I’ve been on a box-cake baking  binge since I baked the Pistachio Cake in last month’s Culinary Capers, following it up with Ronnie Padmos’ dump cake and Melva Bonis’ vintage chocolate chip cookies.

Ronnie said her family loved the dump cake, which is made without a mixing bowl,  requires  only four ingredients (pie filling , whipped cream cheese, butter and a cake mix), and is scrumptious with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream or without. The Trenton resident said the cake can be made with any kind of pie filling or cake mix, but she likes cherry pie filling the best.   

A cross between a cake and a cobbler, dump cakes became popular in  the 1980s, with the first recipe reportedly appearing in a  Duncan Hines holiday recipe brochure.

 And speaking of Duncan Hines, Melva, who lives on Grosse Ile,  said she got her cookie recipe off a box of Duncan Hines cake mix 30 or 40 years ago, when her daughter, Amy, was about eight years old. And now Melva is baking the cookies for her granddaughter, Addison, too.  Although Melva says she seldom uses cake mixes,  she considers Duncan Hines chocolate chip recipe so outstanding that she no longer bakes any other chocolate chip cookie, not even Toll House.

While browsing the internet for other cake-mix recipes I stumbled on an intriguing one I’ve renamed Watergate Dump Cookies, with apologies to author Jill of The cake mix is dumped into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer    and beaten with five other ingredients. The cookies are delicious, and so quick and easy as well.


2 cans (21-ounces each) cherry pie filling

12-ounce carton whipped cream cheese

15.25-ounce box super moist yellow cake mix

1½ sticks butter, melted

Set oven at 350 degrees. Dump the pie filling into a 9×13-inch  baking dish, spreading evenly. Using two spoons, scoop out tablespoons of whipped cream cheese and dab, evenly spaced,  over pie filling. With a spatula or knife, lightly swirl the dabs of cream cheese into the pie filling without covering the pie filling completely.

 Combine the cake mix with the melted butter until crumbly, then sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the pie filling and whipped topping. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until golden brown, checking the last 5 or 10 minutes to avoid overbaking. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.


1 egg

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil

¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

15.25-ounce box Duncan Hines Classic White Cake Mix   

1 cup chocolate chips

¾ cup (generous) coarsely chopped walnuts

  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly beat egg and add oil, then stir in brown sugar, cake mix, chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto  parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until centers are golden brown and edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets about 1 minute, then remove to a rack to finish cooling.


15.25 box yellow cake mix

3.4-ounce box pistachio instant pudding mix

½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut 

½ cup chopped pecans

2 large eggs

½ cup canola oil 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cake and pistachio mixes, coconut, pecans, eggs and oil until combined. Scoop out portions of dough onto cookie sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned. Makes about 24 cookies.

DEAR READERS:  If you have a favorite box-cake or other kind of mix recipe, please consider sharing it with Culinary Capers readers at