gluten free dirt cake with gummy worms

Whelp, it’s official – my two year old has finally learned how to ruin family photos on purpose.


Also, happy Friday and hello after a quiet week here on IGE! Last weekend, Ben, Lincoln and I trekked out to Colorado to unplug and enjoy some fresh mountain air (which apparently has gone to someone’s brain, bahaha!) in Vail and Denver. This trip is exactly what we needed, and while we’re ready to head home and sleep in our own beds tonight, it was SUCH a treat to trade computer views for mountain views this week.

I’ll have a full recap for you next week, but in the meantime…


DIRT CAKE!!! If there’s one thing making it easier to come back to reality today, it’s that I get to share the recipe for gluten-free, dairy-free dirt cake with you, which our family, especially Lincoln, is going nuts for right now. It’s even better than the original!

Watch How to Make It!

In case you missed it, my Mom whipped up this GF/DF Dirt Cake for my birthday this year, and it was a smash hit with me and the grandkids (3/4 of whom have a dairy allergy.) After posting about it, many of you asked for the recipe, and I’m thrilled to spread the GF/DF Dirt Cake love! ❤️

gluten free dirt cake in a serving bowl with gummy worms

Also, any recipe that causes Lincoln to start giggling in utter delight after his first bite is a recipe that needs to be shared. He’s already requested it for his birthday next week which will definitely blow the disaster that was his first birthday cake, and box mix cupcakes I made for his 2nd birthday, out of the water. He loves this Dirt Cake SO much!

Help anyone with a gluten intolerance or dairy allergy feel like a kid again with Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Dirt Cake! Rich and creamy, it's the perfect summertime treat. |

I know this recipe is very specific, so if you don’t have a gluten or dairy-free dessert-loving person in your life, I still highly recommend the original Dirt Cake recipe for a summer get together, birthday treat, or even as a fun, Halloween-themed dessert. That said, if you or someone you know has Celiac Disease and/or a dairy/gluten intolerance/allergy, than you know it’s hard to find safe desserts that don’t taste like they’ve been modified to be allergy-friendly. This recipe, however, is even better than the original. It’s all about the homemade 5 minute pudding recipe, man.

Also, just throwing this out there, this is definitely not a healthy version of Dirt Cake. Simply a creamy, velvety, and chocolatey version that will blow the socks off the gluten/dairy-free person in your life. You have to let me know if you give it a try.

scoop of gluten free dairy free dirt cake in a cup

Start by making an easy, 5 minute, almond milk-based vanilla pudding for the cream layer. I have not tested this recipe with cow’s, soy, or coconut milk so I can’t say for certain if the ratios would be the same. In a medium-sized saucepan, stir together 1/3 cup sugar, 2 Tablespoons gluten-free corn starch (I use Argo brand,) and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Drizzle in 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk then whisk vigorously until smooth. Add 3 egg yolks then whisk until smooth, then add another 1 cup almond milk and whisk until smooth.


Place the saucepan over a burner then turn the heat to medium. Whisk until the pudding starts to bubble and thicken then turn the heat down to low and stir with a spatula until the pudding has thickened, 4-5 minutes (hello, 5 minute pudding!) I determined that my pudding was done when I dragged the spatula across the bottom of the pan and the pudding stayed separated for a split second.

Remove the pudding from the heat then stir in 3 Tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance) and 2 teaspoons vanilla until smooth.


Pour the pudding through a fine mesh sieve to catch any lumps of cornstarch that didn’t get smoothed out, or cooked egg, then place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the pudding to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until completely chilled and set, about 2 hours. FYI, you could do this several days ahead of time.


Meanwhile, add an 8oz package gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate sandwich cookies (I used Ktoos found in the gluten-free aisle at the regular grocery store,) to a food processor then process until fine crumbs.


I mentioned in my last post that my Mom has been making the original Dirt Cake recipe since us kids were young, so I had to ask her what she did back before she owned a food processor: Ziplock bag + rolling pin, of course! So, just know that’s an option if you don’t have a food processor.


Once the pudding has completely chilled, finish the cream layer. First whisk 4oz vegan cream cheese that’s been softened to room temperature in a large bowl until completely smooth.


I’m recommending you do this by hand or with an electric hand mixer, vs in a stand mixer, because vegan cream cheese (at least the Tofutti brand I used,) needs a little elbow grease to get super, super smooth. I froze the other half of the tub for a future batch of GF/DF Dirt Cake, by the way.


Next add a 9oz tub coconut cool whip (this brand was, as the name implies, delicious!) to the bowl then whisk again until very smooth.


Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 3 Tablespoons vegan butter softened to room temperature, and 1 teaspoon vanilla then whisk until smooth. Finally add the pudding recipe (about 2 cups in case you’re using a different recipe,) then whisk until smooth.


I’m telling you, this cream layer is nothing short of magical – it’s like edible velvet. I couldn’t have kept this child from the spatula if I tried!


Alrighty, last step is layering! In a 1-1/2 – 2 quart glass bowl add the following layers – 1/4 cup cookie crumbs, 2 cups pudding filling, 3/4 cup cookie crumbs, remaining pudding filling, and remaining cookie crumbs.


Cover then refrigerate overnight, and then top with gummy worms and/or fake flowers for that real “Dirt Cake” effect before serving. I made several batches of this gluten-free, dairy-free Dirt Cake before we left for Colorado, and I can’t wait to make it again for Lincoln’s birthday next week. It is THAT good – impossible to get sick of! I hope you love it too!

Big serving bowl of gluten free dirt cake

Gluten Free Dairy Free Dirt Cake

5/5 (4 REVIEWS)


Help anyone with a gluten intolerance or dairy allergy feel like a kid again with Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Dirt Cake! Rich and creamy, it's the perfect summertime treat.


serves 6-8

  • For the Vanilla Pudding:
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 2 Tablespoons gluten-free cornstarch (I use Argo)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1-1/4 cups almond milk
    • 3 egg yolks
    • 3 Tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Butter
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • For the Dirt Cake:
    • 4oz vegan cream cheese, room temperature
    • 9oz coconut cool whip (I used So Delicious CocoWhip)
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 3 Tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Butter, softened to room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 cups homemade vanilla pudding (entire recipe above)
    • 8oz package GF/DF chocolate sandwich cookies (I use K-Toos)
    • Gummy worms, for decoration


  1. For the vanilla pudding: Place a fine mesh strainer over a large glass bowl then set aside. Add sugar, cornstarch, and salt to a medium-sized saucepan then whisk to combine. Add 1/4 cup almond milk then whisk vigorously until smooth. Add egg yolks then whisk until smooth. Add remaining 1 cup milk then whisk until smooth.
  2. Place saucepan over medium heat then cook, whisking often, until pudding begins to thicken and bubble (this will happen all of the sudden.) Turn heat down to low then switch to a spatula and cook until pudding has thickened, 4-5 minutes. Remove pan from heat then stir in vegan butter and vanilla, and then pour pudding through fine mesh sieve to strain.
  3. Place a piece of saran wrap directly over the pudding to prevent a skin from forming on top then refrigerate until set, 2 hours.
  4. For the Dirt Cake: Whisk vegan cream cheese in a large bowl to ensure it's entirely smooth. Add coconut cool whip then whisk until smooth. Add powdered sugar, vegan butter, and vanilla then whisk until smooth. Add homemade pudding then whisk until smooth.
  5. Add chocolate sandwich cookies to a food processor then process until smooth. Alternatively you could add them to a large Ziplock bag then roll with a rolling pin until smooth.
  6. Layer ingredients in a 1-1/2 - 2 quart sized glass bowl: 1/4 cup cookie crumbs, 2 cups pudding filling, 3/4 cup cookie crumbs, remaining pudding filling, and remaining cookie crumbs. Refrigerate overnight then top with gummy worms and serve.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


Photo collage of gluten free dairy free dirt cake