In this post, we’ll show you how to make a dump cake with any box of cake mix and any add-ins. Take what you have on hand and make a crowd-pleasing dessert!

strawberry dump cake serving

Dump cakes may be one of the easiest types of cakes to make. You only need a few simple ingredients, a pan, and an oven!

Most dump cakes don’t even require you to mix the ingredients together. You just layer everything into a pan and bake. It almost seems too easy. But I promise you, dump cakes are delicious and bake perfectly every time. 

What is a Dump Cake?

Dump cakes are very similar to cobblers. They have a thick, sweet filling on the bottom and a crumbly cake topping. Dump cakes get their name because you dump all the ingredients into a pan and bake. There is no measuring, no mixing, and no complicated cake making techniques to worry about. Everyone can make a dump cake, even the most novice chefs! And once you know how to make a dump cake, you’ll want to make them all the time.

The best part is that dump cakes actually taste really good. They are rich and sweet and can be made in hundreds of different ways. There are so many different types of dump cakes you can try that you will surely find one that you love. Chocolate Cherry Dump Cake and Pineapple Upside Down Dump Cake are two of my favorites, but we will talk a little more about that later…

ingredients to make strawberry dump cake

What is a Dump Cake Made Of?

Dump cakes are made with very simple ingredients. Here is what you will need to make a very basic dump cake:

  • Canned Fruit or Pie Filling – Most dump cakes start with a layer of canned fruit spread across the bottom of a casserole dish. Canned pie filling is the most common first ingredient. Pie filling is already nice and thick, perfectly sweetened and ready to eat straight from the can. Any flavor of pie filling or fruit filling will work!
  • Pudding Mix – Pudding is another very common ingredient in dump cake. It’s nice and moist, so it helps soften the dry cake mix. Instant pudding is also really easy to make and takes just seconds to whisk together. This ensures your dump cakes will still be quick to whip up!
  • Cake Mix – Dry cake mix is a key ingredient in any dump cake. Cake mix makes the crumbly cake topping that covers every dump cake. You can use almost any type of cake mix, but chocolate and vanilla are the most common. 
  • Butter – Butter pieces are dotted across the surface of a dump cake before baking. The butter will help moisten the dry cake mix as it bakes. 
  • Nuts – Many dump cake recipes have nuts sprinkled over the cake. This gives the dump cakes a little extra crunch and a boost of flavor. 

How to Make Dump Cakes in the Oven

Dump cakes are so simple to put together. Most dump cakes only take about 5 minutes to make and get into the oven. This is why so many people love them! Here is how to make a dump cake in the oven.

  1. Preheat the oven: Turn your oven on to 350ºF, or the temperature required in the recipe if you’re using one. You can also grease your dump cake pan if needed.
  2. Add the first layer: Spread the first layer of dump cake into the prepared pan. This is usually the pie filling, canned fruit, pudding, or fruit puree.
  3. Add the dry cake mix: The next step in making dump cake is to sprinkle the dry cake mix across the entire pan. Make sure you sprinkle the cake mix evenly and try to break up any lumps. 
  4. Add the butter: Cut the butter into pieces and dot it over the entire surface of the cake. You really want to try to space out the butter well so that all of the dry cake mix will get some melted butter once the dump cake starts baking. 
  5. Add the toppings: If you are using chopped nuts or another crunchy topping, this will go on the dump cake last. Once again, try to sprinkle your toppings evenly across the whole dump cake.
  6. Bake the cake: The dump cake is ready to go into the oven! Just make sure your oven is nice and hot. Dump cakes are so easy to make, you may be done assembling before your oven is ready to bake!
step by step photos to make dump cake

How to Make Dump Cakes in the Slow Cooker

Making dump cake in a slow cooker is one of my favorite things to do. It makes this simple method of making cakes even easier! It also helps make the cake layer of the dump cake really tender and cakey thanks to the steam inside the slow cooker

If you want a dump cake that is more like a cake and less like a cobbler, this is the cooking method you should use. Here is how to make a dump cake in the Crockpot:

  1. Assemble the dump cake: Put the dump cake together inside the bowl of your slow cooker, layering the filling, cake mix, and butter in the pan as directed in your recipe or as in the instructions above if you’re not using a recipe.
  2. Cover and bake: Cover the bowl of the slow cooker and cook on high heat for 2-3 hours. When the dump cake is done baking, the cake topping will be firm and slightly golden brown. 
  3. Enjoy!: Scoop the dump cake directly from the bowl of the slow cooker. I actually like to keep the crockpot set to ‘warm’ and let my guests serve themselves straight from the Crockpot
piece of dump cake topped with fresh strawberry


How does a dump cake work?

Dump cakes are made by simply pouring a few ingredients into a pan and baking. They are typically made with pie filling, dry cake mix and butter. The moisture of the pie filling layer helps soften the dry cake mix. The butter sprinkled over the top of the dry cake mix also helps tenderize and bake the cake mix. As the dump cake bakes, the juicy bottom layer will bubble and cook while the butter melts into the cake. The result is a cobbler-like dessert that can be altered and customized in so many ways.

How can you tell if a dump cake is done?

When a dump cake is done baking, the cake on top will be golden brown and the filling will be bubbling around the edges. Dump cakes typically take between 45-60 minutes to bake in an oven or two hours in a slow cooker.

How do you store dump cakes after baking?

Dump cakes should be covered or wrapped then stored in the fridge. They are quite moist and need to be refrigerated to stay fresh. Dump cakes will keep in the fridge for about a week. You can reheat your dump cake in the microwave or in the oven until nice and warm.

Easy Dump Cake Recipes

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About Kasey Schwartz

For over 15 years, Kasey Schwartz, the mastermind behind All Things Mamma, has been the ultimate go-to for mouthwatering family recipes. Her work has been featured on, Buzz Feed, Better Homes and Gardens, and more, making her your go-to mom next door for all things delicious and family-friendly.

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