Apple Dump Cake is a quick, easy dessert for a crowd made with pie filling, yellow cake mix, pecans, and butter. Topped with caramel sauce!
Dump Cakes are such an easy Dessert that you can prep in a few minutes with a handful of ingredients. They are the perfect crowd-sized Cake for potlucks and casual get-togethers. For more dump cake flavors, try our Cherry Dump Cake and Chocolate Cherry Dump cake next!
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Sabrina’s Apple Dump Cake Recipe
The next time you need a dessert in a hurry, this amazingly easy dump cake is the perfect option! It’s an excellent cake recipe for a potluck or party because you’ll bake it in a 9×13 pan, so there is plenty to share. It’s made with just 5 ingredients that come together in minutes for a last minute dessert you can have baking while you get ready for your event.
You won’t believe how easy this Apple Dump Cake comes together. You’ll simply layer pre-made apple pie filling and cake mix in a baking dish. Melted butter gets drizzled over the top and then some pecans for crunch. After that, the cake gets baked to crisp, buttery golden brown perfection. To take this easy dessert to the next level, it is served with some Caramel Sauce for an amazing fall dessert.
What is Dump Cake?
Dump Cake is similar to a cobbler, but it has a cake mix topping. It gets its name because you “dump” the ingredients into a baking dish in layers versus mixing everything into a batter. It is usually made with boxed cake mix to make it super easy, but you could also make it with homemade mix.
- Apple Filling: To make this recipe ultra-easy, you can use canned fruit filling. It guarantees your apples are perfectly tender and cooked plus it saves time. If you are in a baking mood though, you should try making your own Apple Pie Filling. You could also make it ahead of time and freeze it for recipes like dump cake.
- Cake Mix: Using a pre-made cake mix means you don’t have to worry about measuring, mixing, or missing ingredients. The cake mix gets sprinkled in an even layer over the filling and then as it bakes, it turns into a thick, cakey crust. Yellow cake mix has a delicious buttery flavor but you can use other flavors like spice cake.
- Butter: Instead of a wet batter, the cake gets topped with unsalted melted butter. You want to pour it slowly and evenly so it covers as much of the cake mix as possible so there are no dry powdery spots.
- Pecans: For a little texture contrast with the soft buttery cake and tender apples, we added some chopped pecans. Bring out more of the nutty delicious pecan flavor by toasting the nuts in a dry skillet until they are fragrant.
- Caramel Sauce: The only thing better than apples in the fall is caramel apples! You can make your own homemade caramel sauce or just use caramel topping.
Kitchen Tools & Equipment
- Baking Pan: A dump cake is best baked in a 9×13 inch sized baking dish. You don’t want the cake mix topping to be too thick or the butter won’t sink all the way through and you’ll have dry cake spots.
- Microwave: You need melted butter and the easiest way to melt your butter is in the microwave. Melt the butter in short bursts in a heat safe bowl so that it doesn’t boil over.
How to Make Apple Dump Cake
Time needed: 1 hour.
- Prep for Baking
Preheat your oven. Generously spray the inside of your 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Assemble the Cake
Dump 2 cans of apple pie filling into the prepared glass baking dish. Use a rubber spatula to spread the pie filling evenly. Top with the cake mix, and gently shake the pan to distribute the cake mixture over the pie filling. Pour melted butter over the top, and sprinkle evenly with pecans.
- Bake the Cake
Put the pan in the center rack of the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. The cake should be mostly dry on top but still bubbly around the edges. Allow the Apple Dump Cake to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- Serve the Dump Cake
Scoop the warm Apple Dump Cake to serve it. Drizzle the top with caramel sauce and add a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.
Cooking Tips & Tricks
- Don’t Mix the Butter In
- The key to the dump cake recipe is in the butter layer over the top. Spread the melted butter evenly over the top of the cake mix. As it bakes, the melted butter seeps into the cake mix and creates a delicious crust. It also creates a barrier so the steam from the pie filling gets trapped and cooks the crust from underneath as well.
- Enjoy Apple Dump Cake Freshly Made
- It’s not really recommended to make Apple Dump Cake in advance because it’s at its best a few minutes after baking. When it’s still warm, the top is buttery and crisp. However, the longer it sits, the more the topping absorbs the liquid from the apple filling and becomes really soft.
How to Store Apple Dump Cake
Store: Don’t leave your Apple Dump Cake out at room temperature for more than 2 hours at a time. To keep leftover Apple Dump Cake fresh, cover the pan in plastic wrap or tin foil. Or, if you just have a small portion to keep, transfer the cake to an airtight container. It can stay good in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Reheat: While it won’t completely be the same as freshly baked, you can crisp up the topping again by using the oven to reheat leftovers. Just heat it up in a covered pan so it doesn’t burn or dry out.
Freeze: Once the cake has cooled completely, transfer the leftover cake to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat it from frozen if you stored it in a freezer safe pan, or thaw it overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Ideas to Serve Apple Dump Cake
The warm, spiced flavors of Apple Dump Cake go great with cool and creamy toppings. After it’s cooled a little, serve it warm with caramel sauce and a scoop of ice cream. Vanilla Ice Cream is a classic pairing with baked fruit desserts but butter pecan or Cinnamon Ice Cream would taste amazing too. You can top it with some freshly Whipped Cream too!
Other Ways to Make Apple Dump Cake
Slow Cooker Apple Dump Cake
- To make this cake recipe in the slow cooker, you’ll start by layering the pie filling, box cake mix, melted butter, and pecans on the crockpot.
- Then add the lid and cook the apple cake on high for 2 hours.
- Take off the lid, turn off the heat and let the slow cooker cake cool for a few minutes before serving.
Both cobblers and dump cake are made with a warm fruit filling and a dessert topping. However, cobblers have more of a crumb-like topping, whereas this dump cake recipe is made using cake mix.
Yes, if you’d prefer to make this cake without pie filling, you can use fresh apples. However, you will need to cook them down beforehand because the cake doesn’t bake long enough to make the apples tender without burning the crust. It’s best to use a homemade pie filling recipe because the syrup is needed to help bake the cake and it sweetens the dessert.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom of 9×13 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.
- Spread apple pie filling in baking dish.
- Top with dry cake mix; gently shake pan to distribute evenly.
- Pour melted butter over top, tilting pan to cover as much of top with butter as possible.
- Sprinkle with pecans.
- Bake 40-45 minutes or until mostly dry on top and bubbly around edges.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
- Drizzle with caramel sauce.
Apple Dump Cake Variations
Spiced Apple Dump Cake: Instead of using vanilla cake mix, you can use spice cake mix for this recipe. Spice cake mix is an especially good flavor option if you’re serving this apple cake for the holidays and want a more seasonal flavor.
Fruit Filling: The great thing about this simple cake filling is you can easily swap out the ingredients to try out new flavors. Instead of an apple cake, you can use any fruit pie filling for a new kind of cake. Canned cherry, blueberry, or peach pie filling are all delicious options.
Cinnamon: For a delicious cinnamon sugar flavor, you can sprinkle cinnamon streusel over the apple filling along with the cake mix. To make the streusel combine 2 tablespoons of cold butter, ¼ cup of all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Use a fork to combine the ingredients into coarse crumbs, then add them over the cake mix topping.