When our oldest kids were younger, one of our favorite things to do in the summer was volunteering at the American West Heritage Center in Wellsville, Utah. We spent our time helping at the 1917 farmhouse, where visitors can experience what life was like during the World War I era. Our kids loved dressing up in period clothing, washing clothes by hand, gathering eggs, milking the cow (by hand!), and even working in the garden. Somehow, chores are always more fun when you’re wearing a costume.
Along with all of the chores and showing visitors the sights, one of the highlights of the farm were the farm lunches served to the volunteers each afternoon. All of the food was prepared using a wood fired cook stove, and for some reason, everything that came out of that old stove in that little farmhouse was just about the best thing we’d ever tasted. When the food was ready, we’d gather under the trees at a big wooden farm table and enjoy the shade and yummy home cooked food. The water was served from an old crock, which was filled by the hand pump near the garden.
Our kids loved those days.
One afternoon, after lunch had been cleaned up and visitors were slow, a friend and I sat around the little table in the farm house kitchen with one of the women who had been cooking on that stove for years. She shared some of her favorite recipes from the farmhouse and we eagerly copied them for future use. I treasure those simple, farm recipes, and make them from time to time in my own kitchen.
One of our very favorite recipes is the cherry “dump cake” I’m sharing today. Cobbler is a summer staple, but it always seems a little sugary sweet to me (and I can hold my own in the sugar department!) I always want to love it, but end up feeling a little sick afterward. However, this cobbler is the best I’ve ever had. The unusual addition of crushed pineapple mellows out the sweetness and oddly enough, doesn’t end up tasting like pineapple at all. Every time I serve this, it’s a hit.
Do yourself a favor and whip up this old-fashioned “dump cake”. Best served outside, around an old farm table under the trees. 1917 clothing, optional.
1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple, undrained
1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling
1 package (18.25 oz) plain yellow cake mix
12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
1/2 cup coconut (optional)
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional, but oh so yummy!)
Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon the pineapple evenly over the bottom of an ungreased 13-19 inch baking pan. Cover the pineapple with the cherry pie filling. Pour the dry cake mix evenly over the fruit mixture so that it reaches all the sides of the pan. Drizzle the entire pan with melted butter. Sprinkle the coconut and pecans evenly over the top of the cake. Place the pan in the oven.
Bake the cake until it is deep brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (about 55-60 minutes). Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
Spoon the warm dump cake into bowls, and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream before serving.
Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to one week.