Dump Vs Poke Cake: What's The Difference?

Hands stirring cake butter with spoon
Hands stirring cake butter with spoon - Dean Mitchell/Getty Images

If you're looking for an easy-to-make, simple-yet-flavorful cake, you've likely come across two types of recipes in your search: the dump cake and the poke cake. Both cakes are convenient and delicious, particularly for the amount of effort required.

These two types of cake both have fun-to-say names, but there are some differences -- it all comes down to preparation. A dump cake is dumped. A poke cake is poked. With the former, you dump a very small number of ingredients into your cake pan and throw it in the oven. With the latter, you make a still relatively simple cake and then, when it's baked, you poke the cake and brush or pour on a liquid substance to add extra flavor and moisture, then hide the holes with a topping or frosting. But which option is best for your next party or potluck? Here's what else you need to know.

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What's A Dump Cake?

Blueberry dump cake with spoon
Blueberry dump cake with spoon - Bartosz Luczak/Shutterstock

Traditionally, a dump cake is made by dumping a can of fruit or pie filling into a baking dish or cake pan. Next, you add a prepared box of cake mix on top. Then bake it all, for a cobbler-like dessert that's both cakey and moist. You can find many different dump cake recipes, but all of them keep the process and the ingredients list as simple as possible.

For example, this apple dump cake recipe uses only three ingredients: butter, vanilla cake mix, and apple pie filling. Similarly, this peach dump cake complicates things only slightly by adding some extra flavor to the canned peaches and boxed cake mix, via almonds, cinnamon, and vanilla. However, across the board, simple is the name of the game. So, if you have limited ingredients on hand, aren't super confident in your baking skills, or just want to level up a boxed cake mix, a dump cake might be for you. Just keep in mind that dump cakes typically take a bit longer to bake than an average cake mix — closer to 40–60 minutes.

What's A Poke Cake?

Cherry poke cake on plate
Cherry poke cake on plate - Bonchan/Getty Images

Poke cakes are only slightly more difficult to make, but they're also more impressive than dump cakes. Traditional poke cake recipes relied on a boxed cake mix for the base, liquid Jell-O to pour over the poked holes in the cake after baking, and then whipped dessert topping. The result, when you cut into the cake, is a pretty display of bright colors against a yellow or vanilla cake backdrop, for an aesthetically pleasing slice and an even distribution of flavors. However, if you're not keen on Jell-O, you'll be glad to know that the poke cake has evolved.

Now, while the process is more or less the same, the ingredients differ depending on your recipe. You can swap out the Jell-O for sweet, fruit-based syrups or pie fillings. Condensed milk is also a favorite for a particularly creamy, rich cake. With a little creativity and a bit of effort, a poke cake can impress.

Read the original article on Mashed.