So I had the most ridiculous idea (I’m full of them) about how I could make the easiest cake in the world into something complicated. I know. This idea sounds inspired already. But hold on! It’s not just a cake; it’s a handmade gift basket.
If you’re like me and already thinking (stressing) about holiday presents, here is another inexpensive and handmade, not to mention delicious, gift idea. I sometimes give jam and other home-canned items as gifts, and a Homemade Dump Cake Gift Basket makes giving a jar of jam into something extra special–while maintaining the frugal purpose.
How to make a Homemade Dump Cake Gift Basket:
Included: Dump Cake Mix, one pint jar of home-canned fruit or pie filling, one half-pint jar of home-canned jam, one bottle of homemade vanilla, hand-lettered recipe card, all nested in a tea towel and tucked inside a pretty mixing bowl. (How much this gift costs depends on how much you splurge on the tea towel and bowl. You could also use a basket or other container. You don’t actually need a mixing bowl for dump cake, but the mixing bowl fits the baking theme.) You could add other fun things to make an even more substantial basket, such as wooden spoons or nice measuring spoons or cups, etc.
First, a note about dump cake. The common “church supper” dump cake recipe calls for one 21-ounce can of pie filling, one 8-ounce can of crushed pineapple, one box of yellow cake mix, 1 cup chopped nuts, and one stick of butter. I changed the recipe in several ways, starting with using a homemade cake mix. I also used a pint jar of fruit and a half-pint jar of jam. This affects the balance of the cake in several ways. My homemade cake mix makes more cake than a boxed cake mix, and a pint jar of fruit is smaller than a 21-ounce jar of pie filling. The half-pint of jam is similar in size to the crushed pineapple, but with both the jam and the pint jar of home-canned fruit, the overall liquid is decreased. I increased the liquid content by adding the one-third cup of water and the extra stick of butter. I also added vanilla to the dump ingredients. (And I don’t actually use the chopped nuts because my kids would prefer their cake minus nuts.)
Also, as a bigger cake overall, it takes longer to bake than your usual dump cake recipe.
How to make Dump Cake Mix:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup powdered milk
This cake mix will fit perfectly in a one-quart size plastic baggie.
How to make Homemade Dump Cake:
1 pint home-canned fruit
1/2 pint home-canned jam
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 Dump Cake Mix
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
2 sticks butter
Grease a 9×13 pan. Evenly spread ingredients in order, ending with distributing slices of butter over the top. Bake in a 350-degree oven for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes (till done–start checking after one hour).
This is great with vanilla ice cream, or all by itself. If you haven’t had dump cake, this is a cake that bakes up more like a cobbler or crumble than a “normal” cake–and it’s delicious! Combined in a gift basket, it turns home-canned jam into something even more special.
If you have more ideas for homemade jam gift baskets, let me hear ’em!