#27: Attempt a Paleo(ish) Dump Cake

This is part of our 100 Things in 2015 challenge. Here’s the full list.

As a grownup, one of Becky’s favorite things to do while camping was to make dump cake. She learned the technique at Girls’ Camp as a teenager, and it goes something like this:

  • Start with a dutch oven and a campfire
  • Dump some canned fruit into the dutch oven
  • Add a box of cake mix
  • Slice some butter on top
  • Cover, drop into the campfire, and wait until done

Becky had adapted this in a very specific way to great effect. For the fruit, she used a can of crushed pineapple, and a can of cherry pie filling, and sprinkled on top is an entire ½-cup stick of butter. The results are amazing. It’s worth lugging a dutch oven along on a camping trip just to make this.

However, with the dietary restrictions we’ve discovered in the last few years, the original recipe isn’t really an option. I can tell just by looking at those ingredients how I’d feel a minute, an hour, and a day after eating it. So we adapt again. Here’s what we did for a paleo-friendly version:

  • For the fruit, we brought frozen strawberries and peaches
  • We used a gluten-free, dairy-free cake mix
  • Ghee instead of butter, to sidestep the kids’ dairy intolerance

Here’s the result:

It wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Despite having frozen the fruit ourselves, there still wasn’t enough liquid to moisturize the cake mix, so the crust ended up dry. GF cake mix also tends to be very dense, so the liquid that was there didn’t soak in very far; one fix for this is to give it a stir, but then it’s not a true dump cake, is it? Also, we burned it.

Even with all that, the results were pretty good. The kids loved it, and everything that wasn’t burned got eaten. So we haven’t given up. We already have several camping trips scheduled for 2016, so watch for an improved version.

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