Dump it! Easy desserts for a trying time

By Beth Bower | August 31, 2020

We all have memories of a favorite dessert: Grandma’s warm cherry pie, Mom’s lopsided chocolate cake, Aunt Mae’s rainbow-layered Jell-O salad and our first soufflé that didn’t fall.
All good … but not necessarily quick or easy.
In these trying times, an old-fashioned “dump” recipe is the answer for those of us looking for a fast, delicious dessert that doesn’t require a slew of ingredients.
When I was kid, my parents entertained quite a bit and my mom was always looking for something I could make for her dinner and card parties.
She told me she invented the accompanying recipe for Peach Peek-A-Doo, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t. She wasn’t much of a creative cook. (And if she was around today, she’d say the same thing.) I’m sure she got if from a cooking show or a friend and renamed it. It’s been passed around in our family and to friends ever since as her recipe. It’s basically a dump cake.
Search “dump cakes” on the internet, and you’ll find plenty of recipes. The one thing they all have in common is they’re easy. My recipe calls for canned fruit, cake mix and butter. Not low in calories, but yummy.
The accompanying recipe for “impossible” pie is another kind of dump recipe. You dump the ingredients — including a baking mix such as Bisquick — into your blender, blend and then dump the batter over coconut in a pie pan. Voilà, you have a custard pie with crust on the bottom (thanks to the Bisquick settling) and toasty coconut on top. It came from the Gulf Shores Junior League cookbook, which has never let me down. The variation with Key Lime juice is just as good.
These recipes are both the kind of recipes you can make with grandchildren, nieces and nephews and not worry about making a mess or costing too much. The recipes may be old but the memories will be new.
Beth Bower is the writer/producer of “The Pie Way … Kansas Style” documentary featured on KPTS Channel 8 and author of The Pie Way cookbook.

Florence’s Peach Peek-A-Doo

  • 1-2 large cans sliced peaches, drained
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 2 8-oz. sticks of butter or margarine, melted

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray 13-by-9-inch cake pan. Dump peaches in pan, spreading to completely cover bottom of pan. Sprinkle unprepared cake mix over top of peaches, smoothing out. With the rounded end of a spoon, poke holes all over cake mix. Pour melted butter over cake mix, making sure it’s completely covered. Bake for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbly on top. Remove from oven, let sit 5-10 minutes to firm up. Serve with a scoop of ice cream or whipped topping.
Serves 8-10.
Variations: Sprinkle toasted pecan or walnuts over butter. Change the cake mix to white or French Vanilla cake. Use canned fruit other than peaches such as crushed pineapple or cherry pie filling, apricots or pears. You could even use fruit cocktail.


Kay’s Coconut Pie

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • ½ cup Bisquick (or other baking mix)
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 7-oz. package flaked coconut, sweet or unsweetened

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie pan. Pour coconut into the pan. In a blender, combine milk, sugar, Bisquick, eggs, butter and vanilla and blend on low for 3 minutes. 

Pour over coconut in pie pan. Let sit for 5 minutes before baking. Bake for 40 minutes until coconut is nicely browned. Serve at room temperature or cold.

Serves 6-8

Key Lime variation: Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup Key Lime juice to ingredients in blender. I’ve also experimented with lemon and orange juices and added ground nuts to the coconut.