The Case For Adding Soda To Dump Cake

Dump cake, despite its misleading name, is a treasure. Not only because making it requires about the same effort as tying your shoe, but it's also incredibly delicious. Dump cake is cake made simple — and you can make it even easier by leaving out the leavening agents altogether and replacing them with carbonated soda. It sounds wild, but this is actually a multi-purpose, ingenious trick that cuts down on ingredients as well as steps: Adding soda provides the dump cake batter with sugar, typically all the needed liquid, and it's got leavening bubbles to boot — that's half a cake right there.

Soda has carbon dioxide bubbles that do precisely what baking soda or powder do. Carbon dioxide creates air in the batter and helps the cake rise; soda kills a few birds with one fizzy stone. You can, of course, assemble dry ingredients from scratch, but if you've got a box of cake mix and a can of soda, you got yourself a dump cake.

Dump rules

If you're familiar with dump cake, you know it's called that because that's exactly how it's made. You simply dump your ingredients into a baking dish and pop it in the oven — and with the power of science (and your favorite carbonated soft drink), you wind up with something decadent. It's important to know that you must honor the rules of the dump or face the consequences. Never stir the dump cake; doing so will knock out all the air bubbles, effectively destroying the carbon dioxide rise. This will result in a flat, mushy, and sad cake you'll want to dump right into the trash.

A general rule of thumb is that a standard box cake mix (or equal weight of dry ingredients) requires 12 ounces of soda. Some recipes may call for more or less. Baking a dump cake with soda may affect your recipe, so you might need to adjust the bake time or even the oven temperature to avoid the dreaded scorched top/raw middle outcome. Let your cake cool completely before enjoying it; it'll need time to set up after it's out of the oven. Waiting to dig in might be the hardest part of making any dump cake.