Caramel Apple Dump Cake
What is a Dump Cake?
Before we get to the ah-mazing Caramel Apple Dump Cake recipe, let’s first discuss what we’re making here: For those of a certain age, you may remember dump cakes being all the rage in the 80s and 90s. On any given occasion, one could pull out a box cake mix, some fresh fruit (or even canned pie filling), and make a tantalizing quickie dessert in a short amount of time.
For those not in the know, a dump cake is a simple American dessert, combining a fruit filling that is sprinkled with a boxed cake mix on top and drizzled with butter. The moisture from the fruit filling and the butter on top absorb into the cake mix creating a crispy topping, similar to a crumble or crisp. The most traditional versions of dump cake are often made with cherry pie filling, or canned pineapples.
However, today we’re making a simple version with a scratch-made fruit filling.
(Yes, in a pinch you can use canned apple pie filling, but making it yourself is so much tastier.)
Baked together the cake mix and buttery spiced apple create a tender, slightly chewy, and perfectly moist crumb. It’s similar to a cobbler, but with a softer texture.
Drizzle thick caramel sauce on top and you have a fabulous caramel apple dump cake you can be proud to serve to anyone. It’s a perfect fall dessert!
- Granny smith apples – peeled, cored, and sliced
- Butter – unsalted
- Brown sugar – for a deep, warm sweetness
- Spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt
- Yellow cake mix – your favorite boxed brand
- Caramel sauce – store-bought or homemade salted caramel sauce
How to Make Caramel Apple Dump Cake
First, prepare the rustic apple filling. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/2-inch wedges.
Set a large 12 to 14-inch cast-iron skillet on the stovetop, over medium heat. Add the apples, 1/2 cup of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Sauté the apples, stirring regularly, for 7-10 minutes to soften. Then stir in 1 cup of water and turn off the heat.
Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the top of the apple mixture to create a crispy crumble layer.
Get the Complete (Printable) Caramel Apple Dump Cake Recipe + VIDEO Below. Enjoy!
Place the remaining 1/2 cup of butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 to 60 seconds to melt.
Drizzle the melted butter over the top of the cake mix. Do not mix!
Move the skillet to the oven, and bake for 40 minutes.
Once the top of the dump cake is golden brown and the edges are bubbly, removed it from the oven.
Pro Tip: If the top starts turning dark too early, place a piece of foil loosely over the top and continue baking.
Allow the dump cake to cool for at least 10 minutes, then drizzle the top with thick caramel sauce and serve warm.
- In a pinch, you can use two 20-ounce cans of apple pie filling, instead of making your own filling. But I recommend starting with fresh apples.
- Don’t have an oven-safe cast iron skillet? Cook the apples in any non-stick pan you like, then pour them into a round casserole dish or 9 X 13-inch baking dish.
- Granny Smiths are classic baking apples; the tartness balances beautifully with the brown sugar. However, feel free to make the recipe with other apple varieties. Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and are also popular.
- This caramel dump cake recipe can be made with a spiced peach or pear filling! Peel, slice, and cook the same as you would with apples.
- We use a traditional yellow cake mix, but other boxed cake mix flavors also work well! Try french vanilla, white cake mix, or spice cake.
- Add in chopped pecans or walnuts for additional crunch.
- It’s easy to make this a gluten-free dump cake recipe! Just use your fave gluten-free boxed cake mix.
- Use plant-based dairy-free butter for a vegan dessert.
Top warm carmel apple dump cake with fresh whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You’ll love our fabulous Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you know when a dump cake is done?
Typically you check the doneness by inserting a knife (or toothpick) into the cake to see if it comes out clean. However, carmel apple dump cake is moist and gooey throughout. So you are looking for an even, golden bubbling top with set and browned edges.
Does apple dump cake need to be refrigerated?
It does not need to go in the fridge immediately, but should be refrigerated if you plan to keep for more than a day or so.
How long will dump cake keep?
It will keep well for up to 2 days at room temperature in a sealed container. For longer storage transfer the cake to an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Looking for More Easy Dessert Recipes? Be Sure to Also Try:
- Easy Peach Cobbler Recipe with Bisquick
- Apple Brown Betty (Old-Fashioned Crumble)
- Apple Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting
- Better Than Sex Cake (Retro Recipe!)
- Easy Pumpkin Slab Pie
Caramel Apple Dump Cake Recipe + VIDEO
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/2 inch wedges.
- Set a large 12 to 14 inch cast-iron skillet on the stovetop, over medium heat. Add the apples, 1/2 cup of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Sauté the apples, stirring regularly, for 7-10 minutes to soften. Then stir in 1 cup of water and turn off the heat.
- Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the top of the apple filling.
- Place the remaining 1/2 cup of butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 to 60 seconds to melt.
- Drizzle the melted butter over the top of the cake mix. Move the skillet to the oven, and bake for 40 minutes.
- Once the top of the dump cake is golden and the edges are bubbly, removed from the oven. (If the top starts turning dark too early, place a piece of foil loosely over the top and continue baking.)
- Allow the dump cake to cool for at least 10 minutes, then drizzle the top with thick caramel sauce and serve warm. Top with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
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