For the cherry layer:
- 1.5 pounds of whole cherries
- 4 tablespoons brown or white sugar
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Flavorings (optional, see Notes below)
For the topping:
- 2 cups yellow cake mix (see Notes for alternatives)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Have ready an 8x11-inch ceramic or glass dish, rectangular or oval. Or a 9-inch square or round baking dish.
For the filling:
- Wash and pit the cherries. Cut them in half.
- Place in a medium saucepan and add the lemon juice and sugar. Stir to mix and start to cook over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, completely dissolve the cornstarch in a small bowl with the water.
- Add in a thin stream to the cherries, stirring constantly, and cook for 1 minute after it starts to boil. This will cook the cornstarch and remove its floury flavor.
- Remove the cherry filling from the heat and dump into the prepared baking pan or dish.
For the topping:
- Mix the dry cake mix with the melted butter in a medium bowl until you have a crumbly mixture. It should be slightly floury.
- Sprinkle over the fruit layer. It will not cover it completely and that is fine. Don't stir it or mix it with the filling.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown and dry and the filling bubbles around the edges, checking close to the end of the baking time by lifting the topping here and there and making sure it's completely baked inside. Bake a little longer if necessary.
- Serve warm plain, with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream. Top with the juices from the pan and extra fresh cherries if you want to.
- Organization: read the recipe first and make sure you have ingredients at the right temperatures, equipment needed, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier!
- Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. Use a thermometer inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that the temperature is right. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
- Type of cake mix: the amount needed is about half a box of yellow cake mix (which is the most commonly used), but white cake mix also works well with cherries. If you want to use a whole box, double the filling recipe (or two cans of cherry pie filling) and use a larger baking dish.
- Topping: after making many dump cakes, I tried several ways of mixing the cake mix with butter, and my favorite is by far the one explained here using melted butter. You can also do it the old-fashioned way, or the original one, like I do with the Cherry Chocolate Dump Cake. If using vanilla cake instead of lemon, add some lemon zest to the cake mix before adding the melted butter.
- Filling: I like making them from scratch, but store-bought pie filling works like a charm if you usually use it. Just open a can! Doesn't get much simpler than that. I do recommend adding some extra fresh cherries. It adds a lot of freshness and sometimes flavor to the fruit filling.
- Flavorings: you can add some almond extract, vanilla extract, or ground cinnamon to the fruit mixture, as they pair very well with cherries. A 1/2 teaspoon at the most so you don't overpower the flavor of the fruit.
- Ratio: I find that a lower topping ratio to filling is ideal because the former crisps up and tastes amazing without being over-buttery. But, as with most desserts, find your own ideal combination of filling, topping, and sweetness.
- Storing: treat it as you would a crumble or crisp, keeping leftovers in the refrigerator. You can freeze it for a month, sometimes more. Let it thaw at room temperature and warm it slightly in the oven before eating.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1/8
- Calories: 331
- Sugar: 31.9 g
- Sodium: 255.2 mg
- Fat: 14.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 49.6 g
- Fiber: 1.8 g
- Protein: 2.5 g
- Cholesterol: 30.5 mg
Keywords: cherry dump cake