Food, Cooks and a Berry Dump Cake!

I have been surrounded by lots of good cooks. My grandmother has been gone for 13 years and people still talk about her dressing, also known as stuffing by the non-Southerner. Now my mom’s dressing is good, but she will admit that grandmother was the champion. My mother cooks lots of good things. My favorite is her chicken ‘n dumplings. I used to get them for my birthday and if I went there for my birthday, I’m sure she would make them for me. Because their birthdays are only two days apart, my niece and my dad celebrate their birthdays together every year. My mom makes a huge pot of chicken ‘n dumplings. This past year my niece posted a picture and said, “I know everyone thinks their grandma makes the best dumplings, but mine really does!” I agree so much that I don’t eat anyone else’s!


I married into a family of good cooks.My mother-in-law was an outstanding cook. We shared many recipes through the years. She often tried something new when we visited and now that she is gone, I really treasure those recipes. One of our favorites is Cheesy Chicken and another one that we love is her baked beans. I’ve shared both recipes often. I am thankful for a legacy of good cooks who passed it on to me. I am not nearly as good a cook as any of these ladies but they instilled in me a love for cooking and hospitality. I am thankful for that legacy.

Hospitality is important. I can still hear my dad saying to a guest, “We don’t have much but whatever we have you can have all you want.” Hospitality has nothing to do with how rich you are or how big or fancy your house is. It is a heart matter. It is an attitude of sharing what you have willingly, graciously, and gladly. By the standards of the community I live in, my house is average. But it is nicer than probably 95% of the houses people in the rest of the world live in. Think about that and think about the fact that a lot of people, children included, will go hungry today. Then, be thankful and hospitable.

I’m always looking for something new to try especially with berries. Rachel and Jonathan both love berries. I keep blueberries, blackberries and raspberries in my freezer to use year round but they had blackberries and raspberries on sale a the grocery yesterday so I wanted to try something different for Saturday breakfast.

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I make “Dump Cake” to take to dinners and often when I am provided for bereavement or new baby dinner. It is versatile and can be used as a dessert, a snack or for breakfast. My traditional recipe uses a can of cherry pie filling and crushed pineapple. I decided I could make a different version using blackberries and raspberries. This is the finished product.

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It is called dump cake for a reason. You literally dump in a pan. Now, if you aren’t much on cooking or don’t really like it but want to show some hospitality to others, this is the recipe for this one:

4 cups blackberries and raspberries, rinsed & drained

Sugar to taste (I used 1/4 cup)

1 box butter yellow cake mix

1 stick butter melted (or more!)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray. I use a glass dish. Combine berries with sugar and mix. Spread on bottom of 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle cake mix evenly over berries. Break up in lumps.  Melt butter and pour evenly over top covering all of the dry mix. I usually have a few dry spots but it works out fine.

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Bake for 25 – 35 minutes or until it beings to turn golden brown. I cooked for 30 minutes.

You could use one or the other or mix in blueberries or use blueberries. I did not use in other spices but you could add some cinnamon, allspice or nutmeg.

This is my traditional dump cake recipe.

1 can crushed pineapple

1 can cherry pie filling

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup pecans, chopped

1 box yellow butter cake mix

1 cup butter melted.

Dump or layer in 9 x 13 caking dish and bake for 50 minutes at 350.  Same as the other dump cake.

Both are really yummy and a great as a dessert with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream!  Easy peasy as Rachel would say!  In fact, I think she can help me make this one day! And I am thankful to be able to share recipes and the love of cooking with her and you!

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