When cake mixes became popular in the 1940s, water was the only ingredient required.
It’s logical to assume the sheer convenience of those early cake mixes served to spur the invention of the dump cake, a dessert hack that calls for, yes, dumping cake mix and canned pie filling into a 9-by-13-inch pan. The lumpy batter is sometimes stirred, sometimes not, before it is baked.
Changing tastes may have made the original cherry-pineapple prototype seem a bit cloying, but “Delicious Dump Cakes: 50 Super Simple Desserts to Make in 15 Minutes or Less,” by local test-kitchen experts/bloggers/cookbook authors Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore, offers an array of updated flavor combinations. Think brownie turtle pecan, pumpkin bourbon nut, sticky toffee date, dulce de leche and tropical mango.
Still feeling sheepish about serving what might as well be dubbed the slacker of the cake world? “It’s delicious, and everyone at the next potluck is going to clamor for the recipe,” Wyss says with a shrug.
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▪ “Delicious Dump Cakes,” St. Martin’s Griffin, publication date May 3, paperback $19.99, e-book $9.99.
Dump cake tips
▪ Ice cream topping or syrup? While similar, those labeled “ice cream topping” are thicker than syrups. For the best results for this recipe, choose a thick ice cream topping. The cookbook authors prefer Mrs. Richardson’s butterscotch caramel topping, as it gave the best results.
▪ Substitute Nestle’s 9-ounce package Delightfulls (caramel-filled baking morsels) for the milk chocolate chips. Omit the caramel sauce and proceed as directed.
▪ Do you prefer milk chocolate or dark chocolate or semisweet chocolate? You can substitute in this recipe.
Brownie Turtle Pecan Dump Cake
Makes 1 (9-by-13-inch) cake
Nonstick cooking spray
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 (15.25- to 18-ounce) box German chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup thick butterscotch-caramel topping (see tips)
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Pour 1/4 cup of the melted butter into the prepared pan and tilt the pan to coat the bottom evenly. Sprinkle 1 cup of the milk chocolate chips evenly over the melted butter.
Sprinkle half of the cake mix evenly over the milk chocolate chips. Drizzle the caramel topping evenly over the cake mix.
Sprinkle the pecans and the remaining 1 cup of milk chocolate chips evenly over all. Sprinkle the remaining cake mix evenly over all.
Pour the evaporated milk evenly over all. Drizzle the remaining 1/2 cup butter evenly over the top.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the edges of the cake begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Per serving: 521 calories (53 percent from fat), 32 grams total fat (15 grams saturated), 46 milligrams cholesterol, 58 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams protein, 323 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.