If there’s one thing that can wow your friends and family when camping, it’s a Dutch oven dessert. Here’s everything you need to know to master a classic recipe that you may have seen our guides whip up on the river—pineapple upside-down cake.
2 boxes of yellow cake mix
⅔ cup vegetable oil*
2 cup water (or milk for denser cake)*
½ stick of butter
¾ cup brown sugar
1 20-oz can of pineapple rings
1 jar maraschino cherries
*Follow the vegetable oil, water/milk and egg requirements on the cake mix brand of your choice and double
Serves: 12 | Recipe can be doubled for bigger groups
Dutch Oven Dessert: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
You’ll need a 6-quart (12″) Dutch oven with feet, tongs, measuring cup, mixing bowl, whisk, pair of thick gloves or oven mitt, bag of charcoal, lighter, a charcoal chimney starter and a fire pan or aluminum foil. If you don’t have a charcoal chimney starter, you can light the coals in a campfire ring or alternate fire-safe area.
1) Light approximately 24 coals (for baking, you’ll generally need two times as many coals as the diameter of your Dutch oven).
2) Once your coals are ready, use tongs to carefully place 8 coals on a fire pan or piece of foil in a wide-open area. Set your Dutch oven on top of the coals to preheat.
3) While your oven is preheating, mix together the ingredients for the cake (vegetable oil, water/milk and eggs) according to the instructions on the boxes and set aside.
4) Melt butter in the bottom of your preheated Dutch oven and add brown sugar. Stir until moistened and remove from heat.
5) Evenly place pineapple rings over the brown sugar on the bottom of the Dutch oven and brown for a minute. Then, place a maraschino cherry in the middle of each of the pineapple rings.
6) Carefully pour cake mix over the top of the pineapple and cherries, cover with lid and return to heat. Then, place 8-12 more coals evenly over the lid.
7) Keep covered. When you smell cake, approximately 35-40 minutes later, it’s ready to check. The cake is done when a knife poked into the center comes out clean.
When you’re ready to serve, cut the cake into slices and add a dollop of whip cream. Then, get ready for a barrage of compliments from a bunch of happy campers.
Dutch Oven Cooking Tips
Dutch oven cooking can take some practice to perfect, and often will require some fine-tuning in the field. To help you out, we’ve put together a few Dutch oven pro tips so your next camping meal will not only be easy, but delicious too.
Photos: Jono Slade