Strawberry Dump Cake
Strawberry Dump Cake is so easy to make and so tasty!
Dump cake is one those desserts born of simplicity. Yellow cake powder, butter and pie filling, how else could the dish get any simpler? So, when we went to try and improve the recipe, we had to keep in mind that the main appeal was really the ability to whip together very few ingredients into something pretty tasty. This helped frame the analysis to focus on just one of the three elements: cake mix.
Yellow cake mix for dump cake is typically just a set of dry ingredients that is easy to pick up at the store. It is even in the same aisle as the pie filling! But upon further analysis, it appears to be driven by four main elements: flour, sugar, butter, and baking powder. Most store-bought versions also have some other chemicals in them for preservation (or other reasons). For dump cake, though, we don’t need texture and we certainly don’t need a mix that has a long shelf-life. Thus, it was obvious the easiest thing to make this recipe unique was to skip the store-bought mix and make our own mix. A mix that would be tailored not for yellow cake, but for dump cake. We do recommend cake flour, though we tried it with all-purpose flour and it still tasted just as good. That’s great for making it really quick since you most likely already have all-purpose flour.
The first change was baking powder. Dump cake doesn’t need to rise, so cut that out. Next, flour and sugar. Cake has to have certain ratios to maintain its texture. Once again, dump cake does not, and so we had flexibility. Based on a few samples of homemade mixes, the ratio for yellow cake is typically 1:2, 1 part sugar to 2 parts cake flour. We lowered this to around 1.5, meaning more sugar per flour. Finally, we added more salt than normal, about 2-3 times depending on the type of salt. This is because dump cake is savory, not cakey, so the more salt to contrast the sugar and pie filling the better.
The butter is the final staple of dump cake. It is also part of yellow cake mix, when homemade. For homemade recipes, a pastry cutter is used to incorporate it into the mix, which lead to our approach. Rather than make a yellow cake mix and then put butter slices on top, we increased the butter to the full amount needed for the dump cake and cut it into the mix at the same time. This evenly spreads the butter to each bite while still leaving pockets of deep butter flavor. Make sure not to over incorporate the butter.
This dump cake yields a warm, salty, and sandy texture that rests atop some strawberry filling. It is designed with a 21 oz. can in mind so that the final pan will be roughly evenly split between filling and buttery cake mix. Dump cake is great because it is modular. Feel free to swap in different fillings and garnish on top to make this the ultimate easy dessert!