Homemade Dump Cake & Gift Basket


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.

Printer-Friendly Printer-Friendly
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.

Printer-Friendly Printer-Friendly
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).

Note: I score the cake with a knife two or three times during baking to make sure the dry and wet ingredients mix well.

I used home-canned Brandied Apricots and Blackberry Brandy Jam. Yum!!!

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!

See All My Recipes
Printer-Friendly Printer-Friendly


  1. Sarita says:

    Now I know what I’m going to do this rainy Sunday afternoon. Thanks!

  2. Carolyn A. says:

    Mmmm! Suzanne, I smell a giveaway. This sounds so delightful. Thanks for always sharing. xxoo

  3. Shari C says:

    What a wonderful sounding recipe and also thanks for the great gift idea.

  4. Traci Best says:

    I am in total awe! Wow! I will have to try this one for sure!

    (I SOOO have that mixing bowl! I have an obsession with Pyrex! My Mom had that bowl set when I was a kid and I picked up a set at an auction when I was in college!)

  5. Lisa L says:

    Aren’t you supposed to be writing? LOL!

    Yummy cake! Wish I could hop over for tea and dump cake. :hungry:

  6. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Lisa, I have to have more cake to fortify myself for the work ahead!

  7. Tresha says:

    ok let me tell you about dump cakes….THEY ARE THE BEST! and I have done this kitchen bowl gift basket thing and they turn out so cute and who wouldn’t love to have one? Suzanne, I do this same thing but over pumpkin pie and then sprinkle pecans on top at the end….MMMMMMMMMM oh heavenly days it is good and the very BEST thing about dump cakes is the longer they sit the better they get!

    let me also tell EVERYONE…if you have not made Suzannes Pepperoni Lasagna you are truly missing out….we ate until we absolutely could not move…then we sat and complained all night long about how full we were….Suzanne that recipe needs to be entered in the County Fair!!!!!!!

    I have never tried the Forum before…going there next.

    Tresh in Oklahoma

  8. Suzanne McMinn says:

    I might need some pie, too. 😎

  9. jane says:

    That yellow bow i think came from the 50s. I too have the set of primary colors i got at flea markets and garage sales. i love them. i love pyrex too. they are collectable for sure and costly now some too. i love the pink and tourqoise (sp) too from the 50s. there are some older and worth a lot more. i have seen the primary color set from 65 to 125 – can you believe that.

    love the dump cake – make them all the time. i give jelly and jam and cake in a car for gifts all the time. great ideas.

  10. Jill S. says:

    I sure would love a gift basket like that!

  11. Gizmo says:

    I wanna be on your gift list. :sheepjump:
    I’m making it for dessert today. :sheep:

  12. Karen says:

    I am so going to do this for friends of ours who are so so hard to find the right gift for. They are going to love it. Thanks for the idea.

  13. annie d. says:

    How about dry ingredients for Grandmother’s Bread, jam, loaf pan, dish towel, and a knife to either cut the bread or spread the jam? A biscuit recipe with muffin tin, etc. Can I come over and make presents? I won’t eat much and will help with the chores….at least the fun ones.

  14. Wammy says:

    There is nothing better than a piece of gooey warm dump cake and a big glass of ice cold milk. Slobber, slobber!

  15. Janet says:

    This sure sounds good to me. I also make homemade jams and jellies. I have grapes, blackberry vines and a pear tree in my yard. I’ve thought about making gift baskets this year. I was going to put in a jar of jam and jelly and maybe a bag of Teays Valley Biscuit Mix.
    Line the basket with a dishtowel and maybe throw in a homemade ornament (I love to make homemade ornaments)

  16. Peggy says:

    What a great gift idea. Sounds so yummy!

  17. Tresha says:

    something else to throw in the basket are sets of teaspoons…I once read in a Thanksgiving 101 cook book to have several sets of teaspoons and measuring cups handy so you aren’t always having to clean and reuse…just grab…that is something you just hate to buy for yourself you know? also that pastry knife thing….unusual handy kitchen gadgets…

    man i love kitchen gadgets….or hey pot holders …you can never have enough oven mitts and pot holders!!!

    Tresh in OK

  18. Jo says:

    I am so glad I found this post. I love the dump cake recipe, have never tried it but will do so soon. I do a fair amount of baking, make jams and chutney, what a cool idea of making up a gift basket with home made goodies in a mixing bowl. :elephant: :elephant:

  19. Kathi says:

    This is great! Thanks for sharing. I have some freshly-canned stuff, so will try it now. (I canned a pear-mincemeat this year and think I will try that first.)

  20. Laura says:

    I love dump cakes!!! Aunt Natalie always makes a few when her boys and their friends comes over and my favorite variation is a can of apple pie filling and a can of cherry pie filling mixed together with yellow cake on top. Super tasty!!! :heart:

  21. Abiga/karen says:

    Homemade dump cake! Who would have thought it was possible. It is so rainy here today from the after affects of the hurricane moving through Illinois so I mixed up a batch of Grandmother’s Bread today. Thanks and blessings.
    Oh P.S. We tried the peach jam and I did it, I really did it. You are an inspiration to get me going here.

  22. Estella says:

    Great idea, suzanne.
    The cake looks yummy!

  23. Susan C says:

    What a yummy gift! I’m with Jill. :thumbsup:

  24. Tori Lennox says:

    We love dump cake at our house, too! :hungry: Yum!!!

  25. Donna says:

    YUMMMMM!! Another great idea! There’s another career idea – you could be one of those people in labs that develop recipes! :mrgreen:

  26. Kacey says:

    That looks yummy. I love homemade gifts.

  27. Kelly says:

    My West Virginia gift basket would contain ; Teays Valley Biscuit Mix , Apple butter made from W.Va. apples , a hand carved wooden spoon from Tamarack , a crocheted , knitted or hand quilted pot holder and for a bit of whimsy a home made apple head doll.
    You can pick up hand made baskets at Tamarack . :cattail:

  28. catslady says:

    Looks scrumptious!!!! Anyone would love one of your gift baskets with such wonderful homemade goodies.

  29. hayseed says:

    My daughter (aged 15) made your chocolate cake for her dad’s birthday sunday- she got raves, it was delicious-now we’ll have to try the dump cake!

  30. Crystal B. says:

    Yum! I love this dessert.

  31. Marissa says:

    I think you should make some extra baskets and sell. I know I’d buy one for myself and one for a gift. I’d love to purchase one of your dump mix and your homemade vanilla.

  32. TeresaH says:

    I love dump cakes! My two favorite variations are peach or apple/rhubarb. I think apple/rhubarb rates a bit above the peach. No nuts on mine either, and normally I love nuts on everything. Some people also add coconut on top. When I make the apple/rhubarb variation I use a can of apple pie filling and about 3 cups chopped rhubarb mixed with about a half cup sugar. Depends on how sweet you like it…or how tart!

  33. eddiegirl says:

    :wave: Anyway Suzanne, I love your ideas!! You are like the most creative woman I’ve met in so long. I’m so glad I found your webpage :heart: I’m sharing it w/family & friends.

  34. Mia says:

    *sigh* – yet another thign that I HAVE to try or I won’t sleep tonight!!!

  35. sandrar says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  36. Sheila says:

    I used a lot of your recipes and made some gift baskets for 2 of my neighbors , I gave each of them some apple butter , blueberry jelly , strawberry jelly , peach jam , and grape jelly as well as some grandmother bread but in one I put some coffee bites and in the other I put a mini loaf of pumpkin bread , I also made the lemon cake pie for one and shoo-fly pie for the other , though I haven’t heard if they like them or not yet :).

Add Your Thoughts