Tag Archives: desserts

Dorothy Mae’s Dump Cake


Dorothy's Dump Cake

Dorothy’s Dump Cake

Yesterday was the anniversary of my grandmother’s death. And last night the girls made her dump cake. I had a spoonful of it this morning with my coffee. Because I could. And because she would have done the same thing if she were sitting in my kitchen.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. She was the matriarch of matriarchs and stories of her are family legends, likely to be embellished as the years pass on. She dressed me up and gave me my first memory of being “out on the town,” a dinner out where I tried very hard to keep my elbows off the table and then a drive across town to see the Nutcracker, beginning a holiday tradition that I keep with my mom and the girls today. A few years later she unapologetically sat me down on a stool in her kitchen, cracked open a Dr. Pepper, put a silver beautician’s cape around my neck, and permed my straight brown hair. She had an adventurous, if not a ornery and vivacious spirit that was contagious.

As fun-loving as she was, she was practical too. She taught me how to sew using her trusty Singer and hand needles, making use of scraps of material from one of her many ongoing projects. She taught me how to make soup in a gargantuan pot almost too big for the stove, using up just about everything in the refrigerator so nothing was wasted. In some small way, honoring her mother, my Maggie’s namesake, passing on skills she undoubtedly acquired from Grandma Maggie as a child during the depression.

She was frugal and free-spirited, knowing when to hold reserves and when to cash in chips and live a little. While my grandfather was still alive, they golfed and traveled and had dinner parties. And after he passed, she continued on in her ways, just as he would have wanted her to. She had a social life that always put mine to shame, playing bridge, golfing, and getting together with friends constantly. She was always in the middle of a good book, loved a good juicy mini-series, and would yell at the TV during football games. She was the life of the party when she wanted to be. She was also content playing a card game (or several) with us over a bowl of popcorn and her favorite iced tea. She took our quarters when we played for money and she would never let us win a tight game of gin if we did not beat her on our own. She did not like to lose; and rematches, called by her when she did lose, most often went her way. She had the nickname of “Mrs. Big,” and while I don’t know how she got it, it most certainly fit her large personality. She did not know a stranger, would give anyone the shirt off her back, and had no problem letting you know her opinion of something – even if you did not ask. She was a strong lady, proud of her Irish heritage and tolerant of the German she adopted through marriage. She was faithful and devout, kind and loyal, stubborn and gracious. Traits I see each and every day carried on in my girls and I am reminded that it was a privilege to be her granddaughter.

Dotty was always on the hunt for a new recipe to make for her bridge friends and this dump cake is one I remember her making all the time. She wrote it down on a recipe card that is now one of my favorite keepsakes. It makes me smile every time I thumb through it in my recipe box and if I stare at the writing long enough, I can almost see her sitting across the table penning it. It couldn’t be easier to make and the girls love to make it by themselves – another testament to the independent spirit she has passed on through generations. The boys just like to eat it. Warmed up with vanilla ice cream. And they like to make fun of the fact that it’s called dump cake. I wish she could be here to put the boys and their rude comments in their place, to watch the girls handling her recipe card and baking her cake, and to sit with me at the table playing cards and drinking iced tea, one last time.

Dump cake recipe card


Dorothy’s Dump Cake

1-20 oz can cherry, blueberry, or apple pie filling

1-20 oz can crushed pineapple

1 package yellow cake mix

1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup coconut (optional)

2 sticks melted butter


1. Spray 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.

2. Gently dump pie filling and pineapple into pan and mix together.

3. Dump Sprinkle cake mix on top of fruit mixture.

4. Dump Top with nuts and coconut.

5. Dump Drizzle with melted butter.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Or eat straight out of the pan with a fork with your morning coffee … Dorothy would have.





Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Simple truth #1:  It would not be fall without pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin tea, pumpkin ravioli (yes, I saw it in the store), pumpkin cake, pumpkin candles.  You name it, it’s out there.

Simple truth #2:  The best of the afore-mentioned pumpkin treats are these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Trust me.  The recipe is my moms.  She made them for us as kids and it wouldn’t be fall without them.  They are now a family favorite for my kids too.

Simple truth #3:  They are easy and yummy.  Make them once and you will be hooked. Your family and friends will love you forever for sharing them. I Promise.

Here’s your how to, Pumpkin.

First gather all your ingredients.  While you are gathering  – or hunting – for ingredients in your cabinets, set the oven to 375.  And grease or spray or parchment or Silpat your cookie sheets.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 cup of shortening

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 cup chocolate chips


Cream shortening and brown sugar together.  Then add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla.  Mix until well incorporated.  Stop to smell the roses.  I mean pumpkin.

In a separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients.  This is always a good job for little helpers.  If employing the help of those under 10 for this part,  ignore the mess on the counter…and floor… and dog.

Next fold in the chocolate chips.  Yes, that is likely more than 1 cup.  It’s all good.  And it’s always better with a little more chocolate, don’t you think?

Place rounded tablespoons of the gooey goodness on your greased cookie sheets a couple of inches apart and bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes – until the edges are golden brown.

Cool completely on wire racks.  Make more than you need.  They will disappear quickly.

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies


Emily recently attended a sports nutrition clinic that touted oatmeal cookies as one of many preferred carbohydrate snacks that are good for athletes to bring along to tournaments. “Good” from a sports nutrition standpoint because they are an example of “carbs that are fast and to last.”

Emily understood the sports nutrition part.

And seeing that it we were discussing a cookie, I understood the “good” part.

Not sure I’ve ever really met a cookie I didn’t like.

Except maybe one that involves coconut.

Feeling justified to bake something, we whipped up a batch of our favorite oatmeal craisin cookies to share with her volleyball teammates on a tournament weekend.  They are quick and easy which makes them especially “good.” You can substitute the craisins for either raisins or chocolate chips depending what variation of “good” you prefer.

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 package Betty Crocker Oatmeal Cookie Mix
  • 1 small box vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon water  (yes, the extra teaspoon makes a difference)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup craisins (or raisins or chocolate chips or whatever else you want to throw in)


1. Preheat oven to 325.

2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Drop rounded Tablespoons of dough on ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.

4. Bake 16 minutes or until light brown around the edges and middle is just set.

5. Once out of oven, let sit for 1 minute before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 2-3 dozen, depending on how large you make your cookies.  And how many are swiped from the cooling racks.