It's spring and the beautiful weather is starting to make regular appearances (finally) here in Southern Ontario. There's nothing nicer than being able to sit outside in the early evenings with a little something as a treat. And when I looked in my garden this past week and saw the Rhubarb overflowing, it reminded me of my Grandma's quick and easy dump cake, which is much like a cobbler mix, except with the topping being more of a decadent cake mixed with fruit.
Don't let the name "dump cake" scare you off from trying this fast, easy, panty and meal-planning friendly cake! Dump cakes are not new to the recipe world, and have certainly been posted online with many flavour variations (including chocolate and caramel versions), but I've got to believe that this seasonal recipe that has been passed down now in my family for over 100 years must be one of the original dump cake recipes that are out there. And oh how delicious it is!
Every time I share my Grandma's baking secrets, they get amazing reviews (not surprisingly). I wonder what she would think of the internet, of blogging, of our family favourites being enjoyed by thousands? I think she'd be humbled and happy. I also think Grandma would be glad this was another family recipe that was rescued before the faded handwriting on the cue card all but disappeared, because truthfully a portion of the ingredients were illegible, as were some of the mixing directions. But fear not, I have tested this fully and ensured it is as delicious as ever. Tough job, but someone has to do it, right?
This dessert was a staple in my childhood, both for a quick and delicious dessert for a potluck, or as a simple family indulgence when fruit of a particular season was on hand and needed to be used before spoiling. I haven't had it in almost a decade, and my mom had to dig into the archives to retrieve the notes on this one that she long packed away for newer cookbooks and trends. But this is just too delicious to forget. It's a classic. And as we move throughout the seasons of spring, summer and autumn, I will be updating this recipe with different flavour variations for you to enjoy.
Grandma's Fruit Dump Cake
Yield: 9X13 inch cake
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
1 1/2 cup flour (unsifted)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
2 tbsp + 2 tsp canola oil
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
Fruit Layer (see various flavour options below):
- 8 cups of chopped fruit
- sugar & cornstarch (as noted below for each flavour variation)
- 6 cups of chopped (3/4-1 inch pieces) rhubarb
- 3 medium Macintosh (or baking) apples, chopped
- 1 cup of sugar
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 6 cups of peeled, sliced peaches (approximately 9-10 fully ripe medium size peaches)
- 3 tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp vanilla (optional, but recommended)
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
Directions for Cake Layer:
- Grease a 9X13 inch glass pan.
- Chop up the fruit and mix with the assigned amount of sugar and cornstarch. Place the mixture and level it in the glass baking pan.
- Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) together in a medium mixing bowl.
- Cream shortening, canola oil and white sugar together until smooth.
- Add in eggs, one at a time, and then vanilla and beat well.
- Add flour mixture and milk, alternating, into the egg mixture. Begin and end with the flour mixture as you alternately add in the milk and dry ingredients. Mix until just combined and the cake batter is smooth.
- Pour cake batter over the fruit in the baking pan and smooth out as much as possible.
- Bake the Fruit Dump Cake at 350F for 45-55 minutes.
- Let cool for 15-20 minutes, or until serving time and enjoy. Tastes great warm or cooled!
Kids in the Kitchen: The best part of this cake is that it uses seasonal fruit. Have your kids help harvest the fruits (if possible), giving them a truly "field to fork" experience. There are kid-safe knives for ages 5 and up that you can purchase on Amazon (link to knives) if your child was interested in cutting the fruit (with your supervision). The cake batter can easily be made in a stand mixer, where even the youngest chef can add ingredients into the mixer, and help to push the buttons for creaming and blending the cake batter.
What are your favourite classic cake recipes? Do you have any family favourites passed down through the generations? Have you ever enjoyed a homemade, quick and easy "Dump Cake" before? Comment below - I'd love to know!