This month’s Recipe Redux theme is “food memories” for which we are grateful. Most of my best (and some worst) memories have food associated with them. Homemade lasagna, garlic bread, salad and cake were served every single birthday to a party of my family. I was always grateful to spend my special day with the people who loved me so much, enjoying a meal made specifically for the occasion. But I’m not making lasagna for you today. Today is a different memory, which I’ve made healthy. I hope you enjoy it!
Since kindergarten, I have an active Girl Scout. Yep – I sold cookies to the neighbors, earned badges and patches, did a ton of crafts, and even earned the Girl Scout Gold Award in my senior year of high school. As an adult, I volunteer my time at Girl Scout activities, and led a girls at day camp for years. More importantly, I’m grateful for all that Girl Scouts has done for me – being a member and now volunteer, I’ve gained many important life skills, professional abilities, lifelong friends and even some forms of cooking!
In fact, day camp is where I learned many unconventional cooking techniques: making s’mores in a foil-lined box, cooking mini cakes in orange peels, making lasagna in a dutch oven surrounded by hot coals, stirring up “bug juice” for us to drink, and even baking dump cake over a fire!
In its simplest form, dump cake is just that: a few sweet ingredients dumped into a pot and baked. Boom, done. A perfect solution for when you’re out camping and craving something warm & sweet. Unfortunately, it’s also very unhealthy. Traditionally made with boxed cake mix, canned pie filling and a stick of butter, there are all sorts of chemicals, fat and sugars involved.
A homemade whole wheat cake mix ensures no added chemicals or preservatives, while increasing the healthy side at the same time. Stovetop pie filling will taste fresh, instead of “tinny,” and you can easily adjust the sweetness level. And replacing the stick of butter with just few tablespoons of coconut oil is an obvious health boost – less fat overall, and only good fats used!
So let’s leave the traditional dump cake for actual camping, and whip up this healthier version at home. Your family will thank you.
Healthy Apple Dump Cake
Apple Filling, adapted from Inside BruCrew Life
- 7-8 apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 C cornstarch
- 1/2 C organic brown sugar
- 1/2 C maple syrup (or honey if not strictly vegan)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 4 C water
Whole Wheat Cake Mix, adapted from Your Cup of Cake
2 1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 C organic cane sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C powdered milk (non-dairy of choice)
- 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 C walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)
Let’s start with the apple filling. The cooking portion is pretty easy, but it takes some time to come together. First, peel and chop your apples. This took me about 20 minutes for all 8 apples. Keep them in a bowl with the lemon juice as you progress.
In a large pot, mix together the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir in the syrup and water. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Stir in the apples and bring back up to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to medium-low and let cook for 13 minutes.
Remove from the stove, take off the lid, and let the apple filling cool completely, about two hours. The sauce will thicken in this time.
As for the cake mix, combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisking together to avoid clumping. Confession: I used powdered dairy milk in this mix, but any non-dairy variety will work just as well!
Now to put it all together! Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13″ baking dish with olive oil spray or melted coconut oil.
Dump cooled apple filling into the pan. Sprinkle the whole wheat cake mix evenly on top to cover completely. Drizzle melted coconut oil all over the top of the cake mix. Sprinkle chopped nuts all over as well, if using.
Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes, uncovered. Place a large baking sheet on the rack below the cake, to catch any bubbled-over apple gooeyness. Let cool 10-15 minutes before serving and devouring.
Serve hot with ice cream, whipped cream, or as-is! This also tastes amazing as cold leftovers the next day. Simply store any remaining dump cake in the fridge, covered with foil.
(Please note that this is a closed link-up for Recipe ReDux posts only. Any links added to this collection for non-ReDux posts will be deleted.)