Chocolate Peanut Butter Dirt Cake – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

A remake of the summer classic, this low carb dirt cake recipe will blow your mind! Crumbly chocolate cookie crust with layers of creamy peanut butter filling and chocolate pudding. Gluten-free and grain-free.

Low Carb Gluten-Free Dirt Cake Recipe

Dirt cake: not a very attractive name for a dessert, is it? Sounds like something you might have made in the sandbox in kindergarten, or something the school bully might make you eat on the playground after school. Thankfully, it is neither of those things but a delicious, creamy treat only made to look as if it contains dirt. Which surely appeals to the kid in all of us. I’d never actually heard of them until relatively recently, perhaps because of my “north of the border” upbringing. But I have to admit, they look ridiculously good. Who can argue with crushed chocolate cookies and pudding? Not me, that’s for certain.

A reader recently reached out over Facebook to request one because her mother always made them on her birthday. And she linked to a delightful one with a peanut butter layer too on The Cookin” Chicks. Wait, what? Chocolate cookies, peanut butter AND chocolate pudding? Well that just jumped to the head of the to-make list! Of course, I wasn’t about to make it with the Oreos or packaged pudding that conventional dirt cakes contain. But a quick look at the ingredients let me know it really wouldn’t be tough to de-carb, in the end. I just had to make all the layers from scratch. A bit more work, perhaps, but definitely worth it.

Sugar-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Dirt Cake

 

Low Carb Chocolate Peanut Butter Dirt Cake

I tried to adhere to the spirit of the original as much as possible, including making it a no-bake treat. Summer is coming and we should all be able to enjoy some deliciousness without turning our kitchens into a furnace. So the crust requires no baking, just some firm pressing into the bottom of the pan, and it holds together beautifully. The only part of the cake that gets cooked here is the chocolate pudding, but that’s right on the stovetop and doesn’t take more than about 10 minutes. Then the whole thing gets popped in the fridge to set. I made mine in a springform pan because I figured being able to release the sides would allow for easier serving. But you could also make this in a square pan or even a trifle bowl, and serve in big scoopfuls. You could even do individual servings in little plastic flower pots for a fun kid-friendly dessert.

Low Carb Chocolate Peanut Butter Dirt Cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Dirt Cake

Yield: 16 servings

A remake of the summer classic, this low carb dirt cake recipe will blow your mind! Crumbly chocolate cookie crust with layers of creamy peanut butter filling and chocolate pudding. Gluten-free and grain-free.

Ingredients

    Crust:
  • 1 & 1/4 cup almond flour (Honeyville)
  • 5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 5 tbsp Swerve Sweetener
  • 3 & 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
  • Peanut Butter Layer:
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream, divided
  • 1/4 tsp liquid stevia extract
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup Swerve Sweetener
  • Chocolate Pudding Layer:
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup Swerve Sweetener
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 & 1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter in 3 pieces
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

    Crust:
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, cocoa powder, and sweetener. Add melted butter and stir until well combined.
  2. Remove about 1/4 cup of crust mixture and set aside.
  3. Press remaining crust firmly and evenly into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
  4. Peanut Butter Layer:
  5. In a large bowl, whip 1/2 cup of the whipping cream with the stevia extract until it holds stiff peaks.
  6. In another large bowl, beat cream cheese with powdered sweetener until smooth. Beat in peanut butter and remaining whipping cream until well combined.
  7. Gently fold in whipped cream until combined.
  8. Spread peanut butter mixture carefully over crust. Refrigerate while preparing pudding layer.
  9. Chocolate Pudding Layer:
  10. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine almond milk, whipping cream and sweetener. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sweetener.
  11. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks until smooth. Slowly whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the yolks to temper. Then slowly whisk tempered yolks back into saucepan.
  12. Reduce heat to medium low and sprinkle surface with xanthan gum, whisking vigorously to combine. Whisk in cocoa powder and cook until thickened, about 3 or 4 minutes.
  13. Remove from heat and stir in chopped chopped chocolate and butter until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract.
  14. Let cool about 15 minutes and then spread evenly over peanut butter layer. Sprinkle with reserved crust ingredients.
  15. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours. To serve, run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan and remove sides. Run the knife under hot water to cut nice even slices.

Notes

Serves 16. Each serving has 8 g of carbs and 3 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 5 g.

335 Calories; 32g Fat (81.8% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 115mg Cholesterol; 162mg Sodium.

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Comments

  1. charlotte says:

    I am DEFINETLY making this soon- probably for my mom, i think that she’ll like it

  2. Christine says:

    I am definitely making this for my son’s birthday which happens to be today. But, I am also thinking that I might double that pudding recipe and try making “pudding pops” for the freezer.

  3. Sarah G says:

    The first time I saw a dirt cake was when my older cousin brought a big pot with artificial flowers in it to a party when I was very young. The “dirt” had gummi worms in it. Then at one point she started scooping out the dirt and eating it! I was so grossed out! LOL!

    I had some though and it was incredibly good! I can’t wait to make this, especially for my kids. It looks so amazing!

    • Carolyn says:

      It would be fun to serve this in little flower pots too! No gummy worms, though.. ;)

      • My family has a tradition where they make the dirt cake and put it in flower pots. At Christmas or Thanksgiving, anyone who is new to the family, i.e. married someone in the family, has to “eat dirt.” It is completely ridiculous…but I do love dirt cake.

  4. I have never had dirt cake but that must change. This looks so delicious and those are some beautiful layers.

  5. Oh my WORD, this looks good, Carolyn!

  6. Olivia Ericson says:

    Looks Fantastic! I’ll be making this soon. You and IBIH are my favorite places to go for recipes! Thank you for all your hard work. Have you tried to make a lc gf angel food cake?

    • Carolyn says:

      Melissa does make great recipes too! Love her. And no, have not yet tried angel food cake…might be good for the summer!

  7. This looks fabulous! Just a couple questions…
    Do you prepare the pan first? Also, is there a brand of the liquid stevia that you like best?
    Hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

    • crazywoman/Billie says:

      I wondered about the liquid stevia too. Different brands/types have different sweetness equivalencies. So I’m as interested in knowing the equivalency as the brand.

  8. I am SO making this! It looks fantastic! And I bet it could be easily turned into a mocha dirt cake for the choco-coffee-holics among us (my DH comes to mind). One of the many great things about your recipes is their flexibility!

  9. I’d forgotten about this pie. It was a go-to when I was teaching at a girl’s school – the 9th graders had an all-class birthday party, and they were still young enough to think this – with the gummi worms – was AWESOMELY disgusting. Good times.

    To make this one truly no-bake, I might even try that “instant” chocolate pudding with chia, just grinding it finely in a coffee grinder so there’s no “crunch” in that layer of dirt…

  10. I’ve never had dirt cake with a peanut butter layer. Which now means I have been missing out!

  11. Yum! I am going to have to make this dairy free! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  12. I just made this cake. It tastes divine. The proportions of the ingredients are right. I had to make a few adjustments, however, because I am allergic to peanuts. I used almond butter instead. This cake is really delicious and wonderful sugar-gree, gluten free alternative to those sinful frozen whipped pies made from hydrogenated oils you can buy at your local grocery store. It’s very satisfying too because it’s quite filling. I am saving this recipe! :-)

  13. I cannot believe how incredible this looks – I’ll definitely be giving this a go! Thanks for bringing so many brilliant recipes to us! ♥

  14. Tina Spoon says:

    When you use swerve are you using the regular swerve or the confectioners?

    • Carolyn says:

      If I say “powdered”, I am referring to the confectioners. Otherwise, it’s just the regular granulated.

      • Annemarie says:

        I am making this now and just wanted to mention, you say powedered Swerve in the instructions, but do not call it out in the Peanut Butter layer ingredients list. Not sure if you want to go back and correct that. :D Luckily I just found that they are selling it in Whole Foods so I just bought a bag of it instead of cheating and processing regular in a coffee grinder to make it finer LOL :D

  15. This looks delightful and simple! One question: I don’t like peanut butter or peanut at all, so any suggestions on changing that middle layer? Is there a way to make it a white chocolate layer perhaps? I can’t think of anything else that might work.

    • Carolyn says:

      How about almond butter or another nut butter? I haven’t tested anything with white chocolate so I can’t give advice there.

    • Melanie says:

      One idea might be to either make a white layer by leaving out the peanut butter and by using vanilla extract (or maybe almond extract or maybe peppermint extract?). I’ve made a low-carb pie filling that is 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, whipped, plus 8 oz of cream cheese (softened). It probably wouldn’t be as stiff as this filling without the peanut butter, but it is possible to make a creamy mousse with cream cheese and heavy cream, plus the sweeteners. Like I said, you’d probably need about a cup of cream, and maybe you’d want to add more cream cheese to compensate for the lack of peanut butter?

  16. I have a strong allergy to artificial sweeteners. Would the amount of sweetener be the same with sugar with this recipe?

  17. Sheridan says:

    This is delicious! Thank you for the recipe!

  18. hands-down the yummiest low-carb dessert I’ve ever eaten! I’ve made it twice!

    The ingredients list shows “Swerve Sweetener” for the peanut butter layer but the instructions say “powdered sweetener”. I didn’t catch that bit the first time around and used standard granulated Swerve. Made the peanut butter layer kind of grainy. My mistake!

    Is it possible to freeze this successfully? I’m the only one in my house eating low carb and I hate to waste any of this delicious dessert but I don’t need to eat it all at once :D

    Thanks for all your awesome recipes!

    • Carolyn says:

      I am not sure it will freeze all that well, but it’s worth a try if you’re okay with the texture changing a bit when it thaws.

    • Did you happen to freeze yours? How did it turn out. I just made this and want to freeze it, don’t won’t to eat it all at one time. Ha ha

      • Carolyn says:

        I don’t think this will freeze very well, to be honest. The consistency will change…but it’s worth a try!

      • I haven’t tried freezing it yet – but I definitely plan on making this again. If you freeze it, let me know how it turns out!

      • Just wanted to say this was delicious thank-you for the recipe.

    • Elizabeth O'Keefe says:

      This freezes very well, just let it thaw for a good bit before eating it. Just as delicious as the day I made it!

  19. This is one of my favorite of yours! So much goodness going on over here. :)

    I love how you take reader requests! I’ve asked for requests several times and nobody says a peep. Haha. I guess I need to try harder at the whole FB thing.

  20. Oh my, where was this the night of the Swerve party?? I would’ve eaten half the cake by myself — for sure! So much chocolaty and peanut buttery goodness… Pure heaven. :)

  21. Loretta says:

    Carolyn,

    Help! Are you out there somewhere? I have guar gum. Getting all the ingredients together to make this for my birthday and only have guar gum not xantham gum. Is there a way to make this work??

    Loretta

    • Carolyn says:

      I think it should work but you may need more of it in the pudding to help it set. I’d do 1.5 times the amount of xanthan.

      • Loretta says:

        Thank you that’s what I did. It worked out perfectly. So far so good. I’m waiting for the pudding to cool a bit so I can pour on the cake and then sprinkle with the topping and then set up in the frig. It looks so good!

        • Carolyn says:

          Hope it works! Even if it isn’t as stable, it will still taste amazing. :)

          • Loretta says:

            Carolyn,

            I loved it. Worked out perfectly. It was delicious, creamy. Very rich. Also, had never used a spring form pan before. Thanks for these great recipes. :-)
            Happy Birthday to me! Loretta

          • Carolyn says:

            Happy birthday!

  22. Do you think I can use glucomannann instead of a Xantham? I know it is often used to make puddings. Also, if I don’t have chocolate can I use extra coco powder? I have almost everything needed and would like to try it. Thanks in advance!

    • Carolyn says:

      I have never used glucomannann but heard good things about it. It’s worth a try, I just don’t know the amounts.

  23. Loved, loved this cake. I used Truvia as sweetener. I didn’t care for the base, it was quite crumbly. I am going to use the base from your brownie cheesecake recipe with this topping. It should be amazing!

  24. Kathleen says:

    I made this and it was delicious! I made it in an 8″ square dish and glad I did because the chocolate layer didn’t thicken up enough (I used a little less cream because I ran out and a little more almond milk). Anyway, it still tasted wonderful and I’ll make it again.

  25. I just made this today. I used THM Sweetblend and Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips, because that is what I had. I put a bit less sweetener in (because THM Sweetblend is a bit sweeter than straight Swerve, and hello, already sweet chocolate chips), and just tasted as I went. I am super excited to eat this in a few hours.

  26. Ok Carolyn, I have been lurking for awhile now. (Since I found your peanut butter/ice cream sandwich recipe… YUM!) I have to comment on this one because you have gotten me in SO much trouble… This is incredibly addicting!!!
    I have always loved the Jell-O brand boxed mousse pies. Even as a child, when we got to choose a birthday cake, it was always these cold pies instead of cake. To me, this is almost identical, but BETTER, than the chocolate/peanut butter version of those Jell-O pies.
    I used half the Swerve in every layer. For some reason, I am uber-sensitive to it and if I use full amounts, it’s overpowering sweet. I threw everything together on the 3rd, and had every intention of letting it sit overnight and taking it to our 4th of July picnic the next evening… It didn’t make it that far. My husband and I downed half of it after lunch. :P haha
    The next time, I would love to make it in little individual serving tupperwares or something and freeze so I can grab one and take to work with me in my lunch. :)
    Also, for anyone wondering, the longer it sits, the more it resembles cheesecake. :) We finished it up last night, and it had sat a little uncovered in the fridge as well, but it had that firmer “cheesecake” feel and we absolutely loved it!
    Thank you so much for all your hard work and your awesome treats.

  27. Best. Dessert. Ever.

  28. Do I need to use xanthan gum or can I use something in it’s place?

  29. Hi Carolyn,

    This sounds delicious!! I’m wondering if the almond flour can be subbed out for cashew flour? I bought a bag of cashew flour at TJ’s a bit ago, and have no idea what to do with it–any ideas of dessert recipes that can take that substitution? LOVE your blog!

  30. Is swerve good for diabetics?
    If no – what else can I use to sweeten the cake?
    yehudit

  31. Is swerve good for diabetics?
    If no – what else can I use to sweeten the cake?
    I didn’t received answer for this question.
    yehudit

    • Melanie E. says:

      She answered that it’s good for her as a pre-diabetic, and I agree. As a type 1 diabetic, my blood sugars aren’t negatively affected by using Swerve as a sweetener. I don’t think you need to search for a different sweetener.

  32. ecxuse me but I have another question-what is xanthan gum?
    Does it has another name?
    Can I make the cake without it?

    • It’s a powder that thickens things without adding carbs. I don’t believe it has another name and in this case, you need something to help thicken. You could try a little gelatin.

  33. This looks wonderful! I can’t wait to try it. Thank you!

  34. maria hadgis says:

    love the pie, but my daughter has tree nut allergy, can i use coconut flower ??

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