Apple Dump Cake is an easy dessert that combines gooey cinnamon apples with a buttery crunchy topping. Made totally from scratch using fresh apples and a homemade cake mix, this recipe is a more nutritious take on a classic favorite. Enjoy it warm topped with some ice cream or milk for an irresistible treat that is sure to be a crowd pleaser!
It’s apple season again and that means we get to enjoy making all of our most loved apple desserts! And in my opinion, that is one of the best things about Fall.
This apple dump cake is my current favorite. It’s easy to make, uses simple ingredients and is so delicious.
There is something about the warm, gooey cinnamon apples combined with the crunchy buttery topping that just makes it quite addictive!
What is a Dump Cake?
Dump cakes are similar to a fruit cobbler, but they are typically made by dumping fruit or pie filling into a baking dish, topping it with dry cake mix and butter, and then baking it.
Obviously, this creates a super quick and easy dessert! And as a result, dump cakes have become quite popular.
Why Make Apple Dump Cake from Scratch?
Even though I definitely am a fan of quick and easy, I still prefer to make my dump cakes from scratch by using fresh apples and a homemade cake mix.
- It’s cheaper. Store-bought cake mix and pie filling cost more than making your own cake mix topping and buying fresh apples.
- It’s healthier. Both cake mix and bought pie filling typically have lots of sugar in them, not to mention food additives and preservatives. Making your dump cake from scratch allows you to control the amount of sugar that goes into the dessert and avoid odd ingredients.
- It’s convenient. You probably don’t always have a cake mix on hand. But you most likely will have the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt that it takes to make your own homemade cake mix topping!
- It tastes better. I personally think this from scratch dump cake tastes better too, so that’s also a win!
Yes, it takes just a tad longer, but I promise you, it’s still very easy!
Watch Video: Learn How to Make This Recipe
Apple Dump Cake Recipe Ingredients
- Vanilla Extract
- Baking Powder
How to Make Apple Dump Cake from Scratch
STEP ONE: Combine cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and vanilla; add to apples and mix well. Spread into a greased 9×13 baking dish.
STEP TWO: Using the same bowl, make the dump cake topping by combining the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour over top of the apple mixture and spread it out evenly.
STEP THREE: Pour melted butter all over the top of the cake.
STEP FOUR: Bake at 350º for 45 to 50 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned.
ENJOY! You can eat the apple dump cake warm or cold. It’s delicious as is, but is extra amazing topped with milk, ice cream, or Cool Whip (this homemade version is easy and so good!).
Expert Tips and Suggestions:
- Best Apples: Almost any apple will work in this recipe, but less tart baking apples are going to give you the best flavor and texture. Honey Crisp, Gala and Cortland are some of my favorites.
- Spread the Topping: Make sure that you spread the topping evenly over the apple mixture before you pour the melted butter onto the cake. Also, try to get the butter over as much of the surface of the cake as possible. This will help the topping get nice and crunchy.
- Add Pecans: Some people like to add ½ to ¾ cup of chopped pecan to the top the last 10 minutes of baking.
- Subbing Apple Pie Filling: For convenience, instead of the apple mixture you can use 2 can of apple pie filling. This won’t be as healthy, but it is handy if you are in a pinch and want a speedier dessert.
- Caramel Apple Dump Cake: When ready to serve, drizzle caramel syrup over the top for a fun variation.
- Ice Cream: If you serve this with ice cream, vanilla is our favorite. But butter pecan or a caramel flavored ice cream pair nicely too.
- How to Store: If you have leftovers, you can keep them at room temperature for 1 to 2 days. After that, you’ll need to refrigerate the Apple Dump Cake. You can easily reheat any leftovers if you prefer to eat it warm.
Other Dessert Recipes You’ll Love:
Apple Dump Cake Recipe- made from scratch!
- 5 cups apples, peeled and cut into 1 in. pieces
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 1/3 cups flour
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 to 1 cup butter, melted (see Notes below)
- Combine cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and vanilla; add to apples and mix well. Spread into a greased 9×13 baking dish.
- Using the same bowl, make the topping by combining the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour over top of the apple mixture and spread it out evenly.
- Pour melted butter all over the top of the cake. Tilt the pan if necessary to get the butter to cover as much of the surface of the cake as possible.
- Bake at 350° for 45 to 50 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned.
- Eat warm or cold as is or serve with milk, whipped cream or ice cream.
- Drizzle caramel syrup over the top when ready to serve for a Caramel Apple Dump Cake.
- You can top the cake with ½ to ¾ c. chopped pecans. I would wait to add them until the last 10 minutes of baking to keep them from getting burnt.
This may be a silly question, but instead of adding more butter, could I simply mix it with the dry ingredients like a streusel topping and sprinkle it on top like that?
Hmm…I’m not sure if that would work or not. I’ve only ever seen dump cakes made with this method. But it might work because you are right, the ingredients are what you would find in a streusel. If you try it, I’d love to know how it worked!
Hi Lydia, I’m making this recipe right now and the butter covering looked almost identical to your pictures, for me. But as it’s baking, some of the flour and dry ingredients are just sitting there dry. Is it safe to eat if not all of the dry ingredients got mixed in with the butter?
Yes, it’s totally safe as there is no raw egg or anything that would be a problem. It’s just a lot more delicious if the butter can mix in with the flour mixture and make it delightfully crunchy. If you make it again, you can try to really smooth out the topping so the butter spreads over it all a bit more or if all else fails, you can add a bit of extra melted butter. I hope you enjoy it, Luana!
I made this and it was great. Can I double the amount of apples and keep everything else the same?
Happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipe, Roger! I think you could probably double the apples, but you would need to put the recipe in 2 pans then. My biggest concern would be that the topping will get done before the apples are soft since there will be less topping in each pan if that makes sense. But you can definitely feel free to experiment with it!
Hi 👋. Have you ever made this a day before it will get baked?
Hi Jessica! I don’t think that would actually work very well as the apples wouldn’t hold up nicely and the topping would get soggy. Am alternative would be to make it the day before and then reheat it to enjoy it warm. Or you could also do the following. Mix the apple mixture together, put it in a Ziploc bag and then freeze it. Then mix up the dry ingredients of the topping and have them all ready to go. On the day of, pull the apple mixture out of the freezer about 15 minutes before you want to bake it. Onc very slightly thawed (about 15 minutes), pop the apples out of the bag and gently break the pieces apart and try to arrange them in an even layer in the baking dish. Then add the topping, melt your butter and add it and bake as usual. I frequently freeze the apples like this just to make it easy to have a quick dessert later. It works really well and you’d never know they had been frozen!
Hey Lydia, do you think you could make this gluten free? I have never used gluten free flour and wouldn’t know what to use, but I was just thinking it might still work with some other type of flour. My mother in law is gluten free so I wondered if I could make it so she can eat it.
Yes, I think this can easily be made gluten-free, Carol! I don’t have much experience with gluten-free flour either, but I have a sister-in-law that bakes using only gluten-free flour and she has always recommended Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 baking flour. It can be used in place of flour in any non-yeast recipe. I’m sure there are other brands that are the same but I do know that is one that is good. The other thing to watch is baking powder as it can sometimes contain gluten. A quick check of the label should tell you if it’s a problem or not. I hope that helps!
I’ve been gluten free for years now and I’ve been able to make any and every recipe I find gluten free just by using gluten free all purpose for instead of the regular stuff. You can find it anywhere, even Walmart. Use equal parts as recipe calls for no adjustments needed.