Dump cake is the perfect dessert for camping; it’s also the perfect dessert to make with kids because it’s just so easy. For those unfamiliar with dump cake and wondering about the unappetizing name, it’s called that because you literally dump the ingredients in a pan and bake.
A traditional dump cake is made by dumping cans of fruit, often cherry or berry pie filling, in a preheated cast iron Dutch oven, then dumping a boxed cake mix on top and baking. Some recipes call for pouring a can of soda pop over the cake mix, others call for melted butter, or pats of butter spread on top. Some tell you explicitly not to mix anything, others suggest stirring the cake mix into the fruit just a bit. Once your ingredients are all dumped in the Dutch oven, you put it back on the coals, add some coals on the top and let it cook.
As you can see, this recipe is so easy to involve kids with. As long as you’re mindful to be sure they don’t touch the hot Dutch oven, even a toddler can help with dumping ingredients!
Now, I’ll be honest with you here, I don’t like using canned and boxed foods and make my kids eat homemade foods made with whole grains and less sugar. Making Dump Cake while camping is certainly a great time to break my own rules and go the boxed and canned route because it’s just so easy, but if you want to make it slightly healthier, I’ve got a from-scratch version for you, too, and it’s really not that much harder. It does take a bit more prep because you have to dump the cake ingredients in a bag (usually at home before the camping trip) and, depending on what fruit you use, you might need to do some slicing.
Dump Cake 2 ways
1 yellow cake mix OR 1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour
¾ to 1 cup sugar depending on your sweet tooth
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 cans pie filling OR 6 cups of home canned, frozen or fresh fruit of choice, sliced if necessary
Up to ¼ cup sugar, depending on the sweetness of the fruit you choose
¾ cup butter, diced.