‘Older Than Dirt’ Cake

I love snarky birthday cakes! 

I love snarky birthday cakes SO much! This Older Than Dirt' cake is up there with my ‘Holy Crap You’re Old’ TP Cake and Crap-cakes on the favorites list 😉
This one’s a bit more colorful – to be honest, much less work – and just as fun!

Dirt cakes are some of my favorites to decorate – there’s nothing messier than dirt, so you can’t go wrong decorating! Plus really – what beats chocolate and Oreos and ganache for a birthday cake? Recipe and instructions are below!

(Disclosure: As a way to keep my kitchen stocked with butter, sugar, and flour I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn a commission by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
My posts often contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you!) 

Older Than Dirt  Cake layers:

2 ¼ cups (350g) all purpose flour
2 ¼ cups (450g) granulated sugar (roughly 2 ¼ c)
1 ¼ cup (100g) cocoa powder (roughly 1 ¼ c)
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 c /250g /16 T unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ½ cups (350mL) buttermilk (buttermilk powder with water is an option if you can’t find liquid buttermilk at your grocery store!)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Of note...you'll need a kitchen scale if you want to measure ingredients in grams.


Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (180C) or 320 FC (160C) for a convection oven. Grease 3 8-inch cake pans with baker's floured spray and/or line pans with parchment paper.  
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Turn mixer on low speed and allow it to mix for a couple minutes to help everything combine well (or sift the ingredients together). Add in the softened butter until it’s well incorporated into the dry ingredients and no lumps of butter are visible. 

Next, add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla together and whisk until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until no dry ingredients are visible. Scrape down the bowl and beat for another 20 seconds.

Fill the three pans evenly - I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part, and each of mine weighed out to about 550g. Bake for 30-35 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans, and cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.

(Especially if you’re short on time, there’s zero shame in falling back on boxed cake mixes! I usually use two mixes for 3 8-inch cake layers – to get a richer cake flavor I replace the oil with unsalted butter, the water with buttermilk(or buttermilk powder with water) and I add an extra two eggs!)

Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
5 ½ -6 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
4-6 Tablespoons milk
1 T vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with cocoa powder and milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined.

 Additional Supplies/Equipment:

- 1 8- or 10 -inch cardboard cake circle (I prefer Wilton’s center-punched circles)
- Large piping bag & tip – I use this set of reusable large bags & tips more than almost any of my others!
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, large offset spatula, and pastry cutter/bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! (Here’s a link to the cake turntable I use)
- Small offset spatula
- About 1 cup of chopped chocolate – I used Dove milk & dark chocolate
- 15-20 chopped Dark Chocolate Oreos – regular Oreos would work; I just thought these fit the dirt theme better!
- 12 oz semisweet chocolate + 12oz whipping cream for ganache – recipe below! 
- Gummy worms – I used a mix of Black Forest, Trolli, and Haribo twin snakes!
- ‘Older than Dirt’ Cake topper (if desired) – I found one topper on Amazon that I liked, but I think I like this one from Swankerie’s Etsy shop better! (Mine was black and 5” across)

Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting, and use your small offset spatula to press in slightly to the center and create a bit of a ‘rim’ around the outside of the cake. Sprinkle the frosting with chopped chocolate, Oreo pieces, and a drizzle of chocolate ganache if you’d like (recipe below) and add your next layer on top.
Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers.

Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer. I usually do this with my large offset spatula.
Firmly set your crumb coat – about 10 minutes in the freezer. Once your crumb coat has set, add your final layer of frosting and texture – I used a small offset spatula followed by fewer-than-usual passes with a bench scraper for this part; it added an irregular mud-like texture to the cake sides that I liked. Once your cake is covered, place it into the fridge to set the frosting.

Chocolate ganache drip: 

12 oz (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
12 oz (1 ½ cups) heavy whipping cream
Meanwhile, make your ganache. Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Microwave on half power in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until smooth.

When your ganache has cooled to a moderate temperature – it should feel slightly warm and still be fairly liquid – transfer it to a squeeze bottle or piping or small ziplock bag. A spoon will work if you don’t have either of those; I’ve just found spoons to be a little bit more difficult to work with.

Slowly drizzle ganache around the upper edge of your cake, pausing every inch or so to let more fall in a drip down the side of the cake. I left a few breaks in the drip to make room to add some gummy worms to the sides. Return cake to the fridge or freezer to set the drips.

Top your cake with your cake topper! Transfer some frosting to your piping bag – I used the large star tip – and add on as many frosting swirls, chocolate pieces, chopped Oreos, and gummy worms as you’d like!

Make this recipe? Let me know how it went - or find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!

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