Best Small Group Food Ideas: Dump Cake

My small group enjoys starting our time together in conversation while eating some snack foods. We rotate responsibility for bringing snacks to our gatherings. This ensures a variety of foods and keeps it from being a burden on any one member. Some weeks the snack foods are closer to being a meal than a snack. But every week the food is great and naturally stimulates a relaxed, fun atmosphere.

One week we discovered shortly before the meeting that snacks weren’t coming.  Our host didn’t miss a beat and pulled out some chips and had a peach cobbler dump cake in the oven in only a few minutes. Shifting the snack time to a convenient time in the middle of our meeting allowed the dump cake to bake. We all enjoyed a delicious snack and warm conversation that evening.

What’s a Dump Cake?

You haven’t made a dump cake before? Basically it’s an easy dessert you create by dumping a few ingredients, usually using a cake mix and fruit filling,  into a pan and baking it in the oven.

There are many dump cake recipes to be discovered in cookbooks and online.

What Makes It Great?

The best foods for small group share these characteristics:

  • Inexpensive
  • Quick preparation
  • Easy cleanup
  • Tastes great

How does the dump cake stack up against this criteria?


Many of the dump cake recipes are made with as few as 3 ingredients. The video recipe shown below requires only 4 ingredients (5 if you serve it with ice cream). These are items you may already have in your refrigerator and pantry.

One recipe will serve as many as 12 people. Or 6 when everyone goes for a second helping!

Quick preparation

It only takes about 5 minutes to prepare the entire dish. The rest of the time it just sits in the oven to bake.

Easy cleanup

It uses one dish. Yes, one dish. You combine the ingredients in one dish. You bake it in that same dish. Then you serve it right from the oven.

Tastes great

When the great taste becomes part of the conversation and second helpings happen, those are good signs the recipe can be put in the tastes great category. In my experience, every time a dump cake was brought to a small group gathering it was a hit!

Try several versions of dump cakes for your small group gatherings. If you want a simple peach cobbler dump cake recipe to start with, try the recipe in this video:

Question: What is your experience making and eating dump cakes? What other foods are your favorites for small groups? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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