Rhubarb dump cake is an inelegant (read: gross) name for a dessert as delicious as this one.
And guess what? It takes barely five minutes of active time to put together! Even if you’re baking-inept you can totally make this successfully. You don’t even need to stir anything or dirty a bowl! (Life’s better with fewer dishes to wash.)
Dessert doesn’t get any easier unless you buy it at the grocery store. You literally just layer all the ingredients in a baking dish, pop it in the oven, chill it for a bit, then serve.
And maybe cry a little bit because it’s just.that.good. I mean, is it even summer if you don’t bake with rhubarb at least once?
Why you’ll love this rhubarb dump cake:
- It doesn’t even take five minutes to assemble
- No mixer necessary!
- It’s unbelievably easy and anyone can make it successfully
What is rhubarb?
If rhubarb is new to you, let me explain a bit. Rhubarb is technically a vegetable and it kind of resembles red celery. But here’s the thing: while it’s technically a veggie, it’s legally a fruit. Confused?
Turns out in 1947 the U.S. Customs Court in Buffalo, NY, ruled that because rhubarb is typically used as a fruit (e.g. in sweet pies) it should be considered a fruit for tax purposes. (This meant rhubarb importers could pay less in tax since vegetables were taxed at a higher rate.)
So what does rhubarb taste like? It’s very, very sour. Unless you love sour things you really need to add some sugar to it. But under the sour is a really pleasant fruity taste that pairs really well with berries.
And in fact, rhubarb is delicious just cooked down in a saucepan with a little bit of sugar and nothing else. I use that to top yogurt and oatmeal—and often I just eat it by the spoonful.
Can I use other fruit in this dump cake?
YES! Making a rhubarb cake isn’t your only option. In my family this dessert is actually know as “dad’s fruit cobbler” and we usually make it with blackberries (it’s delicious).
Just swap in berries (or even pitted cherries) for some or all of the rhubarb—there’s no need to make any other changes. You could do strawberry-rhubarb or blackberry-raspberry or whatever else you can dream up. The possibilities are endless!
How to make rhubarb dump cake
I almost feel silly posting step-by-step pictures for this recipe because it’s so simple. But just in case it helps you to visualize, here you go.
- Start by arranging chopped rhubarb (you can use fresh or frozen) in a 13-by 9-inch baking dish.
- Sprinkle strawberry jello (or any red jello) over the rhubarb, then top with granulated sugar.
- Top with yellow cake mix (or white cake mix), then melted butter, then cold water.
- Bake for about an hour, until the fruit is bubbling.
You can serve this warm but it’s much easier to serve if you refrigerate it for a few hours to let the fruit set up.
And since this rhubarb dump cake lasts for several days in the fridge you can totally make it a day ahead. I actually think the flavor improves if it’s refrigerated overnight.
And there you have it: rhubarb dump cake. It really needs a different name. . .I think I’ll just refer to it as “the best thing ever.” Because it SO IS! If you’re a rhubarb lover you really need to try this sometime soon.
Did you make this rhubarb dump cake? Great! Let me know what you think with a comment and a rating below. And post a pic on Insta–tag @theitsybitsykitchen so I can see your creations!
This rhubarb dump cake is an easy dessert that anyone can make with success! It's a sure crowd-pleaser!
- 4 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb from about 15-16 ounces
- 3- ounce box strawberry jello or any red jello
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 15.25-ounce box white or yellow cake mix*
- 1/2 cup butter melted (salted butter is better here)
- 2 cups cold water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 13- by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Arrange the rhubarb in an even layer in the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle the jello over that, then top with the sugar.
- Sprinkle the yellow cake mix powder over all of that, then top with the melted butter and the cold water. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the top is lightly browned and the rhubarb is bubbling.
- It’s possible to serve the dump cake warm but it’s MUCH easier to serve if you chill it for a couple of hours, until it sets up a bit. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.
- Uneaten cake can be stored in the fridge, covered, for up to 4 days or frozen (tightly wrapped) for up to 2 months.
*I used Duncan Hines classic yellow