Cast Iron Dutch Oven Cooking – Apple Dump Cake

If you are camping this summer and are lucky enough to not have a burn ban, we have a dessert for you!  Making a Dump Cake is a camping must as it is easy to pack, easy to make, and tastes great!  We love the versatility of it as any type of canned fruit can be used, any type of cake mix, and just top it with butter.  You can add coconut and nuts if you like (which we do!).  The result is a fruit cobbler you cooked in your cast iron with a wonderful crust on top.

Why cook in cast iron?  Mom has a cast iron dutch oven that is over 50 years old and it keeps getting better with time.  In the 1950’s, it became vogue to put away these wonderful old iron cooking utensils to buy new shiny aluminum cookware.  As the 1970’s rolled in, these pieces were replaced with stainless steel.  In the meantime, old, heirloom cast iron gathered dust in a pantry closet.  Luckily, there is a resurgence of these cast iron wonders.  Smart, young cooks are pulling these iron pieces out and using them again.  They are being seen on cooking shows on TV.  Once again they are stocking the shelves in stores.  The unknowing will pass them by for the modern looking utensils, but those in the know will snatch them up and get to cooking!

Nothing cooks like a cast iron skillet or a cast iron dutch oven, period.  If you don’t own cast iron, go get it!  If you are fortunate to run across an old one at a garage sale, flea market, or old farm; cherish it!  We have run across them at flea markets already seasoned and ready to use.  The preferred brands are Wagner or Griswold.  You won’t find them new.  They went out of business long ago but those are the brands to watch for at garage sales and flea markets.  If the seller knows what he has, it won’t come cheaply!

To keep your cast iron in top shape, you’ll need to keep it seasoned.  Regularly using it will help!  To season cast iron, wash it WITHOUT SOAP and dry it.  Coat the inside with peanut oil, wetting it thoroughly.  Put it in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 1 hour to 1-1/2 hours.  Take it out of the oven (careful though as it is HOT!), and wipe it down.  That’s it.  You are ready too cook!

Back to the Apple Dump Cake!

You will need to begin by starting your fire and cooking your coals.   You will need about 21 coals for this.  In the photo below, we are cooking more coals as we are making two cobblers for our crowd!

Next, you’ll want to line your cast iron dutch oven to cut down on the cleanup time as sugar may stick to your dutch oven making it more difficult to clean.  Foil works great.  I also found these cast iron liners and tried them out for the first time and found that they worked great too.


2 cans apple pie filling
1 can pineapple – crushed or diced, undrained
1 vanilla or white cake mix
1-1/2  sticks of butter
1 cup shredded coconut

Dump cans of pineapple and apple pie filling into cast iron and mix with a spoon.

Sprinkle cake mix over the top of the fruit and spread evenly.

Top with shredded coconut.

Top with evenly spaced butter pats.

Place the lid on your cast iron dutch oven.

As a general rule, you’ll want about twice as many charcoal underneath your dutch oven than you will have on top as most of the cooking is done from the top down.  You will want to take your grilling tongs and place 7 pieces of charcoal underneath the cast iron and 14 on top of the lid.

Bake cake for approximately 35-45 minutes.  You will want to rotate it 2 or 3 times during the cooking process to ensure it is baking thoroughly.

Allow it to sit for 10 minutes before serving in bowls.


4 thoughts on “Cast Iron Dutch Oven Cooking – Apple Dump Cake

  1. i am following your blog regularly and got great information. i really like the tips you have given. thanks a lot for sharing. will be referring a lot of friends

  2. I personally LOVE apple dump cake, but if you really want to kick it up a notch, try using a “spice cake mix” on top… it really makes for a great dump cake.

  3. What size Dutch oven do you recommend for baking? I have a larger castbiron Dutch oven that I use for my main dishes, but I’m looking to get a second one (smaller and taller) for desserts. I’m a Boy Scout leader and trying to expand my collection. Thanks for any help!

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