Dump Cake Is the Perfect Lazy Weekend Baking Recipe

Three ingredients, endless combinations, guaranteed comfort.

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Dump cake on stovetop
Photo: Marnie Shure

It’s finally Friday, and you’ve worked hard all week. I don’t know you and I have no idea what your job is, but I know how capitalism works, and unless you’re among the top 10% of wealthiest people on the planet, it’s a good bet that you’ve been working hard since at least Monday. Congrats on your drive and determination! You deserve a big bowl of dump cake.

What is dump cake?

Dump cake is a dessert that Wikipedia charitably defines as “an American dessert similar to a cobbler” and is made by dumping anywhere from three to five ingredients into a baking dish—no mixing bowl necessary. The result is the raw, uncut version of comfort food, a bowl of mush you can literally sink right into. In an era that has built influencer empires on the concept of photogenic sugar—sprinkles! Freakshakes! Jojo Siwa baking accoutrements!—dump cake proudly eschews flashiness and even structural integrity, slopping into a bowl with take-me-as-I-am levels of confidence. We love that for dump cake. And for us.

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Dump cakes vary in terms of ingredients and complexity, but the recipe ought never to exceed a threshold of “pour things together, place in oven, and wait.” It’s not designed to be anything other than a way to feed one’s cravings as efficiently as possible. Start getting cheffy with it, and you might as well bake an actual cake.

How to make dump cake

Here’s how dump cake works:

  • Unwrap the end of a stick of butter and rub it along the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13 baking dish
  • Pour in 2 cans of your fruit pie filling of choice (1 can of blueberry and 1 can of cherry work great together)
  • Sprinkle 1 box store-bought white cake mix evenly over the top
  • Melt the rest of that stick of butter you opened, then drizzle that over the top
  • Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until the white cake topping has some golden color to it (if any bits of cake mix look dry, just drizzle some more butter on those spots and pop back in the oven for a couple minutes)
  • Dig a big ol’ spoon in there and slop some heaping servings into a bowl, maybe even with a scoop of ice cream
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Now, not everyone likes the syrupy texture of store-bought fruit pie filling, and that’s fine. You can swap it out for freshly sliced fruit if you desire. But the pie filling syrup in this recipe (alongside the butter) is performing the crucial function of hydrating the cake mix so that you don’t end up with a bunch of cooked powder. So if you want to use fresh fruit instead, you’ll have to add another hydrating element. May we suggest… lemon-lime soda?

You can get fancy with toppings, if you insist. Slivered almonds work great on top, as do toasted pecans or a drizzle of caramel syrup if you use apple pie filling. But it’s all going to get mixed up in the bowl anyway, so anything added for visual flair tends to get lost, as if encouraging us to make no embellishments whatsoever.

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The week is long, and your time is precious. Dump cake understands this like no other dessert can. Bake one on Friday and you’ll feast all weekend long. I can attest that it’s a very easy dessert to eat in front of the TV, and pairs best with Unsolved Mysteries reruns.