Dump Cake from Scratch

Classic dump cake from scratch! No canned pie filling, no cake mix. Real ingredients, but just as easy!

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Photography Credit: Cindy Rahe

I was first introduced to the concept of a dump cake when I was in high school. It quickly became a favorite of my mom’s because it was so easy and convenient – and, of course, everyone loved eating it!

Classic dump cakes, my mom’s included, were made with canned pie filling, a box of dry cake mix, and melted butter. The ingredients were dumped into the pan — fruit first, then cake mix, followed by the melted butter. No mixing; just layer and bake.

The whole thing came out of the oven resembling something between a cobbler and streusel.

How to Make Dump Cake from ScratchAs much as I loved dump cakes back then, I have a few issues with them now.

Besides the cringe-worthy name, most dump cakes are way too sweet and can be kind of a one-note experience. Using canned pie filling and cake mix also means loads of preservatives and who knows what else going into your cake.

How to Make Dump Cake from ScratchDump cakes from scratch are so much better!

First of all, you get to use whatever fruit you want and you can control the amount of sugar you use. Use whatever fresh fruit is in season, use frozen fruit, or go for a mix. For today’s recipe, I used frozen berries with a few ripe peaches.

How to Make Dump Cake from ScratchInstead of cake mix, I use a simple mix of flour, baking powder, and salt. Sprinkle this over the fruit, add some generous puddles of melted butter, and put it in the oven to bake.

The real beauty of this recipe? It is just as easy as the original. It uses ingredients you already have on hand and can be assembled in minutes. It resembles the dump cakes of my youth, but tastes so much better. No more one-note dump cake!

Dump Cake from Scratch Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: About 12 servings

Ingredients

  • For the fruit:
  • 3 pounds (1.36 kilograms) fresh or frozen fruit (like berries, sliced peaches, sliced apples, sliced plums, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar, plus more to taste
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the cake:

  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) melted unsalted butter
  • Vanilla ice cream, to serve

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2 Prepare the fruit: Combine the fruit, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 9-x-13 baking dish, stirring to coat the fruit in the sugar and cornstarch. Add up to an extra 1/4 cup sugar, as needed, if using very tart fruits. (Frozen fruit is fine; it doesn't not need to be thawed before baking.)

Spread the mixture into an even layer.

How to Make Dump Cake from Scratch

3 Add the cake topping: Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and kosher salt for the cake layer in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the fruit. Drizzle the melted butter evenly over the top.

How to Make Dump Cake from Scratch

4 Bake the cake: Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling through the center and the top is golden (frozen fruit might take an extra 10 minutes or so). If you notice a few dry pockets of flour toward the end of cooking, push them down into the fruit with a spoon so they cook.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Leftover cake can covered and refrigerated for a few days.

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Cindy Rahe

Cindy Rahe is the recipe maker and picture taker behind Hungry Girl por Vida. She loves to bake from scratch and make things that taste as good as they look. Cindy was born near Seoul but grew up in California and Nevada. She believes strongly in homemade birthday cakes, creamy coffee, and making room for dessert.

More from Cindy

How to Make Dump Cake from Scratch

Showing 4 of 20 Comments

  • Rosalind

    Does cornstarch have to be added to the fruit?

  • Sara a

    I do a breakfast version with jiffy cornbread mix and whatever I need to use up.

  • Monica

    I have made dump cake in the crock pot (with canned and boxed ingredients). I can’t wait to try this recipe crock pot style!! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  • Julie

    Thank you SO MUCH for including weight measurements! Usually I have to convert recipes myself!

  • Pam Legault

    the difference between using kosher and regular salt is ??

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