|Dump Cake Personified|
My friend Knotty blogged recently about the Dump Cakes cookbook and the diva who is eating her way to the bank on the backs of all those who cannot resist a quick comfort food fix. Count this as one more metaphorical train wreck from which I could not avert my eyes. I didn't buy the book, but I had no choice but to read all about it.
As Knotty so aptly pointed out, Ms. Cathy Mitchell looks the part of the Dump Cake Diva. Had there been a police lineup featuring a as many as a thousand frumpy hausfraus, I would've rooted her out in less than a minute. She is herself the veritable personification of the dump cake, if such a thing is possible.
Why would anyone want to make or eat a dump cake? I can ask the question with perspective, as I once ate about three bites of a dump cake that my own mother, in a fit of schizophrenia, PMS, or some related malady, concocted one wintry afternoon. I typically would not touch, much less eat, such a monstrosity, but my dad was feeling especially spendthrifty that day. He offered me one hundred dollars if I could consume three bites of the vile mixture, which looked to me to be midway between witch's brew and human barf, without myself throwing it up. This went down at a time when I was not earning much money. I plugged my nose, bit the bullet so to speak, and took three bites of the dump cake. It was bad, though I've tasted worse, and I was immediately one hundred dollars richer as a result.
Under ordinary circumstances, eating anything like dump cake would be practically against my religion. I don't like casseroles, and a dump cake is most certainly the dessert equivalent to the Satanic invention so benignly dubbed "the casserole." Food should not touch. Veggies, if one must eat them, go on one section of a plate. Fruit goes on another. Rice or potatoes have another spot still, and meat occupies its own. Never the twain, or, for that matter, any of the foods, shall meet. Period. End of discussion. I don't even eat cheeseburgers because I would never allow my burger to touch my cheese. If fine china came with raised dividers similar to those on cafeteria trays, that is the china for which I would register if I ever had occasion to register for china.
My mom's dump cake consisted of yellow cake mix, butter, thawed frozen apricots, pecans, and club soda. In retrospect, though I spewed forth venomous words to the contrary at the time, my mother's prized dump cake is not even on my Donner Party List. I'd choose the fruity baked disaster over the late Tamsen Donner's leg in a heartbeat.
If I haven't yet sold you on the lack of necessity for ownership of Dump Cakes, please stay with me for just one more minute, in which I shall demonstrate to you that you have no need of such a compilation, as you already possess the innate knowledge to make every dump cake of which The Dump Cake Diva could possibly conceive. Just follow my simple formula and use your imagination.
The formula is as follows: 1 dry cake mix + 1 half-cup of a fat source + 1 one fruit/pudding/nut/jello component +, if you're feeling especially adventurous, 8 to 12 ounces of a bubbling libation. Trust me: the formula will yield, for all intents and purposes, the same result every time. You do not need to invest in a tree-genocidal volume; what you concoct will be just as tasty (which isn't saying a whole hell of a lot) and every bit as authentic as a dump cake product as if The Dump Cake Diva had recorded it herself by dipping an ostrich feather into blueberry juice to pen the recipe.
Example: Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Pour 2 cups or sliced fresh or frozen strawberries into a Pyrex dish. Pour one dry white cake mix over strawberries. Top the strawberries with one cube of melted butter, minus one tablespoon, and pour 1/3 cup of champagne or sparkling wine evenly over mixture. Top with 1/4 cup toasted coconut. Bake at 350 degrees. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired, and serve while warm.
I just came up with that recipe off the top of my head. I'm sure it's not good, but it's probably not a whole lot more bad than anything you would likely fine in The Dump Cake Diva's book. Donate the money you will save by not buying the book either to the Red Cross, or, if you have a problem with the Red Cross, forward the cash to me personally. I promise not to complain.
Edited to add my testimony that my formula for dump cake is THE one true dump cake recipe on the face of the Earth, and that all other dump cake recipes are imposters that are inspired of, by, and for Beelzebub himself. In the name of cheese and mice, amen.