For either baking novices or seasoned pros, a dump cake is a no-brainer. To prepare one, you simply dump the ingredients into a bowl and beat them, then pour the batter into a pan and bake it. Although a dump cake is easy to make, it’s just as good as a more fancy cake. Perhaps that’s why dump cakes, including pound cakes, have been popular for hundreds of years.
The secret to the cake is in properly beating the ingredients, so follow these tips. Let the butter soften and take the eggs out of the fridge to warm a bit. For an airy batter, beat the softened butter and sugar really well until the creamed mixture looks pale and wispy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until all the streaks are gone. Any curdling you might see will disappear as you beat. Turn off the mixer occasionally and scrape the batter at the sides of the bowl into the path of the beaters so everything gets thoroughly mixed.
Switch to low speed when you add the dry ingredients to keep the flour mixture from flying into the air. Since overbeating the flour can toughen a cake, beat only until the batter has no streaks. Stir in the chips by hand so the mixer does not break them.
Be sure the cake is done before you take it out of the oven. You can use either a cake tester, a thin metal wire with a knob on top, or a wooden pick. Gently push the tester into the middle of the cake and pull it out. If you see liquid batter on the tester, keep baking. If the tester comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven and let it cool. A silky-textured pound cake is rich and moist all by itself, so you don’t need to frost it. Just slice and enjoy!
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
With butter, lightly grease bottom and sides of 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 or 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. Dust with flour. Shake out excess flour. Set aside. With a sifter or mesh strainer, sift 1 1/4 cups flour together with the cocoa and salt into bowl or onto sheet of waxed paper. Set aside.
In large mixer bowl at medium speed, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla until thoroughly blended, at least several minutes. At low speed, gradually beat in reserved flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, beating just until blended and no streaks remain. Stir in chips. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
Bake in preheated 325ºF oven until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and cake tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 60 to 70 minutes for 9-inch pan or 75 to 85 minutes for 8 1/2-inch pan. (If tester shows dark brown, you’ve hit a melted chocolate chip. Test again in another spot. To prevent overbaking, remove cake from oven as soon as no light brown batter shows on tester.) Cool on wire rack 10 minutes. With narrow spatula or knife, loosen cake from pan. Gently shake onto wire rack. Cool completely. To retain moisture, store cooled cake in plastic wrap. Serve plain or topped with fruit, ice cream or whipped cream, if desired. Makes 1 loaf cake or 8 servings.