Dump cakes could probably benefit from a new name. To the uninitiated, it isn't exactly clear whether we're talking "dump" the verb or "dump" the noun. When I made classic cherry and pineapple dump cake for a past boyfriend, he expressed surprise that it wasn't chocolate, because dumps are, well, brown. Having grown up in the South, I had taken it for granted that everyone would know what a dump cake is. Not so. When I mentioned dump cake to my current significant other, he thought I was talking about a cake known for its laxative properties. (And he grew up in Northern Virginia, which tends to support the idea that Nova is distinct from Virginia.)
Scatological connotations aside, dump cakes are really fantastic. They're kind of a cobbler, kind of a crisp, kind of a crumble, and totally warm, gooey and delicious. Really everything you want in a comfort-food dessert. They've got the taste factor, and they've got the ease factor. It really doesn't take much more effort than spooning ice cream into bowls, but you get points for serving something homemade. Hell, some recipes you could probably get into the oven without dirtying a single utensil.
Here is my barely-a-recipe for Blueberry Lavender Dump Cake:
- Can of blueberry pie filling
- A very small amount of culinary lavender (about a three-finger pinch if you're really into lavender like me)
- Duncan Hines cake mix of your choice*
- Stick of butter or margarine, your choice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Dump the pie filling into your cake pan.
- Sprinkle the lavender over the pie filling, lightly crushing the buds with your fingers as you go. This should be a very light dusting--too much and your cake will go from pleasantly floral/herbal to soapy.
- Sprinkle cake mix over pie filling in as even a coating as possible.
- Melt butter in the microwave, then pour evenly over the cake mix.
- If using a 9" x 13" pan, bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown. Smaller pans like mine will require additional time.
- Enjoy warm or cold, but I personally prefer warm.
*I specify Duncan Hines because that is the preferred cake mix of Aristotle Onassis, second husband of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, so it's obviously the classiest and fanciest of cake mixes.