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Cake Made Easy: Make it a Dump Cake!

Updated on February 20, 2017
DzyMsLizzy profile image

Liz is always interested in healthy food choices, especially vegetarian options, as well as kitchen tips and shortcuts.

Rainbow Layer Cake

Whether a fancy layer cake or a simple sheet cake, any cake can be a dump cake
Whether a fancy layer cake or a simple sheet cake, any cake can be a dump cake

Make it a Dump Cake

That does not sound very appetizing, on the surface. A cake from the dumps? A cake you accidentally dumped on the floor and scabbed back together with toothpicks? A cake into which you dumped a wrong ingredient?

Well, take heart. It's none of those things. It's actually a way to make scratch-made cakes go together as easily as a cake mix.

I first heard of this from my grand-aunt Eunice, who lived in New England. Perhaps this is a regional expression; I don't know. I only know that she was the one from whom I learned the term and the technique.

Now, an Internet search for the term will come up with a multitude of cake recipes involving various fruit additions, which, seem to me more closely related to cobblers than cakes. It was back in the late 1960's that I first heard my aunt use this term in just the way I've presented it here; no fruit involved.

What Do I Have to Do?

It's very, very simple. Here are the steps:

Just Four Steps!

  1. Sift all the dry ingredients together into a mixing bowl. (Be sure to measure accurately!)
  2. Add the shortening (or oil), any other liquids, and the eggs, all at once to the dry ingredients. (have the eggs at room temperature for best results)
  3. Beat with a spoon or electric mixer for 2 minutes, scraping bowl frequently
  4. Pour into prepared pans and bake.

Note For Purists:

If you prefer to use cake flour, and if you are all out, the substitution is:

1 cup all purpose flour, minus 2 Tablespoons = 1 cup cake flour (per cup of flour called for). So, for example, if the recipe called for 2 cups cake flour, you'd measure 2 cups and remove 4 Tablespoons.

TIP:

Modern flour does not truly require being sifted, but, by sifting all the dry ingredients together, you get them blended in better.

What is your rating for dump cake?

4.5 stars from 2 ratings of Dump Cake Instructions

You're Done!

That's all there is to it. What you are doing, in effect, is pre-making your own cake mix by mixing all the dry ingredients first. Then, just as with a store-bought cake mix, you add the liquids then the eggs.

This method makes scratch-made cakes a lot less intimidating for folks accustomed to using cake mixes.

It also has the added benefit of using only wholesome ingredients from your kitchen, which you control. You won't be dealing with any chemical preservatives or "conditioners" such as are found in commercial mixes.

The Dump Cake Method Can be Used on Any Kind of Cake

Multiple layer cakes?  Of course!
Multiple layer cakes? Of course!
Basic sheet cakes?  Why not?
Basic sheet cakes? Why not?

Have you ever made a 'dump cake'?

See results

Calorie-Saving Tip

Did you know? Plain applesauce can be substituted for the oil in any cake mix or recipe. The cake will be nice and moist, and no one will be the wiser, for the applesauce does not impart any real flavor.

It will also not affect the rising of the cake, as the oil is not an ingredient that has to do with rising; that would be up to the baking powder to control.

Photo Credits

All photos for this hub are by Jennifer Davis, and used by permission.

© 2013 Liz Elias

Comments

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  • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

    Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

    This looks interesting and something I have not heard before.

    Thanks for sharing the details and the lovely pictures.

    Voted up!

  • Victoria Lynn profile image

    Vicki L Hodges 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

    Oh! So you just dump it all in together rather than mixing the wet ingredients separately, which seem to be the usual instructions. I love it! Maybe I'll tackle more cakes from scratch! Thanks!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image
    Author

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    @ ChitrangadaSharan--Hi there--I'm glad you liked this trick and my daughter's photos. (She actually does fancy decorated cakes as a side line, so she had plenty of cake photos for me to use!) I appreciate your comment and thanks for the vote!

    @ Victoria Lynn--Pretty much, yes; the only 'separation' is that the eggs go in last. I'm pleased you found this trick useful. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

    This is so clever Ms Lizzy! I used to make up my own biscuit, pancake and cookie dry mixes and keep till needed, then just could simply add the wet ingredients to finish the operation. But I've never done cake. Makes perfect sense! And 'dump' is a fitting name, since none of the ingredients need be fussed or slaved over! I remember learning to make cakes when the butter or shortening had to be 'creamed' till very light and the eggs had to be beaten to lightness, too. Each step of combining ingredients was a sacred routine! (long time ago, pre-mixes!)

    At first glance when I saw your title, though, I thought of Mother's 'cake puddings' in which she just dumped a can of fruit or berries, juice and all, into the already mixed cake batter, which was otherwise ready to pour into pan to bake. Then she poured it all, as it was, into either a bundt or a deep cake pan sufficient to hold it and baked it. As the cake batter baked, the fruit and juice made its way in among the baking cake; and the results were SO moist and good, especially if some cream were added to a helping of the warm cake pudding! Yum!

    She used any one can of peaches, pears, apricots, blackberries, cherries. There were fewer other choices of canned fruits then, but those that were available made yummy cake puddings! Perhaps pineapple would be good, too, though I don't remember having that one.

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

    This is so clever Ms Lizzy! I used to make up my own biscuit, pancake and cookie dry mixes and keep till needed, then just could simply add the wet ingredients to finish the operation. But I've never done cake. Makes perfect sense! And 'dump' is a fitting name, since none of the ingredients need be fussed or slaved over! I remember learning to make cakes when the butter or shortening had to be 'creamed' till very light and the eggs had to be beaten to lightness, too. Each step of combining ingredients was a sacred routine! (long time ago, pre-mixes!)

    At first glance when I saw your title, though, I thought of Mother's 'cake puddings' in which she just dumped a can of fruit or berries, juice and all, into the already mixed cake batter, which was otherwise ready to pour into pan to bake. Then she poured it all, as it was, into either a bundt or a deep cake pan sufficient to hold it and baked it. As the cake batter baked, the fruit and juice made its way in among the baking cake; and the results were SO moist and good, especially if some cream were added to a helping of the warm cake pudding! Yum!

    She used any one can of peaches, pears, apricots, blackberries, cherries. There were fewer other choices of canned fruits then, but those that were available made yummy cake puddings! Perhaps pineapple would be good, too, though I don't remember having that one.

    I just remember - she dumped the fruit in AFTER she poured the batter into the cake pan to bake, not before. Also, we 'creamed' the butter or shortening together with the sugar till the sugar was no longer granular and those ingredients were light as a feather! It's been a LOT of years! haha!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image
    Author

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Nellieanna!

    Nice to see you again. That fruit-added cake sounds very good--almost like a cobbler, perhaps.

    Thanks much for your lovely reminisces; I'll bet you are a very good cook!

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

    Similar to cobbler, except that it's not in a pastry shell and not as sweet; but all through a cake, getting its sweetness from the cake. The effect is quite similar, though. I loved those and Mother loved making them, they were so easy! ;-)

    I am a good cook. My major was Home Economics with a lot of cooking and nutrition required, though my interests were sewing and design. I minored in Art, with more opportunity for design. I really cook very little these days. I don't bake, as I did for my family. I reverted to my own smiple food needs which require only simple techniques. I make a mean soup and salad and am so good at microwave heating up! ;-)

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image
    Author

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    LOL, Nellieanna! I'm pretty doggoned good at the microwave, myself! I especially love not having to wait an hour for the oven to cook baked potatoes! ;-)

  • Susan Recipes profile image

    Susan 3 years ago from India

    I love baking cakes. Thanks for sharing this hub. Voted up.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image
    Author

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Susan Recipes..

    I'm glad you liked the article. Thanks very much for stopping by and for the vote!

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

    A cake by any other name could still be a dump cake. Thank you for sharing the name and the recipe.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image
    Author

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi, MsDora,

    Yes, a good way to put it. ;-) Thanks for stopping by; I'm glad you liked this information.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 3 years ago from south Florida

    A Dump Cake, Liz? Now I believe I've read and heard everything.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image
    Author

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    LOL, drbj! Indeed, you probably have. Just "dump" it all in... that's the ticket.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • marcoujor profile image

    Maria Jordan 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

    MsLizzy,

    Your photography drew me in and I am sure even I can handle your step by step suggestions. Beautiful ideas and the perfect season to practice!

  • Writer Fox profile image

    Writer Fox 3 years ago from the wadi near the little river

    This is an historic idea from simpler times. In a way it reminds me of the old recipe for pound cake, which consisted of a pound of each ingredient!

    Voted up!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image
    Author

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    @ marcourjor--Thanks very much. I'm pleased you find the "recipe" worth trying. For the photos, though I give credit to my daughter, who does fancy cakes as a sideline from her full-time job as mom and homemaker. She's also a damned good photographer. ;-)

    @ Writer Fox--I'm sure you're right. And these days, we have forgotten how to keep things simple! Thanks for the reminder of how pound cake got its name. I knew, but had forgotten that. Thanks much for your comment and vote!

  • WiccanSage profile image

    Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

    I love that it's so simple; this is great. This is the kind of baking that's good for the kids, because I don't usually buy box mixes to keep; but sometimes they get the itch and want to make a cake or cupcakes or something.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image
    Author

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi there, WiccanSage,

    Thanks so very much! I'm happy this Hub struck a useful chord with you. It would, indeed, make things simpler for kids to help make cakes.

  • Suzanne Day profile image

    Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

    What a unique recipe! The first image of the GIANT dump cake drew me in...I imagine making the kids birthday cakes like that and how excited they would feel. But it's funny calling them dump cakes...

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image
    Author

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi, Suzanne!

    Thanks very much. I'm glad you enjoyed this recipe technique. It really is easy, and therefore easy to let the kids help. Yes, 'dump cake' is a funny term to use.

    Thanks much for your comment.

  • CraftytotheCore profile image

    CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

    I have never made a dump cake. But it certainly looks delicious!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image
    Author

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, CraftytotheCore--thanks very much for stopping by! Do try it; it's so easy.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    I honestly did not know what a dump cake was until now. Thank you for sharing this recipe/technique. Voted up and interesting. :-)

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image
    Author

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi there, Jeannieinabottle,

    Glad to be able to provide new information for you. Thanks so much for stopping by and the votes!

  • vespawoolf profile image

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    The mother of a childhood friend made the fruit-style dump cakes so I had always associated this term with that type of cake. But you´re right--they´re more like a cobbler. These are beautiful dump cakes and what a clever idea for an easy, homemade cake. Thank you for sharing!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image
    Author

    Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi, vespawoolf,

    I had never heard of this myself, and not the fruit type, either, until my late teens, when my grand-aunt taught us the trick.

    It does simplify things, though--you can even mix-ahead all your dry ingredients, and have homemade cake mixes this way.

    I'm glad you liked this Hub; thanks for stopping by and adding your experience.

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