Baking Dutch Oven Cakes

by Kathy and Bruce Jacobs

Really want to impress your friends and neighbors on your next outing? Here is an easy way to do so: Bake one of these cakes in your Dutch oven.

Note: Because we don't like to do any more dishes than we have to, we eat these cakes straight from the liner pans. Less muss and fuss!

Basic Cake Mix Cake


  • Cake mix for 9x13 cake pan ? any flavor of mix will work
  • Ingredients per cake mix (eggs, oil, and water, depending on mix requirements)


  • Dutch oven
  • Liner pan and beads
  • Charcoal and starter system


  1. Start 30 charcoal briquettes.
  2. Mix the cake mix in the liner pan.
  3. Place Dutch oven on top of 8 to 10 gray briquettes. Note that no pre-heating is needed.
  4. Place the liner pan in the oven.
  5. Put the lid on the oven.
  6. Place 15 to 20 gray briquettes on top of the lid. (Yes, put more coals on top than underneath the oven.)
  7. Wait the length of time recommended on the box, then check to see if it is done.
  8. Cake may take about two to five minutes longer than box says as we did not pre-heat the oven.

Peach Breakfast Cake


This recipe makes a great breakfast. It is prepared the night before, so there is no clean up in the morning. Same ingredients and techniques as indicated in basic recipe with the following changes:

  1. Use a white or yellow cake mix.
  2. Add one can of sliced peaches or two cups sliced fresh peaches to the batter before cooking
  3. Instead of water, use the peach juice from the canned peaches or equivalent amount of bottled peach juice if using fresh peaches
  4. If you can resist the cake when it is done, leave the lid on the Dutch oven and set aside to cool over night. Slice and serve for breakfast.

We make this the night before we are going to break camp. The only dishes to be done in the morning are personal dishes, the liner pan, and the knife for cutting the cake. You can re-heat the cake over charcoal if you wish and will be making a fire. Re-heating takes only a few minutes.

Chocolate Fudge Cake


This creates a fudgy, almost brownie like cake that will disappear the moment it comes out of the oven! Same ingredients and technique as the basic recipe, with the following changes:

  1. Use a chocolate cake mix or a pudding in the mix chocolate mix.
  2. Mix one half can of frosting with the water before adding to the cake mix. Frosting should be smooth and runny to allow for easy mixing into batter.
  3. While cake is baking, melt half of a bag of chocolate chips in a double boiler. (If you want to do the whole bag, go for it!)
  4. When cake is done, but not cooled, poke several holes in the cake.
  5. Pour melted chocolate over top of cake.
  6. Let cool as long as possible before eating. (Though, honestly, it usually doesn't make it to cool before it is eaten!)

Because this recipe calls for a half can of frosting and a half bag of chips, we have been known to make two cakes and leave the second as a gift for the camp manager. If you choose to carry on this tradition, use a disposable aluminum pan for your liner pan.

Butterscotch Cake


This sweet cake may not be for everyone in your party. It comes out with an almost toffee taste to the butterscotch on the bottom of the cake. Same ingredients and techniques as the basic recipe, with the following changes:

  1. Use yellow cake mix. If you can find butterscotch cake mix, it works the best ? but I haven't found it in the stores lately.
  2. Mix cake batter in a separate bowl.
  3. Pour half of a bag of butterscotch chips in the bottom of your liner pan.
  4. Pour batter over chips.
  5. Bake as usual.
  6. While baking, melt other half bag of chips in a double boiler.
  7. When cake is done, but not cooled, poke several holes in the cake.
  8. Pour melted butterscotch chips over top of cake.
  9. Let cool as long as possible before eating.
  10. Eat warm if possible, before butterscotch on bottom of liner pan hardens to toffee.


Now that you know the basics, you are ready to try almost any other cake mix cake that exists. Bundt cakes work well in taller Dutch ovens; angel food cakes do too. For an astounding collection of cake mix cakes, check out The Cake Mix Doctor, by Anne Byrn. (By the way, if you like chocolate, Anne has come out with Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor. Order yours now!)