Apple Dump Cake

Food
Special thanks to Lucky Leaf® for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

This is our favorite Apple Dump Cake! It’s gooey and creamy with custardy, sweet apples, and a hint of cinnamon spice. Plus, we’re sharing an option for adding in caramels for an unforgettable Caramel Apple Dump Cake!

Apple Dump Cake served with ice cream

Apple Dump Cake served with ice cream

Our Favorite Easy Apple Dump Cake Recipe

With the holidays upon us and all the business that comes along with it, easy dessert recipes are a life saver. And when those desserts aren’t only easy to make, but they’re one of the tastiest things you’ve ever eaten, does it even get better than that?!

This simple Apple Dump Cake recipe has hands down been one of the favorite dessert creations to come out of my kitchen this year. My kids can’t stop asking me to make it again (and again) and my Apple Pie-obsessed husband suggests we make two of them next time. For our family of five, ha!  

And while it doesn’t get much easier than dump cakes, this one is especially easy — it’s all made in one dish– no other bowls to dirty in the process of making it. 

Closeup of Apple Dump Cake

Closeup of Apple Dump Cake

Why Do They Call It Dump Cake?

In case you aren’t familiar, a dump cake is an American dessert with a cake-like, buttery, and gooey topping. This cake got its name from the preparation method– which includes dumping ingredients (typically fruit or a pie/fruit filling with a boxed cake mix and butter) into a pan without first measuring, mixing, or stirring things together. 

What Does Dump Cake Taste Like?

This Apple Dump Cake tastes like a gooey butter cake with ripples of caramel and sweet, tender apples. It’s somewhat similar to a cobbler, but with a softer and butterier topping. There are ripples of cinnamon and nutmeg throughout, which only elevate the flavor that much more!

This particular dump cake is very sweet and ultra buttery. It’s got a gooey, almost pudding-like texture, contrasting with the crisp apples and slightly crisp topping.

QUICK TIP

So what’s the difference between a dump cake and a cobbler? While both typically have a fruit filling, a dump cake uses a cake mix as a topping while a cobbler uses a pie crust topping or biscuit topping.

Ingredient shot: the apple filling for this recipe

Ingredient shot: the apple filling for this recipe

Apple Pie Filling

A lot of Apple Dump Cakes use regular apples as the base, which can create a rather lackluster cake. I consider the “secret weapon” of this cake to be the apple fruit filling made by Lucky Leaf®. Not only does this filling ensure evenly tender apples throughout the entire cake, it also optimizes for sweetness and an amazing ooey-gooey texture.

Here are some of the reasons we love this brand and product:

  • Quality: Lucky Leaf is a high-quality premium line of prepared fruit fillings/toppings so you can feel confident baking for your loved ones! They are non-GMO, gluten-free, contain no high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
  • Convenient: The fruit filling is ready to use so it saves you time without a sacrifice of quality or taste. There’s no peeling, chopping or pre-cooking required.
  • Variety: Lucky Leaf comes in a wide variety of delicious and inspiring flavors — something for everyone! If you don’t love apples, try one of their other flavors in this dump cake recipe — the possibilities are nearly endless!

Process shots: spreading apples in the pan; sprinkling on spices; add cake mix on top

Process shots: spreading apples in the pan; sprinkling on spices; add cake mix on top

How To Make Apple Dump Cake

The full recipe is below, but here are our top tips for making an Apple Pie Filling Dump Cake:

  • Use a tasty cake mix. A quality cake mix makes a big difference for dump cakes. Our favorite is Betty Crocker® Super Moist Butter Pecan Cake Mix. This mix has pudding in it which results in an even tastier dump cake.
  • Choose real caramels. Our favorite caramels are Werther’s® Soft (not original) caramels. These caramels have a great flavor and melt really nicely into the apples. Avoid caramel bits–they resist melting.
  • Evenly space out the butter. For the best results, we use a full cup of butter (two sticks). Cut the sticks of butter into 1/4th inch thick slices and make sure the entire top of the cake is covered.

QUICK TIP

You’re the cook, so feel free to modify the flavors as you like. Add a splash of vanilla or sprinkle in a few chopped nuts or raisins. As long as the quantities are small, it won’t affect baking results.

Does Apple Dump Cake Need To Be Refrigerated?

You can leave the leftover cake on the counter (covered) for 1-2 days. Cover the pan and refrigerate to extend the shelf life another day or two. Heat up the leftovers; this dump cake is best warmed.

Process shots: evenly distribute the butter over the surface; bake.

Process shots: evenly distribute the butter over the surface; bake.

How Long To Bake Apple Dump Cake

This cake bakes for 15 minutes initially, and then another 40-45 minutes or until golden brown at the edges and on top. The cake will still be firm on top and fairly gooey underneath– making for the best possible texture contrast!

A common issue with dump cakes is that some pieces can end up with bites of dry cake mix where the butter wasn’t evenly distributed. To remedy that, we pull the cake out mid-bake and spoon melted butter over any exposed cake sections — easy peasy and crisis averted!

VARIATIONS

Apple Dump Cake Variation Ideas

  • Four-Ingredient Apple Dump Cake: To simplify this recipe even more, leave out the added spices, lemon, and caramel. You’ll have a simple four-ingredient cake that is very tasty!
  • Smoked Apple Dump Cake: Preheat the grill to 350 degrees F. Generously spray a 9×13-inch disposable foil pan with cooking spray and follow the remaining instructions in the recipe card. Grill for 45-60 minutes or until the top is golden brown. 
  • Apple Pineapple Dump Cake: Add in 1/2 cup well-drained crushed pineapple on top of the apple fruit filling and gently mix through.
  • Crockpot Apple Dump Cake: Melt the butter and cool slightly. Mix the butter with the cake mix to form a crumble. Grease a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker and then layer in the apple fruit filling, lemon juice, and spices. Top with crumbled cake mix. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. 
  • Apple Dump Cake With Soda: Some recipes replace the butter with soda, but in testing, we preferred the butter by far. That said,  you can still make this cake with soda replacing the butter, if you prefer. Use about 18 ounces of lemon-lime soda (such as Sprite®).

Overhead view of Apple Dump Cake.

Overhead view of Apple Dump Cake.

More Dessert Recipes

Apple Dump Cake

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This is our favorite Apple Dump Cake! It’s gooey and creamy with custardy, sweet apples, and a hint of cinnamon. Plus, we’re sharing an option to add caramels for an unforgettable caramel apple dump cake!

Apple Dump Cake

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This is our favorite Apple Dump Cake! It’s gooey and creamy with custardy, sweet apples, and a hint of cinnamon. Plus, we’re sharing an option to add caramels for an unforgettable caramel apple dump cake!

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (21 oz. each) Lucky Leaf® Premium Apple Fruit Filling
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 package butter pecan cake mix (or yellow/white) (Note 1)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, Note 2
  • Optional for a caramel dump cake: 1 cup chopped caramels Note 3
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

  • PREP: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray.

  • ASSEMBLE: Spread both cans of apple fruit filling in one even layer on the bottom of the pan. Drizzle lemon juice (if using) evenly over apples. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg (if using) on top in an even layer.

    Cut caramels in half (if using) and sprinkle evenly on top. Empty the cake mix on top of everything and smooth in one even layer with the back of a wooden spoon. Finally, cut the butter in thin 1/4-inch thick slices and place evenly on top of the cake, covering the entire top.

  • BAKE: Bake for 15 minutes. At this point, all the butter should be melted on top. Use a spoon to spoon pools over melted butter over any exposed dry cake mix. Return to the oven and bake for 40-45 more minutes or until light golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes to firm up.

  • SERVE: Spoon out the cake into bowls and top with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy hot!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Cake mix: Our favorite in this recipe is Betty Crocker® Super Moist Butter Pecan Cake Mix. This mix has pudding in it which results in an even tastier cake. Vanilla or yellow cake mix can be used instead (try to find the Super Moist cake mixes for a gooey dump cake!).

Note 2: Butter: A lot of dump cake recipes use only 3/4 cup of butter. In testing, we preferred more butter, but this cake is certainly indulgent and very buttery tasting. If you want a firmer and less gooey cake, use 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) of butter instead.

Note 3: Caramels: For a fun twist on the regular Apple Dump Cake, add in 1 cup of chopped caramels. Our favorite caramels are Werther’s® Soft (not original) caramels. Avoid caramel bits, since they are resistant to melting.

Nutrition information is for the basic recipe; Apple Caramel Dump Cake will have a different profile.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 217mg | Potassium: 132mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 374IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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