15 January 2007

One-Handed Dump Cake

Undoubtedly, there will be times when the trammels of everyday life prevent you from having enough time to make dessert. The leisure time in your day becomes lamentably overwhelmed by mundane, necessary activities that simply cannot be avoided, such as going to to work, doing actual work while you are at work, cleaning the bathroom, and practicing Journey covers on the viola (the last is a highly enjoyable activity, but it nevertheless detracts from my weekly allotted dessert-making time).

Despite these time-consuming tasks that manage to take up most of the day, dessert is occasionally a necessity that cannot be neglected. Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t even have four minutes with which to make a dessert, no matter how much your heart aches to be in the kitchen, cracking eggs, spilling flour, and gazing adoringly at your whirring KitchenAid.

To the ubiquitous human plight of not having enough time to make dessert, I present a solution to you: Dump Cake. The essence of dump cake lies in the efficient act of the Dumping of pantry ingredients that have an indefinite shelf life and can be ready for use at a moment’s notice. No shopping required, and as an added bonus, no stirring required! Whether you are in the midst of preparing a last-minute dinner party for friends you love, or slapping a dessert together for a potluck that you don’t really want to go to anyway, the process is the same. You simply dump the ingredients into a pan, spread them around, and stick the pan in the oven. Then you are done!

Dump cake fits busy schedules perfectly; its low-maintenance preparation allows you the convenience of doing two things at once, because you only need one hand to make dump cake. One hand does the dumping, while the other is left completely free to complete other necessary daily tasks that only require the use of one arm, such as:

feeding a fish
dribbling a basketball
holding a baby on your hip
doing shots of tequila
doing shots of tequila while holding a baby on your hip
playing “Iron Man” on the recorder (as long as you don’t start lower than ‘A’)
participating in a fencing tournament
picking your nose
picking your friend’s nose
signaling a right turn
playing tennis (only forehand strokes)
acting out Hamlet with finger puppets
practicing jazz hand
making a second dump cake

Admittedly, dump cake is not a a dessert of high caliber. It is not the sort of dessert that lends a feeling of accomplishment upon pulling it out of the oven and setting it down on the table at an elegant dinner party. There are other desserts that are more impressive, and there are other desserts that are more delicious. But- there are not many other desserts that taste this good that can be prepared in under four minutes. This cake really does taste good. The first time I read about it on the internet, I thought it was a joke. No stirring? Upon more googling, however, I found that dump cake is a guilty pleasure that many Americans take comfort in. So if you need a tasty dessert within the next hour, and you’re not trying to impress anyone, make dump cake. Your guests will love it, and if they don’t love it, they’ll at least like it, and they'll certainly be entertained when you tell them how it is made.

No stirring necessary; the cake mix absorbs the fruit juices
and transforms into a cobbler-like consistency.

Dump Cake
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple
1 16 oz. can cherry pie filling
1 package yellow white cake mix
1 stick of butter, cut into thin slices (or just melt it if you’re really pressed for time)

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Dump crushed pineapple and juices into a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
Dump cherries.
Dump cake mix.
Dump butter slices (or drizzle the melted butter over top of the cake mix).
Bake for 30-50 minutes, until the top of the cake is golden-brown.
Serve as is, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Other variations include:
Omit the pineapple juice, use 2 cans of cherry pie filling, and use chocolate cake mix instead of yellow. Mmmmmm....that sounds delicious!
Or, sprinkle some sweetened, shredded coconut before you add the butter. You can also sprinkle chopped pecans before you add the butter.
Or, use apple pie filling and a mix for spice cake.
The options are endless!
Aren’t you so glad you know about dump cake now?


Innommable said...

So deliciously simple! Yum!

Cheryl Wray said...

I have been known to cook an occasional dump cake to take to potlucks or last-minute get togethers. And you can really vary it to make up all sorts of yummy flavors!

Sheri said...

My mom introduced me to this cake when I was in college and desperately wanted to impress a new guy. It worked. And the cake rocks. Now I have to figure out how to make it gluten free now that you reminded me of it. Thanks!

Ms_evinrude said...

this sounds too good to be true!! mm!

lee said...

I totally used to make this in 6th grade with my best friend Bobbi and then we'd eat Nerds and have laughing fits from eating too much sugar. Thanks for the memories!

Kristen said...

We have clean out the freezer / pantry dinners often. Now I have a dessert to add to that! Great idea and great post

Shannon said...

I'm with Sheri. I think the glten free cake mixes are smaller than the regular mixes. Although I suppose you can just put it in a smaller pan and adjust the fruit accordingly.

And I love your list of things to do one-handed. You have to add: playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in the glockenspiel, practicing giving left- (or right-) handed cues for conducting, and chugging a chocolate martini.

Tammy said...

My husband would like to give you an A++ for blog post title.

aria said...

i cant get the image of you making two dumpcakes at once out of my head. Dueling Dumpcakes, the musical.

Patricia Scarpin said...


This is a lovely emergency recipe - I should keep those things in my pantry!

Lisa said...

This is cracking me up! How great.

J said...

I'm trying to picture cutting butter while picking my friend's nose, but I'm sorry to say, cutting butter is a two hander for me. Hmmm. So is opening a can, and a box of cake mix. Maybe the friend can do those tasks, whilst I pick.

Erielle said...

Innommable, it is true.

Cheryl, I am looking forward to a life filled with dump cake variations. That almost sounds sarcastic when I read it back to myself, but I swear I am not being sarcastic, I really am excited about the chocolate cherry version.

Sheri, I wish I could help you with the gluten free part. That must be so difficult to adapt so many recipes!

Ms Evinrude, I didn't think it was true when I first heard about it. Trust me, it works, and it's good!

Lee, nerds, ha! That's precious. Ah, sixth grade memories. I remember making bread cubes under an A.L.F. tent.

Kristen, good idea.

Shannon, I imagine that would work. If it helps with proportions, after the cake mix is dumped, there is enough mix so that you don't see any juice seeping through. After some time in the oven, some of the cherry filling bubbles up, but the top of the cake remains mostly dry.
Yes, the glockenspiel! How could I forget! I wish I had one of those.

Tammy, I like your husband's sense of humor. Good man.

Aria, that's great. There would also have to be a song where a dump cake, a cupcake, and a real cake baked from scratch all sing in harmony.

Patricia, you will find yourself making this more often than you probably want to. Don't keep fixings around for more than three, or you'll go through all the ingredients in two weeks!

Lisa, I'm glad you enjoy.

J, I suppose the opening of the cake mix does take two hands. I forgot about that. As for the butter cutting, there's always scissors!
Here's what you can do instead that will still save you time- get everything open and ready in one minute with both hands, and then just start wildly dumping like CRAZY so the dumping part is done in thirty seconds. Make sure you have an audience for the wild dumping part because that would be hilarious to watch. Maybe some dumping music, too.

Y said...

The first person who came up with this idea must either be a genius, or an incredibly lazy person ... or both : a lenius or gazy.

Rachael said...

hehe, entertaining post : ) sounds interesting!

Anonymous said...

Dump cake? You must be kidding. Where are you from? Alligator, Mississippi?

Anonymous said...

I would totally take a dump on this cake.