Photo: Karl Gustafson

I know a popular online credo is “Don’t read the comments,” but I can’t help it: I always read the comments. Especially Takeout comments, because you guys will frequently throw in something I haven’t thought of, or offer me one of your own options or recipes (for example, I’m looking forward to trying out Allan Smitheel’s mom’s chocolate chip cookie recipe sent to me on a recipe card last week).

So as I travel through my various ways to serve pie and pie-related options (classic pie, Swedish apple pie, crumble/crisp), I was pleased to get a new version thrown at me from yes, the crumble comments section. Commenter Axel-Ripper said that the easiest way to make a crumble is to dump a box of white cake mix on top of your fruit, and then add some Sprite or cherry soda on top of that. Yes, I love baked goods but I also love things like ease-of-use. And processed foods. So, I decided to give this one a whirl.

As advertised, the prep couldn’t have been easier. Chopping up fruit was the hardest part (I went for an apple-raspberry combo this time). Then my son and I gleefully dumped the cake mix on top, with some added Sprite. Note: Make sure that all the soda covers all of the cake mix, otherwise you will end up with unsightly dry sprinkles on the top.

And let’s call that what it was: A rookie dump-cake error. Due to the cake mix, we have veered out of pie territory and into dump-cake land. And the results were… acceptable?

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After all, you can make this thing in five minutes (minus the baking), so that’s a definite plus. But the combo of soda and cake mix just added way too much sweetness for me. Also, sorry Duncan Hines, but that cake mix has a definite from-a-box, definitely-not-homemade taste. When I shared it at work, one person suggested that it tasted like “sweet Play-Doh”—others found comfort in the familiar artificial flavorings they likely were raised on.

But honestly, Allrecipe’s Swedish Apple Pie recipe doesn’t take that much longer than this did, and tastes like there was a considerable more effort involved (maybe it’s the butter). And my friend Shelley’s crumble recipe adds some pleasing texture, and not as much cloying sweetness.

Still, if you were having a crumble emergency or something, go for the dump cake. You could probably win over a whole gaggle of kids at a sleepover or even at the holidays with this recipe, letting them choose their favorite soda and/or cake mix. Sure, they’ll be all hopped up on sugar afterward—but at least they got some fruit.

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Photo: Karl Gustafson

Fruit Soda Dump Cake

  • 6 cups fruit, chopped into 1-inch segments (apple, pears, peaches, berries, or any combo thereof)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 squeezed lemon
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 2 cups lemon-lime or other fruit-flavored soda

Spray casserole with Pam or other anti-stick spray or butter. Mix fruit with sugar, flour, and lemon juice until coated and spread over pan.

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Then dump cake mix all over it. Then pour soda on top of that, covering completely. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes until top turns brown but before sides start to singe.