This Shortcut Coffee Cake Is the Perfect Spur-of-the-Moment Treat

Even some of the most accomplished bakers keep cake mix and pie filling in their pantries. In a crunch, the two combine to make a fantastic coffee cake recipe with endless possibilities.

Squares of apple coffee cake with streusel toppingPhoto: Shutterstock / MShev

Every home cook likes to add simple, quick and delicious recipes to their repertoire, especially if they’re indulgent, too. Cake mix and pie filling meet all of those criteria. Plus, this combo is also a super hack for a sweet little coffee cake! All you really need are a box of any flavor of cake mix, any type of canned pie filling, and some eggs or butter or both.

Choose a Flavor Combo

If your idea of coffee cake might as well mean eating birthday cake for breakfast, these sweeter options are for you! The combinations of cake mix and pie filling are almost infinite. Get ready to create your own about-to-become classic.

  • Chocolate cake and cherry pie filling effectively simulate a classic black forest cake, but it can be made in a fraction of the time and with only a bit of effort.
  • Spice cake mix with apple filling and a caramel drizzle would be a match made in comfort-food heaven.
  • Combining lemon cake mix with blueberry pie filling takes advantage of a delicious combination of flavors and would also be beautiful to behold as the blueberry juices seep into the golden cake mix.
  • For a peaches and cream effect, simply use white cake mix and peach pie filling and top each piece off with a generous dollop of whipped cream.
  • A fall favorite and a cake welcome on any Thanksgiving dessert table would be one composed of pumpkin pie filling and yellow cake, plus some essential spices. The list of possibilities goes on and on!

Mix It Up

The methods for making this kind of cake vary based on what you’re trying to achieve. The classic dump cake is simply pie filling sprinkled with cake mix and topped with melted butter and baked. If you’d like a flatter, crumble-type bar, cut cold butter into the cake mix and press most of it into a 13×9-inch pan, layer on the pie filling, and top with the rest of the crumb mixture before baking. For a more traditional snack cake, beat together the cake mix with the filling and some eggs and bake away. There’s even an ooey-gooey version you can make in the slow cooker!

Make It Your Own

There are so many ways to modify and enhance this versatile recipe. Add a streusel topping to give it a more traditional coffee cake twist for a nice brunch. Stir in chunks of cream cheese for a more extravagant cheesecake-like version. The cakes can be topped with a simple glaze, a sprinkling of powdered sugar, or even a ganache or buttercream frosting if you’re feeling decadent. Sprinkle nuts or morsels over the cake for a bit of texture and extra flavor.

Obviously, there’s no end to the twists and turns this simple and delicious combination can take! Keeping these two simple ingredients in the pantry can lead to a fun and tasty cake in hardly any time at all.

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Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.