20 Unfussy, Lovable Dump Cake Recipes
While the term “dump cake” might give you the giggles, we are totally head over heels for this delicious, mess-free type of cake. The ingredients are dumped directly into the baking dish!
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Romance, thy name is not Dump Cake. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a less attractive name for something you’d put in your mouth, but here we are. Then what is a dump cake? Why would anyone call it that? It turns out dump cakes aren’t named to appeal to the eater — they're meant to appeal to the harried baker who needs to make a dessert fast, but doesn’t have the time (or desire) to tussle with elaborate recipes. These cakes were designed to be dumped into one pan or bowl, stirred together and then popped in the oven. Fast, easy, no muss, and no fuss.
The dump cake has an interesting history: It’s a descendent of the wacky cake, a clever World War I-era innovation by bakers in response to the scarcity of eggs and butter at the time; vinegar and a few other ingredients could be mixed in a pan to make a tasty cake. In the Depression of the 1930s, crazy cake was popular with home cooks; it could also be mixed up in one bowl or the baking dish, and was inexpensive to prepare with a few scarce ingredients. The first published account of the dump cake we know today came in a Duncan Hines brochure in 1980: As middle class married women were entering the workforce, the pressure to continue to deliver homemade treats to the family was on, and dump cakes fit the bill!
The OG dump cake entailed opening cans of fruit, like pineapple or cherries, dumping them in the pan, sprinkling them with a boxed cake mix and then dotting the top with butter. When baked, the lush dessert mimicked a cobbler — but with a lot less effort. After the last year-and-a-half of near-constant home cooking for a lot of the planet, some fast and easy cake recipes couldn’t come quicker! Check out the options below; they expand beyond canned fruit with fresh berries, spiced pumpkin options, chocolate madness, and a few slow cooker cakes that will fill your home with a delicious fragrance. So give yourself a break and get a dump cake in the oven — maybe it’s not the worst name after all.
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Dump cake tips and tricks
Should dump cakes be stored in the fridge? Can I use a chocolate cake mix interchangeably with a yellow cake mix? Follow these simple suggestions.
What kind of cake mix can you use for dump cake?
Unless the recipe calls specifically for a chocolate cake or other type, generally a yellow or white cake mix can be used — Trader Joe’s vanilla cake mix is amazing, but feel free to use your favorite brand.
How do you store a dump cake?
For a dump cake recipe that has fruit in it, the refrigerator is your best bet if you’re not going to polish it off within a day — the moisture that fruit provides can lead to quicker spoilage. For a non-fruit-based cake, it should keep at room temperature for several days, covered with foil. But if it’s very hot where you live, cooler storage may be wise.
Choco-tastic dump cakes
These chocolate-based dump cakes are a luscious and decadent treat
Four kinds of chocolate combine to give this dangerously deep dark chocolate dump cake an intensity that will have you thinking about it long afterwards: chocolate cake mix, chocolate pudding mix, cocoa powder, and plenty of chocolate chips. Only the milk isn’t made of chocolate.
This luscious dessert is worth the effort all year ‘round. A streamlined pumpkin pie mixture is topped with chopped semisweet chocolate and the dry ingredients of a homemade chocolate cake. Add drizzled butter and you have an elegant treat for all seasons.
This chocolate dump cake is full of treats: Reese’s pieces, chopped peanut butter cups, chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips atop a dense, moist, luscious, chocolatey cake, made all the richer by the chocolate pudding mix.
Fruit-forward dump cakes
These dump cakes deliver the sweetness of fruit with minimal effort
Caramel apples are an old school pleasure, and these tempting mini apple dump cakes have caramel bits scattered atop each cozy pie-cake hybrid. Fall for these and you’ll find yourself whipping them up in every season.
This peach dump cake incorporates vanilla pudding mix into the batter, layers on canned peaches, and tops them with a cream cheese mixture to bake up a lush dessert that’s reminiscent of a peach cobbler. Feel free to substitute fresh peach slices if you’re so inclined.
Fresh berries elevate this buttery summer treat, which is actually made and baked in the same pan, as dump cakes were intended. Raspberries and blueberries sing of summer, and lemon zest and juice ensure the berry sweetness pops.
Only three ingredients are needed to make this cake, though it’s lovely served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Frozen pitted cherries are convenient and also ensure a purity of cherry flavor and natural juice to infuse the cake; boxed yellow cake mix is easy to open and pour into the pan, and shaved butter adds a luscious creamy note.
Summer’s glorious couple shines in this cobbler-esque dessert. The astringency of rhubarb is tempered by the gentle sweetness of strawberries, and a splash of vanilla makes it taste very much like love on a warm summer’s night.
Banana cream pudding mix is complemented by sliced fresh bananas, fresh strawberries, pineapple, and chocolate chips, then topped with whipped cream for a light and fresh-tasting fruit-filled dessert.
You might not be able to take a vacation, but one bite of this lovely pineapple dump cake and you can almost smell the island breeze. A can of chopped pineapple, coconut milk, and shredded coconut get stirred in with a little rum, all in the baking dish so there are no bowls to wash. A kitchen holiday, at least.
This is a quick cake to put together (even kids can make it). In the slow cooker, simply layer a can of crushed pineapple, a can of cherry pie filling, yellow cake mix, then melted butter and sliced almond. Then enjoy hours of a sweetly scented kitchen.
This dump cake delivers the best of all worlds: Stir together a quick and easy pumpkin pie mixture, spread it in the pan, and sprinkle with boxed cake mix and melted butter. Tastes like a holiday in a fraction of the time!
Using frozen blueberries means you can enjoy this cake any time of year, even in the depths of winter. Adding brown sugar and the zest of a lemon gives the fruit a freshness, and using the juice in the cake batter adds another layer of lemon to this cheerful dessert.
Fresh blueberries get mixed with peach slices and tossed into the slow cooker with a little cornstarch, sugar, and a bit of salt. Cake mix and melted butter are sprinkled on top, and then you can truly set it and forget it — though your home will smell amazing all day.
Apples, cherries, pears, and cranberries come together for this fall dump cake to feed a crowd. Vanilla and apple pie spice zhuzh up yellow cake mix, which then is topped with sliced almonds that gently toast in the oven as the cake cooks.
The classic duo comes together easily with frozen sliced peaches and a box of white cake mix. A quick warming up of cream cheese frosting in the microwave makes it easy to drizzle on top for the touch of creaminess that complements a peach.
Cookie and candy dump cakes
These dump cakes take inspiration from crowd-pleasing candies and cookies for a truly sweet ending to any meal
The flavors of this beloved candy bar are echoed in the chocolate cake itself, with semisweet chocolate chips as well as chopped salted peanuts. When the cake cools, whipped topping gets sprinkled with chopped Snickers bars and more chopped peanuts, then drizzled with heated chocolate frosting for a candy bar experience both above and below.
Cookies and cream desserts are always a hit, and when it’s this easy to put together you’ll find yourself making this cake on the regular.
Peanut butter and chocolate are deeply satisfying together, especially in this six-ingredient dump cake. Chocolate pudding mix adds a depth of luscious flavor to the chocolate fudge cake mix, while mini peanut butter cups provide salty-sweet pleasure. Pretzel pieces on top give a crunch to this softly sweet cake.
This is a great cake for kids to help make, or for talented teens to prepare on their own. It’s sweet, vanilla, and egg-free, plus the white chocolate chips add a touch of decadence and color contrast to this festive dessert.
More yummy dessert recipes
Dump cakes are an excellent easy dessert option. Curious what other sweet treats have minimal prep time but don't skimp on deliciousness? Check out these Yummly articles to learn more: