- Buy store bought brownies! If I have a boxed mix around the house, I'll bake them but honestly, the grocery store bakery department typically has a big tray of brownies for like five bucks. That's probably less than the ingredients to make a boxed mix cost.
- If you don't have time to make pudding, buy pre-made pudding. I have seen tubs of pudding in the refrigerated section. If you can't find those, they have the multipacks of individual servings that are shelf stable, usually in the baking aisle of most grocery stores.
What is the dirt layer
The dirt layer is simply crushed Oreo cookies. This is the fun part, let the kids help out with this step. Put the cookies in a bag and let the kids whack it with a mallet, rolling pin, or similar object. If your not into fun, just give them a whiz in the food processor.
How to make a trifle
Once you have all the ingredients prepped, it's pretty easy to assemble.
- Place a layer of chopped brownies as the base
- Cover in chocolate pudding
- Layer of crushed Oreos
- Whipped topping
- Repeat 2 times
- End with a layer of crushed cookies, AKA dirt and add in the worms.
- I opt to only put the worms on the top layer. You can hide them throughout if you want. However, I have noticed the worms get a little hard to bite/chew when placed inside the trifle, so keep that in mind.
- Whipped topping - it's not recommended to use a fat-free variety. It just doesn't hold up well.
Bring to a BBQ, potluck or school / group events. Consider transforming this trifle into a holiday dessert by omitting the worms and placing holiday treats on top.
Printable Recipe Card
A classic trifle gets a new spin by using brownies instead of cake and jazzing it up with crushed Oreos to create a dirt cake look. Fun and festive, this is a crowd pleaser every time!
- 1 box brownie mix +ingredients called for on box (13x9 pan size)
- 2 3.0 ounce boxes instant pudding mix + milk called for on boxes
- 8 ounce container whipped topping (Cool Whip or similar)
- 32 oreo cookies , divided
- Gummy worms
Prepare brownie mix for 13x9 pan. Allow brownies to cool completely. Chop brownies into small squares. While brownies are cooking, prepare pudding.
Place ⅓ of brownies on bottom of a trifle bowl (glass bowl).
Spoon ⅓ of pudding over brownies.
Place 20 Oreos in a large plastic bag and whack with a mallet or rolling pin or roughly chop.
Place half of the chopped cookie mixture over pudding.
Spread ⅓ of the whipped topping on top of cookies.
For the third layer, add brownies, then pudding. Top the pudding with the whipped topping. Finely chop or whack the remaining cookies to create a finer crumb (to resemble dirt). Place crushed cookies over whipped topping.
Arrange gummy worms over or around the top of trifle.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Total time is drastically reduced if using store bought brownies. Most of the time included is for baking.