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Week 34: Black Forest Earthquake Cake

October 27, 2012 by Nina Spezzaferro

Traditionally this type of cake is called a “dump cake”. I was lamenting to a friend that I couldn’t give my cake such a hideous title and he informed me his mom called this type of cake an “earthquake cake”. Doesn’t that sound SO much more appetizing than a dump cake? Hence, this is an earthquake cake.

Making a dump/earthquake cake is incredibly easy and very satisfying. The formula is simple. You “dump” a can (or two, depending on the size of your pan) of pie filling into the bottom of a lightly sprayed pan. On top of the pie filling, You sprinkle raw cake mix and on top of that you pour a stick or two of melted butter (again, this depends on the size of your pan). The drawback is that the finished product isn’t very pretty and resembles a crumble rather than a cake.

I searched far and wide for the BEST dump cake recipe and happened upon AllRecipes’ Black Forest Dump Cake II. The recipe calls for 1 (16.5 ounce) can pitted dark sweet cherries. I could find no such canned, dark cherries, so I eliminated them. Here’s my mise en place.

A few notes on my ingredients. I didn’t end up using that second stick of butter. And I used about 2/3 of the boxed cake mix. The cherry pie filling is lite, because when presented with the option to cut calories on a simple ingredient, I take it.

The first step was to give the pan, I was using a 9″ x 9″ pan, a light spritz of cooking spray. I then spread the cherry pie filling in the bottom of the pan.

Next I sprinkled about 2/3 of the butter chocolate cake mix on top of the cherries. On top of that went the cup of chopped walnuts.

On top of all that, I drizzled a stick (1/2 cup) of melted butter and really tried to cover all areas.

This baked in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. I think the baking time is really a matter of preference. By the way, this smells HEAVENLY when it’s baking in the oven. I let it cool maybe 10 minutes before digging in.

See, I told you it wasn’t pretty, but it tasted DELICIOUS. The combination of butter chocolate flavored cake mix and butter produced a brownie batter type of flavor. Yum! This would have been great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some whipped topping. Unfortunately, I didn’t have either on hand.

I stored this cake in the fridge, though I’m sure you probably don’t need to store it there. The honest truth is I was hiding it from my boyfriend, because I knew he was less likely to notice it in the fridge than out on the counter. I’m horrible, aren’t I? Hoarding and hiding cake in the fridge. I tried a generous helping the next day fresh out of the fridge and came to the discovery that I preferred this cake chilled (and not shared).


  1. Aunt Silly says:

    Your earthquake cake looks and sounds so yummy! Wise to hide and hoard!

    I can hide almost anything from Uncle Allan by putting it behind something on the shelf or not storing it at his eye level. Given his height, just about all food is hidden! :p

  2. […] in that you dump the ingredients into the pan and bake it. However, as I explained in my Black Forest Earthquake Cake post, a “dump cake” sounds so unappetizing. Therefore, this is an earthquake cake. […]

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