My family celebrates the majority of our birthdays during the heat of the summer.
While I love dessert, I don’t like turning on my oven during the summer. My kitchen tends to become the hottest part of the house. Baking makes it worse.
My kids — the youngest of which is now 10 — have grown more adventurous in their quest for delicious birthday cake. Our traditional chocolate cake has been replaced with desserts such as coffee cake served in some Christmas commercial, ice cream cake or something fancy at the local bake shop.
One of my favorite recipes is dump cake. My mother often brings the dish to church potlucks, so making this dish takes me back to my childhood.
Dump cake is pretty easy to make. “Dump” wet ingredients into a greased pan, then the dry ingredients. Bake for about an hour or so.
Dump cakes are said to have been created around the 1960s. The recipe was featured on the back of a cake mix box, but several sources I looked at have not been able to find the original recipe.
There is another reference to dump cake’s creation that says the first mention of dump cake was in the 1980s in a Pillsbury cookbook.
The first versions of dump cake used canned cherries, canned pineapple and cake mix. All of the ingredients come together in a dish that resembles a cobbler when it comes out of the oven. In addition to being convenient on the ingredient side, the recipe is convenient on the time side, too. Making the cake right in the pan you bake it in means easy cleanup.
Below are two takes on the basic dump cake recipe — one my mother uses and one I use. If you don’t have a can of cherry pie filling or tropical fruit cocktail, you can substitute them with something you have on hand.
I prefer using the tropical dump cake recipe, which is from Betty Crocker. The cake cooks in a crock pot, which means I throw everything in and let it go until we’re ready to eat. The tropical fruit mixture contains some of my family’s favorites — mango and pineapple.
1 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple
1 21 oz. can of cherry pie filling (or any pie filling flavor)
1 box of yellow cake box mix (again any flavor can be used)
1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 stick of butter, sliced thin
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and well grease a 13 x 9 pan.
- In this order, layer the ingredients: crushed pineapple, cherry pie filling, cake mix and pecans.
- Place the thin pats of butter evenly across the top.
- Bake for 50 minutes to an hour.
- Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream if you desire.
TROPICAL DUMP CAKE
(From Betty Crocker)
2 cans (15 oz. each) tropical fruit salad in fruit juice, undrained
2 teaspoons cornstarch
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist yellow cake mix
1 cup butter or margarine
- Spray 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Reserve 1/2 cup fruit juice from fruit salad; pour remaining juice and fruit into a slow cooker.
- In a small bowl, stir cornstarch into reserved fruit juice until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Pour cornstarch mixture into a slow cooker; stir to combine.
- Sprinkle brown sugar over fruit. Sprinkle cake mix over fruit. Cut butter in small pieces; place evenly over cake mix.
- Cover; cook on low heat setting 3 hours or until the cake is set when lightly touched in the center.
- Spoon warm cake into dessert bowls; spoon fruit mixture over cake.