By Jan Kenney

Dumped for Valentine’s Day?

Despite its dubious name, a dump cake is an impressive, delicious and satisfyingly simple-to-make dessert that, if you can open a can, you can master. Dished out (with dollop of vanilla ice cream, of course) the deep carmine color of the cherries makes this a great dessert to serve for Valentine’s Day — and it tastes fabulous with a piece of dark chocolate on the side.

This recipe is forgiving and versatile: instead of cherry pie filling use blueberry; use any kind of nuts you like, or none at all; leave out the coconut; try a chocolate cake mix; instead of pineapple, Mandarin orange slices would be delicious. The original recipe is so good you might be tempted to stick with it, but I’ve never made one that wasn’t delicious!

Don’t get too hung up on precise measurements either. As long as you have close to five cups of fruit on the bottom, a package of cake mix and the sticks of butter, your results will be fine. The nuts and coconut are all optional and the amounts adjustable from a handful to the full cup that’s called for in the recipe.

Because of its simplicity, this is an excellent dessert to make with kids. Gather the ingredients, open the cans and let them dump, stir, and sprinkle — and, of course, sample when it is all done!

Dump Cake

1 #2 can cherry pie filling (2 1/2 cups or 20 ounces)

1 #2 can crushed pineapple

1 package of yellow cake mix (or maybe chocolate for Valentine’s)

1 cup of coconut

1 cup of chopped almonds

2 sticks of melted butter or margarine

Heat oven to 325º.

Grease a 9” x 13” pan (or line with parchment paper). Dump in pie filling. Dump in pineapple, juice and all. Distribute uniformly around pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over the fruit mixture evenly. Toss on the coconut and nuts. Drizzle the melted butter over the top of everything.

Bake for 70 minutes.

Let cool and enjoy while its still warm, and again when it is cool! Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.