I like to test new recipes from time to time – partly because I’m hungry and partly to see if it would be workable on a camping trip or for use at a Stockade meeting at church.
I noticed we had an abundance of Yellow Cake Mix as we tend to stock it for pineapple upside down cakes. To thin the “herd” I tried making a simple Pineapple-Cherry Dump Cake.
- 20 oz can of crushed pineapple (in juice)
- 20 oz can of cherry pie filling
- 1 box of Yellow Cake Mix
- 1 bag of shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if outdoors, prep and preheat charcoal – arrange on dutch oven lid and under dutch oven to suit (see http://dutchovendoctor.com/temperature_control.htm for basics)
- Lightly butter the inside edges and bottom of a 9X13 pan.
- Dump pineapple (with juice) and cherries into center. Spread around for even layer.
- Sprinkle cake mix over fruit.
- Sprinkle coconut over cake mix.
- Pour melted butter evenly over top of coconut.
- Bake for one hour. Let cool – can be served warm as cobbler, or cooled to “room temp” and served as slab pie.
What went well:
it was super easy with quick prep, quick clean up.
- boys should be able to do this with little or no prior cooking skills (impossible to mess up short of dropping the mixture onto the floor)
- less finesse and fumbling with the mixture assures better outcome (just dump and go)
- tasty combo of flavors, crunch of toasted coconut was appealing – even to those who had previously said they don’t like coconut.
What didn’t go as planned:
- WOW – it is sickeningly sweet. Over The Top, Sugar Rush! (Of course, to elementary-school aged boys, this is probably going to be perfect).
- Very “tart” or “sour” taste from the acids in the pineapple juice and cherries. (See parenthetical statement, above).
- By layering the components, the cake mix didn’t pick up much liquid from the bubbling juices and we got a thin layer of “brownie-bake” texture. Had we been less clinical in the approach and simply made a mess of it, we might have gotten a better mixture of flavors and textures.
- The coconut absorbed a lot of the butter that was intended for the cake mix – maybe drizzling the butter first, and then adding the coconut might have helped.
- The recipe I found for this called for sliced almonds as a topping instead of coconut (which I didn’t have on hand – hence the coconut) — the almonds might have toned down the sweetness and the coconut increased it. Something to consider if I try this again.
Reminder – if doing this at club, always check for food allergies. Almonds and coconut are suspect to food “sensitivities” more than genuine allergies, but better to check, warn, be sure to avoid problems. When we plan to cook, we often send the ingredients list home the week before (and we ask parents during initial registration if they’re aware of food allergies or sensitivities ahead of time).
Despite the outcome being a mixed success, it was devoured quickly (over two days). At club, I think making one wouldn’t be near enough as the boys would likely descend on it like a flock of locusts. It did inspire me to consider a dump cake using devils food cake mix, coffee, cherries and almonds for adults. Maybe some twist on “rocky road” ice cream as a dump cake?