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Springtime Dirt Cake
Serves 12 to 15

More fun than mud pies and tastier than ordinary cake--that's DIRT cake! It begins and ends with ground Oreo crumbs, so you know it's a winner!

The cake is adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe. For added flair, "build" the cake in a terra-cotta pot and "plant some tulips in the dirt" by inserting real or artificial tulips. (Please wrap their stems in plastic wrap.) You could also assemble the dirt cake in a new 5-gallon plastic sand pail with gummi (candy) worms for decoration.

IMPORTANT: If you use a terra-cotta pot, sterilize the pot by placing it in the oven at 350° for two to three hours. Be sure to avoid using any pot that has been glazed.

What you need:

  • 2 sixteen-ounce packages Oreo cookies
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 packages (3.9 ounces each) instant chocolate pudding
  • 4 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 sixteen-ounce carton frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • Candy or flowers for garnish (optional)

What you do:

1. If using a flowerpot with a drainage hole, reserve 1 cookie to place over hole to prevent leaking. Place remaining cookies in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until mixture resembles dirt. (You can use a blender or other method to reduce the cookies to crumbs if you don't have a food processor. )

2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and butter, and stir until creamy. Set aside.

3. In another large bowl, whisk together instant-pudding mixes and milk; stir until well blended. Using a rubber spatula, fold pudding mixture into cream-cheese mixture. Fold in whipped topping.

4. In a flowerpot or bucket with a 5-quart capacity, alternate layers of cookie "dirt" and pudding mixture, starting and ending with cookie "dirt."

5. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight before serving. Garnish with candy or flowers before serving. Enjoy!

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