This Fall Cranberry Apple Dump Cake dessert recipe is a great way for home bakers to celebrate the fall season! This easy fall cake can be put together in just minutes. The best part? Dump cakes are perfect for those who have little baking experience or time on their hands, as they require no frosting or fussing with complicated layers. This delicious cake combines the autumn flavors of both cranberry and apple and contains just 5 ingredient items.
If you love easy-to-make recipes that use common ingredients that you might have in your pantry, this recipe is exactly what you need in your life this fall season. We used one cans of apple pie filling, one can of whole berry cranberry sauce, butter, and spice cake mix; the results were fantastic! Enjoy this dump cake warm, out of the oven with some fresh whipped topping, or vanilla ice cream for the BEST kind of easy treat!
Before starting this recipe, you’ll want to verify that you have the following ingredients:
- Canned Apple Pie Filling – One 20-ounce sized can is what you’ll need. I purchased ours from Aldi which was the best price around. It was pretty good and great amount of moisture to absorb some of the cake mix.
- Canned Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce – One 16-ounce can is all you need. I do suggest breaking it up with a fork since it will want to come out in one formed shape.
- 15.25-ounce Spice Cake Mix – This is the top layer of the dump cake. You may recall the box sizes being 18.25, but manufacturers recently cut back 3 ounces on mostly all national brands.
- Butter – You will need 12 tablespoons or 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter frozen for at least one hour for best results.
- Walnuts – Walnuts are optional and added a tasty crunch factor and enhanced these fall flavors.
Equipment and Supplies Needed
We used the following equipment and supplies to make this recipe. Items that are optional or can be substituted will be noted.
- 11 x 13 pan – to bake your dump cake in.
- Nonstick spray – to spray the inside of your baking pan. *optional
- Knife & cutting board – for slicing your butter pats.
- Rubber Spatula – to spread your ingredients.
- Can opener – to open any cans that might not have a tab.
- Oven – Adjusted to the center rack position to bake your dump cake in.
How to Get the Perfect Dump Cake
Ever make a dump cake that came out powdery and less than appealing? The reason being is because while this is called a dump cake, you really do need to do a little more than just dump it for best results.
After you add the spice cake mix over the apple-cranberry base layer, you will want to take your wooden spoon and gently pat the juices into the cake mix. This will help it absorb the initial liquid so it prevents a dry top layer.
Another way to get the perfect dump cake is to evenly distribute the butter pads. Some recipes call for melted butter over the top of a dump cake, but this tends to be problematic because many areas will be left without butter and will be “powdery” even after baking for one hour.
A great tip for the butter step is to freeze your butter for at least 1 hour before carefully slicing it into thin pats. Additionally, you can also grate your butter while frozen. This will allow you to evenly sprinkle the butter over the entire dump cake. By spreading the butter over the cake mixture, your cake will bake up evenly to a golden-brown, bubbly texture and will not be powdery or dry.
This Cranberry Apple Dump Cake would be delicious with the following variations or serving suggestions.
- Whipped Cream – Add a dollop of canned, or fresh real whipped cream or topping.
- Ice Cream – I love serving this with vanilla or vanilla bean ice cream.
- Candied Walnuts – This recipe is so delicious and helps to remove some of the “earthy” taste from plain walnuts. These would be delicious in-between the apple and cake mix layer.
Apples – You can also make this with homemade apple pie filling if you prefer to not use canned apples.
Cake Mix – If you prefer to not use spice cake mix, you can use golden vanilla, yellow, or white cake mix. This easy Apple Dump Cake uses yellow cake mix.
Butter – If you want to make this cake vegan, you can use butter substitute. Betty Crocker Delights Super Moist Spice cake is said to be vegan.
Cranberry Sauce – I have not tried this with jellied cranberry sauce but that would work but would not have as much texture.
If you want to store your Cranberry Apple Dump Cake simply follow the below instructions for best taste! While this recipe is best eaten the same day, warm out of the oven, you can enjoy it reheated.
Place any leftover dump cake in an airtight container with a lid once cooled. This will keep out any unwanted odors from ruining the flavor of the cake. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 day max for best taste and consistency. In my opinion, this is best tasting on day one when it it crunchy on top and has a cobbler-like texture, and taste.
If you want to prepare this in the morning before work for baking in the evening follow ALL the recipe instructions except for the baking step. Cover the cake tightly and store for up to 12 hours in the refrigerator before baking. Bake at the required temperature and time.
More Dump Cake Recipes to Try Today!
Fall Cranberry Apple Dump Cake
- 1 11 x 13 pan
- 1 oven (adjusted to the center rack position)
- 1 rubber spatula
- 1 can opener
- 1 cutting board & knife
- 20 ounces Canned apple
- 16 ounces Whole berry cranberry
- 15.25 ounces Spice Cake mix
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into thin pads
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 11 x 9 baker with nonstick spray.
- Dump the can of apples inside the greased pan. Spread with a rubber spatula.
- Use a fork to break up the whole berry cranberry sauce and spread it evenly over the apple layer.
- Sprinkle on cake mix over fruit layer, and gently pat into the wet mixture.
- Add sliced butter pats to the top of the cake evenly. Sprinkle on walnuts.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes. The top of the cake will be firm, bubbly, and golden brown.
- Serve warm and enjoy with ice cream or whipped topping.