A SIMPLE DESSERT
Recently I was invited to a dinner party. There would be eight. I asked the hostess what I could bring. “Oh,” she said casually, “just bring a simple dessert.”
With the holiday season in high octane I decided my s-i-m-p-l-e indulgent contribution would be a CHERRY DUMP CAKE. What can be easier than dumping three to five ingredients in a 9×13” cake dish, baking it for 50-60 minutes and topping it with a slab of ice cream before serving. Apparently this recipe was in community and church cookbooks beginning in the 1960s. The official name came from a Duncan Hines recipe published in 1980 but I remember making this in the late Sixties, probably picked up from a dessert my Mom made for bridge club..
During this sugary and candy-coated season if you hit the holiday wall or want to detour from traditional seasonal treats, surprise your guests or family with a Dump Cake. Need to entertain kids or grandchildren? What sounds more fun than baking a Dump Cake. Or, during the cocktail hour at an adult party, put the non-cooking guests in charge. If they can dump, they can pull this dessert together, bake it during dinner and add a slab of ice cream before serving. Voilà. That is kinda joy-to-the-world merrymaking.
As I write this, another “modest” Dump of the white variety is forecast in the mountains on Christmas Eve. It’s been a beautiful fall season followed by some glorious snowfalls to kick off the skiing season. I’ll be spending the winter living in Bethesda and exploring/working in DC. My bags are packed, my condo emptied and ‘free of me’ for the next four months. There is nothing simple about doing that and every year I vow it’s my last! In the past ten years I’ve wintered in Paris, London, Maui, San Diego, Cambria and Las Vegas and loved each destination and experience. I am admittedly apprehensive about this year’s choice, a ‘we’ll see’ four months I’ll share with all of you.
CHERRY DUMP CAKE
With just 5 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep, dessert doesn’t get easier than this Cherry Dump Cake. Serve with some vanilla ice cream for a quick but crazy-delicious treat. Need variety? The Internet is overwhelmed with variations to the basic recipe. Fun Fact: Both Comstock (available in the South and East Coast) and Wilderness (available in the Midwest and Pacific Coast) pie-filling products are owned by Duncan Hines.
2 cans cherry pie filling or any filling of your choice (21 ounces each)
1/3 cup maraschino cherry juice, the juice amount in a 6oz jar of cherries (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (optional)
1 box yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines but any yellow or white mix will work.)
3/4 to 1 cup butter, melted and cooled
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray.
- Pour the cherry pie filling into the baking dish.
- Add the maraschino cherry juice and vanilla or almond extract. Stir to combine and smooth out the filling into an even layer. DO NOT STIR THE INGREDIENTS AGAIN.
- Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the filling.
- Pour the melted butter over the top. Try to saturate as much of the cake mix as possible. DO NOT STIR.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden brown on top and bubbly.
- Let sit for 15 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
HAPPY, HEALTHY HOLIDAYS, DEAR READERS. STAY SAFE.