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!
What is a Dump Cake?
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.
The Problem With Dump Cakes
As 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.
Also, sometimes when you just “dump” things into a pan, they don’t always bake evenly. It’s important to spread the mixture in an even layer, which is what I suggest here.
And rather than top the cake with pats of butter, this recipe calls for melted butter, which is easier to rake across the top of any dry spots on the cake.
How to Make a Dump Cake From Scratch
Dump cakes from scratch are so much better!
- No more sugary fruit filling! 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. (I use frozen or fresh fruit interchangeably!)
- Easy DIY “cake mix!” Instead of boxed 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!
Ways to Add Variety To Dump Cakes
- Change up the fruit! You really can make a dump cake with pretty much any fruit that has some juiciness. My personal favorites are peach and sour cherry, but apple, berries, and stone fruits—even pineapple will work.
- Change up the topping! You can add variety to the topping with a dash of cinnamon or other spices. Some finely chopped nuts or grated coconut could add nice texture to the topping as well.
How to Store Dump Cake
I store this cake in the refrigerator, covered in plastic or in a container. It will keep for several days and takes well to reheating. It does not make a terrible breakfast, reheated with a scoop of Greek yogurt.
CAKES WITH FRUIT ARE AWESOME, RIGHT?!
- Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- Plum Walnut Skillet Cake
- Marmalade Pound Cake
- Triple Apple Snack Cake
- Cranberry Upside Down Cake
Watch the video for how to make dump cake!
Easy Dump Cake from Scratch Recipe
If you're using frozen fruit, use them from frozen; no need to thaw.
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
1 Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2 Prepare the fruit: Combine the fruit, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 9x13 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.
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.
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 be covered and refrigerated for a few days.
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