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Road Trip 2011: Vermont Camping Fun & Dump Cake Fun!

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Road Trip 2011: Vermont Camping Fun & Dump Cake Fun!

Last weekend the boys and I bid farewell to Dave in Harrisburg headed up to the Stratton, Vermont area for some camping with my dear friend (and former college roommate) Megan and her son Aidan. Some mother/son bonding time was had by all :-)

We had a great time catching up -- we last saw Megan in 2008 and Aidan had grown up so much!  Literally, he must be a head taller than Jacob, and they're only about 3 months apart in age.

It was chilly and rainy most of the weekend. Every day the forecast called for clearing the next day, but then it remained drizzly and cloudy. Ugh! It cleared up our last evening there, and by then the firewood was too wet to burn.  Were it not for the lousy weather, I'd have called it a perfect weekend! The kids got along very well together.

Our trip to the Wanderlust Yoga & Music festival will be saved for another post, but for now here are some pictures of our camping trip, and then enjoy my semi-made-up dump cake recipe for the Dutch oven.

Our set up for 3 days.  No complaints about our tent or the temperatures.  At least it wasn't a cold rain.  The canopy was a godsend for  keeping the table dry for meals.

This is a white admiral butterfly fluttering near the fire ring.  Common in New England.

Jacob and Aidan were teaching Timmy how to play catcher.  We purposefully chose a tent site near a field so the boys could play baseball.  They played for hours all weekend...this was a game they were playing as soon as they woke up, they're in their pajamas still.

Our one and only hike at Townshend State Park, which was cut short due to the trail crossing a creek that was running so high and fast I didn't trust Timmy making it across.

Dave had the good camera, all of these camping shots were taken with my iPhone.

Since the hike was cut short, the boys could spend extra time skipping stones across the creek.

Since it was too wet to make a fire for the hot dogs, we used our camp stove.  Corn steaming on the left, dogs/brats and rice pilaf (cooking on the backpacking stove on the right) for dinner.

Now that you're drooling from our camp dinner, let's talk about what we did for dessert.

I had brought along my Dutch oven. I have a 10" Lodge footed Dutch oven with a brimmed lid.  I've owned it since 1997 or so, it's been great for Civil War reenacting meals and with enough care, I've been able to use it to cook on modern family campouts too.

Because of the lousy weather, Megan and I weren't sure whether we'd use the Dutch oven at all, but on Sunday at the grocery store, I quickly grabbed some cake mix and pie filling and decided to throw together an easy dump cake.

I recalled this popular dump cake recipe, which I'd seen variations of many times, so I brought it up on my iPhone while in the grocery store and did my best to remember the ingredients after I lost the signal.

Except I forgot about the pineapple.  That's okay, because we had strawberries and blueberries.

Coleman now makes these nifty Dutch oven liners that are essentially large circles of parchment.  No more crazy cleaning!  I put 1 can of cherry pie filling, 1/2 pint of fresh (local) strawberries cut up, and 1/2 pint of fresh blueberries into the pot.  I considered stopping here and just serving fruit for dessert, this looked so pretty :-)

Take one box of yellow cake mix...

And cut one stick of butter into 8-12 pieces.

"Dump" the cake mix on top of the fruit.

Then dot the mix with the pieces of butter.  Like my berry-stained hands???

Do your best to even things out, but I was seriously winging it here so pardon that this isn't very pretty.
Now what?  Before I "dumped" the ingredients into the pot, we had fired up a pile of charcoal briquettes.  This website provides some great tips on how to convert the amount of heat you need into the number of greyed-over briquettes.

Since I've baked cobblers and biscuits in this Dutch oven many times, I remembered that I needed 24 briquettes, with 14 on the top and 10 on the bottom, to replicate 350F for 30-45 minutes.  Set that in your campsite fire pit and go enjoy your dinner!

The parts of the Dutch oven right over/under charcoal briquettes will become local hotspots, so it's important to rotate the oven every 15 minutes or so for even baking.  Turn the lid 90 degrees AND rotate the oven over the top coals by 90 degrees in the OPPOSITE direction.

Here is the finished product after 45 minutes...there were some areas of dry cake mix remaining, and that's my lack of even butter distribution, sorry :-)

A nice big closeup pic for your enjoyment.  The butter melts and combines with the cake mix and fruit juices to make this super-sweet gooey dessert!

Now I wish I had at least picked up a tub of Cool Whip or a can of Redi-Whip....this was SO SWEET!  But delicious!

Sadly, this was our leftover cake.  It's very very rich...a little goes a long way.  Megan was able to pick up the whole piece of parchment and plop it into a storage container to take home the following morning.

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At Friday, July 1, 2011 at 8:10:00 AM CDT , Blogger The Country Cook said...

You are like the best camping Mom ever. My son would love you (and maybe my Loved the pics of the boys playing baseball!!

At Saturday, July 2, 2011 at 6:25:00 PM CDT , Blogger Bengela said...

yumo...i had dump cake today...with a can of cherries, crushed pineapple, yellow cake mix and melted stick of was delicious!!

At Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 9:20:00 PM CDT , Blogger The Vollmers said...

Thanks gals!


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