The ridiculously easy, delightfully delicious gluten free apple dump cake does have a terribly unfortunate name. So-called because all you do is “dump” the ingredients into a pan and pop it in the oven, it's the very essence of quick & easy—whether you use my make-your-own gluten free vanilla cake mix recipe or an actual off-the-shelf boxed gluten free vanilla cake mix.
Since it's apple season, we'll pile in the chopped apples and add plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg. That's pretty much all it takes to make your house smell like an autumn dream come true!
The method for making this gorgeous, simple cake is just a little bit different than, say, my blueberry dump cake.
Here, we have to make sure that the chopped apples are perfectly tender, but without turning to mush. The secret's in raising the oven temperature a bit to 350°F, tossing the fruit with a bit of the cake mix, and covering the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil for the first half hour of baking time. That allows the apples plenty of time and steam to cook perfectly, and the bit of flour helps keep the apples from releasing too much thin liquid that is more likely to burn. It works!
The only part that might take you a few minutes of prep (but no more than 10 minutes—really!) is peeling, coring and chopping the apples. I like to use a simple apple corer (aff. link) to remove the cores first, then a basic vegetable peeler (aff. link) to remove the peel. Then a rough chop of the apples, and you're ready to go. Start with large apples if you can, since they're easy to core and peel.
You can even prepare the cake ahead of time, cover with plastic wrap and store it, unbaked, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before baking. The apples will turn brown, but it doesn't matter one bit as we'll expect them to brown in the oven.
Quick and Easy Gluten Free Apple “Dump” Cake
3 cups (about 600 g) peeled, cored and chopped baking apples (Cortlandt, Granny Smith, Empire, Gala and Braeburn are all excellent) (from about 4 large apples)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
16 ounces gluten free vanilla cake mix
9 tablespoons (126 g) unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) buttermilk (or milk), chilled
Whipped cream, for serving
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch x 12-inch (or 9-inch square) baking dish, and scatter the chopped apples in an even layer in the bottom. Add the ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg, and 2 tablespoons of the cake mix, and toss to coat. Spread the apples into an even layer, and set the dish aside.
Place the remaining cake mix in a large bowl. Using a standard grater, grate the chilled butter into the cake mix and, using your clean hands, toss to coat the butter in the cake mix. Break up the lumps that form in the grated butter until the mixture is uniform and looks like very coarse sand. Scatter the butter and cake mix mixture in an even layer on top of the chopped apples. Pour the chilled buttermilk evenly over the top. Sprinkle the top of the cake very lightly with ground cinnamon.
Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil, place it in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil, return the cake the oven and bake until the apples are tender and the top is puffed and lightly golden brown (about another 15 minutes for the 9-inch x 12-inch pan, 20+ minutes minutes for the 9-inch square pan). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before serving with a dollop of whipped cream and a very light sprinkling of ground cinnamon.
Adapted from my recipe for Gluten Free Blueberry “Dump” Cake.