Easy Dump Cake from Scratch

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You'll forgive this cake its unfortunate name once you make this homemade version, which uses no canned pie filling or cake mix. Real ingredients are just as easy—and so much tastier!

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!

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.

How to Make Dump Cake from Scratch

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! 

  1. 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!)
  2. 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.

Peach Dump cake recipe plated dump cake with scoop of vanilla ice cream in a white bowl

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?!

Watch the video for how to make dump cake!

 

Updated October 17, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.

Easy Dump Cake from Scratch Recipe

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

If you're using frozen fruit, use them from frozen; no need to thaw.

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 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.

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 be 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

42 Comments / Reviews

No ImageEasy Dump Cake from Scratch

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Shelly

    My plum tree went a little crazy this year and I had way too many plums even after giving lots away. So, I tried your dump cake with the plums. I added sliced toasted almonds to the topping otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. It turned out sooooo good. (I did have to add a little extra sugar as suggested because the plums were a little tart.) I’m going to make more in smaller baking dishes and freeze them. Has anyone frozen a dump cake? I think it should freeze well. (?) Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Linda

    I liked this recipe very much. It baked up well and tasted good. I used frozen peaches and fresh blueberries, and threw in a scant amount of pecan halves. I also like the fact the cake part is from scratch. No added chemicals!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Antonia

    How great to use all natural ingredients. Have liked the idea of dump cakes but not the idea of using cake mixes. Have made it with organic frozen mixed berries. It’s the best. Thank you

  4. Alexa

    What can you use instead of cornstarch%? Thanks so much

    Show Replies (3)
  5. Patty W

    I have made this recipe several times and it is always so delicious!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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