Recipe Review

I Tried Dolly Parton’s “Dump Cake” Recipe, and I’ll Never Make It Again

published Jun 28, 2024
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Dolly Parton's dump cake in shallow bowl with ice cream.
Credit: Kiersten Hickman

I love when recipes are an absolute hit. So you can imagine my frustration when a recipe I make doesn’t go well. And unfortunately, I had that experience recently with a Dolly Parton dump cake recipe that left me frustrated enough to write about it. 

According to the internet, Parton has her name on a lot of different dump cake recipe variations. However, the one I decided to test was one originally shared in a magazine. The recipe ingredient list seemed simple enough: yellow cake mix, crushed pineapple, pie filling, and butter. But the directions had me skeptical, wondering if anything like this could actually work. So I decided to give it a try.

Credit: Kiersten Hickman

How to Make Dolly Parton’s Dump Cake

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9×13” cake pan. Sprinkle a box of yellow cake mix at the bottom of the pan, spreading it so it’s evenly coating the bottom. Add a can of crushed pineapple (with juices), then spoon on cherry pie filling and blueberry pie filling. Add cubes of butter on top (or melt butter), then bake the cake in the oven for 45 minutes. Let it sit for 20 minutes before serving.

My Honest Review

Unfortunately, this recipe did not work. Instead of having the cake mix dumped on top of the fruit filling, the instruction said to put the cake mix on the bottom. With the fruit on top, then the butter, the cake didn’t end up forming or cooking all the way, leaving spoonfuls of uncooked dry cake mix at the bottom of the pan. The fruit at the top didn’t help to form any kind of cake, and the butter melted and pooled at the top without anywhere to go.

After letting the cake sit for 20 minutes, the cake congealed into a purple mush that resembled pudding more than cake. Sure, there were some tiny cooked cake bits that were tiny little morsels of hope, but they weren’t big enough to call this a cake, or to even look appetizing to eat. The cake tasted decent (in the rare occasions you weren’t getting a mouthful of dry mix), but you can’t really go wrong in taste if the ingredients are canned fruit and butter. But it just didn’t work as a cake, so I have to be honest and say this recipe just wasn’t that good.

Tips for Making Dolly Parton’s Dump Cake

  • Add the cake mix on top: Instead of adding the cake mix to the bottom of the pan, a traditional dump cake would have you adding the fruit first, then the cake mix on top. This will help to evenly cook the cake mix with the butter and actually create a cake, rather than dry pockets of uncooked mix.
  • Or layer the cake: You could also try the method of layering the dump cake: fruit, cake mix, then butter, then back to fruit and follow the same steps. This helps to spread out the cake mix so you don’t have those dry pockets, and will create more of a cake structure.
  • Cook it for longer: I think this recipe could have benefited from a longer time in the oven, allowing for the cake to get golden-brown and crispy. Mind you, the cake didn’t really exist for this particular dump cake, given that it didn’t form at the bottom of the dish. But with the proper mixing and layering it should form, and you want golden crispy cake pieces rather than a mushy mess, right?