This is NOT one of our gourmet Dutch oven camping recipes but it SURELY IS a super-simple dessert recipe that’s a sweet, gooey mess! This Dutch Oven Apple Dump Cake requires almost no effort at all and will satisfy your sweet tooth!
When you are making easy camping meals, you can’t get simpler than “dump and bakes”. The prep work is almost non-existent here, you just need to slice some butter!
What’s A Dutch Oven Dump Cake?
The first time most of us made this easy recipe was in the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. It is the perfect dessert to teach kids about outdoor cooking with simple ingredients that require almost no prep work. And, introduce them to the difference between Dutch oven cooking and baking.
Talk about one pot camping meals! You don’t need a mixing bowl, the Dutch oven is the bowl and baking dish too!
This is the real deal … the name of the recipe says it all. You literally open a couple of cans of pie filling and pour them into the bottom of the Dutch oven, maybe you’ll add a tsp cinnamon or nutmeg if you’re really ambitious, then you dump cake mixes over that. You’ll finish by adding a sliced stick of butter (or drizzle melted butter) and bake.
Variations For Other Dump Cake Recipes
Name dump cake = ingredients inside. Now that you understand the basic recipe to make the easiest desserts on your camping trips, you can swap out the flavors so you’re not always making the apple version.
There are different ways you can add variety to an otherwise run of the mill dump cake:
- Change the cake mix flavors. Most box cake mix recipes call for a yellow or white cake mix. Some sort of vanilla cake mix lets the fruit filling be the star. You can easily change the flavor profile by using a chocolate, lemon or a spice cake mix.
- Change the fruit. Peaches, blueberry and cherry pie fillings are great choices. Think about classic flavor combinations when you choose the filling and cake mixes you are using. Cherries go well with chocolate … blueberries go well with lemon.
- Add a topper. Canned pie apple filling has wonderful flavors but if you want to add another layer think about caramel apples. Create a caramel apple dump cake by adding a caramel topping just before serving. Make it easy by using the caramel sauce you put on ice cream.
Cooking Methods & Equipment
If you are making this as one of our easy campfire recipes, you’ll need to get your fire going in order to generate coals for baking. To make it even easier use a charcoal chimney to light some charcoal briquettes.
Dutch oven baked goods need a little help to bake evenly. Every 10-15 minutes cook time, turn the lid and the oven (in opposite directions) about 1/4 turn.
Step 1. Prepare your ingredients, heat source and equipment as directed.
Line a standard-depth 12-inch cast iron Dutch oven with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Here’s how to line a Dutch oven with parchment paper.
Camp Cooking Tip: Line Dutch ovens before pre-heating them so you don’t get burned while creasing the paper or foil in place. You’ll want to form it along the bottom, in the corners and up the walls of the oven.
Pre-heat the oven with 25 coals for baking at a temperature of 350 F degrees. If you are using a different oven size, check our Dutch oven temperature chart to see how many coals you will need.
Step 2. Add filling to the pot. Dump both cans of apple pie filling into the preheated Dutch oven.
Step 3. Add cinnamon. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top of the filling. I like adding a few extra spices to give all of my vegetarian camping recipes extra taste.
Step 4. Sprinkle cake mix. Don’t stir the apple pie filling and cake mix together, just sprinkle the dry cake mix over the pot making sure to cover the entire surface to the edge.
Step 5. Add butter on top of cake mix. Spread butter slices evenly over the top of the cake mix. You want to make sure most of the areas are covered.
Step 6. Add nuts & bake. Sprinkle on the pecans, cover with lid and arrange the coals for baking, 17 on top of the lid / 8 below the bottom of the oven. Turn oven and lid 1/4 turns in opposite directions every 15 minutes or so throughout the baking time of about 40-60 minutes.
Camp Cooking Tip: When this easy apple dump cake is done it will look more like a cobbler than a cake. You’ll scoop it with a spoon rather than slice it like a cake.
Step 7. Serve warm. Remove oven from coals and use the “handles” of the parchment paper to lift the cake out of the oven, be careful not to burn yourself. Let the cake cool a bit. Serve warm. Top with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
What To Serve With This Recipe
I like serving warm desserts with a scoop of ice cream on top.
This one is also great with a cold glass of milk or a hot cup of camp coffee when the weather is cold and you want to warm up with hot winter camping recipes.
Dump cakes are great recipes when you need easy camping meals for large groups. You can scale the recipe up if you have a large enough Dutch oven or just use multiple ovens to make several batches.
We have tons of similar camping desserts you should try on your next camping menu!
You’ll use canned fruit and a boxed cake mix in this Dutch Oven Pineapple Upside Down Cake. The addition of brown sugar and eggs create the texture of a true cake that is sliced and served.
This Dutch Oven Coffee Cake starts with a box of yellow cake mix that is jazzed up to make a moist and yummy morning meal or evening treat.
These Dutch Oven Campfire Donuts only use 3 ingredients to make this sweet treat.
5 basic ingredients create a simple homemade batter that you bake in foil cupcake liners. The result is individual Dutch Oven Chocolate Lava Cakes that’ll make you think you’re eating in a five-star ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐restaurant!
Refrigerated dough, cinnamon, sugar and nuts make this simple Dutch Oven Monkey Bread recipe.
If you love apple recipes made with fresh fruit, try this homemade Upper Crust Dutch Oven Apple Pie. It is more of a dump apple pie (rather than cake) but it doesn’t have a bottom crust. After you toss the fresh apples with cinnamon and sugar, you place them in a buttered pan and drop spoons of the cobbler-ish crust mixture made up of shortening, sugar, flour, egg, vanilla and almond extract. It is one of our favorite desserts we enjoy on our fall camping trips.
Print This Recipe
Dutch Oven Apple Dump Cake
- 2 (21 oz) cans apple pie filling
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 (1 lb) box yellow cake mix (just the mix, you are NOT making it according to the package directions)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, slice cube of butter into small pieces
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans optional
- Vanilla ice cream optional
- Line a standard-depth, 12-inch Dutch oven with parchment paper. Using a paper lining allows you to lift the dessert out and makes for easy cleanup. Camp Cooking Tip: Line Dutch ovens before pre-heating them so you can crease the paper in place, forming it along the bottom, in the corners and up the walls of the oven.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (25 hot coals total = 17 on top of Dutch oven / 8 below the bottom of Dutch oven). You can use campfire coals that are uniformly sized and made with a good hardwood or hot briquettes.
- Dump both cans of apple pie filling into the preheated Dutch oven, and spread out to create an even layer.
- Sprinkle cinnamon evenly over the top of the filling.
- Sprinkle dry cake mix over the cinnamon, making sure to cover the entire surface all the way to the edge of the pan. Don't stir the apple pie filling and cake mix together, just let the cake mix set on top of the pie filling.
- Top mixture with slices of butter, ensuring that most areas are evenly covered.
- Sprinkle pecans over the butter layer then cover with lid and arrange the coals for baking.
- Bake at 350 F degrees until the cake is baked, the top should be golden brown and bubbly around the edges. It will take between 40-60 minutes of baking time. Turn oven and lid 1/4 turns in opposite directions every 10 minutes or so to ensure even baking.
- Remove oven from coals and lift cake out of oven using the "handles" of the parchment paper, being careful not to burn yourself on the hot oven. Camp Cooking Tip: When this easy apple dump cake is finished baking it will look more like a cobbler than a cake. It is a hot gooey mess (yum) you scoop with a spoon to serve (it is not a firm sliceable cake).
- Slightly cool the cake, about 10 minutes, before serving.
- Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
More Yummy Meal Ideas
Make every camp meal a memorable one!