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This tried-and-true family recipe could not be any easier! Just combine 5 ingredients in a cake pan, bake it in the oven, and Aunt Bee’s 5-Minute Cherry Dump Cake is warm, bubbly, and ready to be enjoyed. There are no mixing bowls required, and the entire dessert comes together in one dish!

Overhead image of two bowls of cherry dump cake with vanilla ice cream on top

Long before “dump cakes” took over the internet, my great Aunt Bee shared this easy cherry cake recipe with me. I had never heard of a dump cake, but I was intrigued — because I’m a fan of any dessert that only requires about 5 minutes of effort! I have since learned that Aunt Bee’s recipe is a twist on the old-fashioned Duncan Hines Cherry Dump Cake; however, in my mind, this “family recipe” will always belong to Aunt Bee!

Close up image of turquoise mug filled with cherry dump cake and vanilla ice cream

What is Cherry Dump Cake?

It’s got a funny name, so let’s first explain what I mean by “dump cake.” While it starts with a box of yellow cake mix, this dessert is really more like a Cherry Dump Cobbler or a Cherry Crisp with Cake Mix, because the cake batter and nuts form a buttery crumb topping over the cherry and pineapple filling.

The name of the dessert probably gives it away, but basically you are just dumping 5 ingredients into a cake pan and baking them together in the oven. That’s it! You don’t have to pull out a single mixing bowl, spatula, or whisk! This is one of those recipes that is perfect for busy moms like myself who want to share comforting recipes with their families, but who don’t always have the luxury of time. And believe me — you’re not sacrificing quality or taste in this easy recipe!

How to Make Cherry Dump Cake:

Let’s start with the 5 ingredients for this Cherry Dump Cake with pineapple and pecans: a box of yellow cake mix, pecans, a can of crushed pineapple, a can of cherry pie filling, and butter.

5 ingredients for cherry dump cake

First, spread the pineapple (in its juice), in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Canned crushed pineapple spread in glass baking dish

Spoon the cherry pie filling on top of the pineapple,

Spooning cherry pie filling over pineapple

and sprinkle the dry cake mix over top.

Dry cake mix on top of pineapple and cherry filling

Thinly slice a stick of butter,

Thinly sliced stick of butter on a cutting board

and arrange the butter in a single layer on top of the cake mix. Make sure that you slice the butter into very thin pieces so that you have enough squares to cover the entire cake. You don’t want any larger gaps between the butter squares because you want the butter to melt and cover all of the cake mix.

Overhead image of squares of butter on top of dump cake

How long do you bake Cherry Dump Cake?

Bake the dump cake in a 350 degree F oven for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes, remove the cake from the oven, sprinkle chopped pecans on top, and return the cake to the oven for about 10 more minutes, or until the nuts are toasted and the topping is golden brown.

I like to wait to add the pecans at the end of the baking time because I find that they burn and get too dark if you put them on top of the cake at the beginning.

Chopped pecans on a cutting board

The end result is a cross between a cake, a cherry cobbler and a cherry crisp! You have a delicious, buttery crumb topping and warm, juicy fruit underneath. Trust me — this cherry dump cake recipe is heavenly!

Baked cherry dump cake in a glass baking dish

How to make Cherry Dump Cake in the Crock Pot:

If you prefer to use a slow cooker to “bake” your cake, follow the same instructions but cook the cake on HIGH for 3 1/2 – 4 hours. Since the lid of a Crock Pot causes condensation to drop back down onto the cake, I recommend placing a few layers of paper towels just under the lid in order to absorb that additional liquid.

Blue bowl of cherry dump cake with scoop of ice cream on top

Does Cherry Dump Cake have to be refrigerated?

I prefer the dump cake when it’s served warm. If you have leftovers, you can refrigerate the extra dump cake for a few days or you can leave a baked dump cake on the counter at room temperature for about 1-2 days. Refrigerating the cake extends the life of the leftovers!

Can you freeze Cherry Dump Cake?

Yes! To preserve the leftover cake for even longer, you can freeze the dump cake for up to 3 months. Thaw the frozen dump cake in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat the refrigerated dump cake in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until the cake reaches your desired temperature.

Close bowl of ice vanilla ice cream melting on top of warm cherry dump cake

What to serve with Cherry Dump Cake:

You’ve just got to serve this dump cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top! The cool creamy contrast with the warm cake is to-die-for!

COOK’S TIPS AND RECIPE VARIATIONS:

  • Make sure that you slice the butter into very thin pieces so that you have enough squares to cover the entire cake. You don’t want any larger gaps between the butter squares because you want the butter to melt and cover all of the cake mix.
  • I like to wait to add the pecans at the end of the baking time because I find that they burn and get too dark if you put them on top of the cake at the beginning.
  • You’ve just got to serve this dump cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top! The cool creamy contrast with the warm cake is to-die-for!
  • Make a Chocolate Cherry Dump Cake by using a chocolate cake mix instead of a yellow cake mix!
  • Substitute your favorite flavor of pie filling for the cherry flavor. Instead of a cherry dump cake, try a Blueberry Dump Cake or a Strawberry Dump Cake! Apple pie filling with a spice cake topping would also be divine!

Turquoise bowl with warm cherry dump cake, spoon and vanilla ice cream on top

Other easy cake recipes that you might enjoy:

Aunt Bee's 5-Ingredient 5-Minute Cherry Dump Cake

4.86 from 7 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 342 kcal
Just combine 5 simple ingredients in a cake pan, bake it in the oven, and Aunt Bee's 5-Minute Cherry Dump Cake is warm, bubbly, and ready to be enjoyed!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (20 ounce) can of crushed pineapple (not drained)
  • 1 (21 ounce) can of cherry pie filling
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) package of yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup of pecans finely chopped
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold butter
  • Optional, for serving: vanilla ice cream; whipped cream

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Spread pineapple in its juice evenly into the prepared pan.
  • Spoon pie filling over the pineapple.
  • Sprinkle DRY cake mix evenly over the mixture.
  • Slice the chilled butter into very thin squares and place the squares evenly over the dry cake mix.
  • Bake for 35 minutes.
  • Remove cake from oven, sprinkle chopped pecans over top, and return to the oven for 10 minutes (or until golden brown and the nuts are toasted). Serve warm.

Notes

COOK'S TIPS AND RECIPE VARIATIONS:
  • Make sure that you slice the butter into very thin pieces so that you have enough squares to cover the entire cake. You don't want any larger gaps between the butter squares because you want the butter to melt and cover all of the cake mix.
  • I like to wait to add the pecans at the end of the baking time because I find that they burn and get too dark if you put them on top of the cake at the beginning.
  • You've just got to serve this dump cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top! The cool creamy contrast with the warm cake is to-die-for!
  • Make a Chocolate Cherry Dump Cake by using a chocolate cake mix instead of a yellow cake mix! 
  • Substitute your favorite flavor of pie filling for the cherry flavor. Instead of a cherry dump cake, try a Blueberry Dump Cake or a Strawberry Dump Cake! Apple pie filling with a spice cake topping would also be divine!
How to make Cherry Dump Cake in the Crock Pot:
If you prefer to use a slow cooker to "bake" your cake, follow the same instructions but cook the cake on HIGH for 3 1/2 - 4 hours. Since the lid of a Crock Pot causes condensation to drop back down onto the cake, I recommend placing a few layers of paper towels just under the lid in order to absorb that additional liquid.
Does Cherry Dump Cake have to be refrigerated?
I prefer the dump cake when it's served warm. If you have leftovers, you can refrigerate the extra dump cake for a few days or you can leave a baked dump cake on the counter at room temperature for about 1-2 days. Refrigerating the cake extends the life of the leftovers!
Can you freeze Cherry Dump Cake?
Yes! To preserve the leftover cake for even longer, you can freeze the dump cake for up to 3 months. Thaw the frozen dump cake in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat the refrigerated dump cake in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until the cake reaches your desired temperature.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/12 of the cakeCalories: 342kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 2gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 339mgPotassium: 161mgFiber: 2gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 365IUVitamin C: 6.4mgCalcium: 97mgIron: 1.2mg
Keyword: cherry dump cake, easy cherry cake recipe
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This post was originally published in February, 2015. It was updated in December, 2018.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. This looks so good! I had a friend who used to make a very similar recipe, and it was a pure comfort food dessert! This looks just wonderful!

  2. 5 stars
    I use to make this dump cake a lot, only difference I would melt the butter, pour it over cake mix, then top with walnut pieces and coconut. Once baked, and cooled a bit, I’d top with cool whip

      1. Hi, Rose! The pineapple adds not only flavor, but also liquid and a good amount of bulk to the filling. If you choose to omit the pineapple, you’ll need to replace it with something similar. An extra can of pie filling would probably work, but it won’t be quite as moist.

  3. This cake looks delicious and quite addicting. You’d never know by looking at it that it takes only 5 minutes to prepare, which makes it a perfect recipe to have in your back pocket.

  4. 5 stars
    This looks wonderful!! Can’t wait to try it! I’m wondering if you can use apple pie filling instead? Thanks for the wonderful ideas!

    1. Hi, Mary Jean! I’ve never used apple pie filling myself, but I’m sure it would work great. It would taste like an apple cobbler!! 🙂

      1. 5 stars
        I made one with apple pie filling yesterday, and my bachelor buddies went nuts. I sprinkled the filling with brown sugar and cinnamon and on the top of the cake mix. Awesome! I like the idea of melting the butter. Perhaps that would solve the problem of dry cake mix spots.
        Will try this cherry one with my fresh cherry pie filling with almond extract and almonds!

        1. I made this yest for a friend’s birthday. I nearly didn’t take it because the top was very gooy. I put it back in the oven for a bit & that helped a little bit. Then instead of calling it cake it became cherry dessert. Everybody loved it.

  5. Anyone try this recipe with a gluten-free yellow cake mix?? Would be interested in how it turned out and tasted.

  6. This looks absolutely divine!! Thank you for sharing! I love quick and easy recipes, especially for such a yummy dessert! 🙂

  7. I just pinned this to my Cooking For Two board because of its simplicity! I’d completely forgotten about dump cakes. We used to make these for a soup kitchen to feed the homeless. It is warm, comforting and delicious. Thanks for a sweet reminder!

    1. That’s so great, Kim! Thanks for the pin, and I’m glad to have sparked a good memory! There’s nothing better than a classic, oldie-but-goodie recipe!

  8. I must have done something wrong since the crust was still powdery when I took it out of the oven. I did swirl it all together and put back into oven for 10 minutes and then it was yummy.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Ange! I’m not sure why it would have been powdery, but I’m glad that some extra time in the oven fixed the problem. 🙂

  9. Thanks for your recipe ;). Yesterday I saw a young boy do a 3 Ingredient Peach Cobbler in the Instant Pot (https://youtu.be/SX0NqXBTvas). Just love dump cake recipes but was amazed you could do in the Instant Pot too …. may have to give the cherry one a whirl in the IP too but 1st …… I have your recipe in the oven now 😉

  10. I can’t wait to try this! Our community in FL are always having “carry in dinners” and sometimes on short notice, so this recipe will work just great!

  11. I’ve had cherry dump cake before but i really want to try the apple pie filling with the spice cake. I can’t wait ????

  12. Tried cherry dump cake. It was great while it was warm but the next morning the crust was very hard. What’s the answer

  13. Sounds great. My husband while visiting our son in Stockton, MOnade one of these. He was excited when he returned home to share the recipe with me. He thought it was great. So I’m making one today for our Memorial Day dessert.

  14. 5 stars
    This was really good. Took to work yesterday and everyone loved it and understood why I needed to get it out of my house, couldn’t leave it alone.

  15. With us social distancing, I have been trying to make something for dessert about once a week. My husband is crazy for anything cherry and he actually liked the mixed berry cobbler I made that was similar to this, so I know he’s love it. My first thought, though, is could slivered or chopped almonds work instead of pecans? I just think of almonds when I think of cherries.

  16. 5 stars
    Hooked on these EASY dump cakes ! Have tried most combos ! Spice cake w/apple pie was a HIT & also w/carrot cake–I’ve used French vanilla cake mix in so many different ones ! Just need VERY EASY & QUICK now @ 84 !!!