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Chocolate Cherry Dump Cake in a Jar

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Flavor smash up! Chocolate cake meets cherry pie in these individual desserts in a jar that are fun to eat and equally delicious!

Chocolate Cherry Dump Cake in a jar is a gooey, chocolaty mini dessert baked in small jelly canning jars with just 4 simple ingredients!

A dump cake (like my German Chocolate Pumpkin dessert) is a simple recipe made by “dumping” or layering ingredients — usually in a cake pan — and baking until all the ingredients meld together into a luscious dessert.

Taking that same idea, these chocolate cherry dump cakes are baked in jars instead, making them just the right size “mini” desserts for parties, wedding showers, picnics, and more.

Cherry chocolate dump cake in a small mason jar with an antique spoon on a table.

Looking for more fun individual desserts? My Blueberry Cheesecake in a Jar is to die for with the same delicate and rich texture of classic cheesecake. Or, be sure you check out my list of 20 desserts in a jar recipes for more cake in a jar ideas, pies, and puddings.

Why you’re going to love it!

  • Easy to make. Just “dump” and bake — no mixing or other prep required!
  • Festive and fun. Individual mini desserts are perfect for parties, wedding showers, luncheons, or picnics.
  • Only 4 simple ingredients. Keep your pantry stocked with these items for any time you need a fast, tasty dessert!
a spoon of chocolate cherry dump cake in a jar on a table.

Behind the recipe

A few weeks ago, we made a quick trip to St. Louis for our daughter’s birthday. That weekend, our son-in-law and 2-year-old granddaughter made a chocolate cherry dump cake to celebrate.

We ate it warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it was heavenly! By the way, if you’re looking for an easy recipe to make with the kids, a dump cake is perfect!

Being a HUGE fan of cherry desserts, I got to thinking chocolate cherry dump cake would be a fun recipe to bake in jars for parties. Spoiler alert: I predict these will be showing up often at Summer picnics this year!

ingredients for Chocolate Cherry Dump Cake in a jar on a table.

Key ingredients and substitutions

  • Chocolate cake mix — either devil’s food or chocolate fudge
  • Cherry pie filling — strawberry pie filling is another tasty option
  • Unsalted butter — at room temperature
  • Chocolate chips — totally optional, but I like the extra bits of chocolate. You may also add a few chopped nuts, like pecans.

How to make cake in a jar

assembly steps for chocolate cherry dump cake in a jar.

STEP 1 | Select the right jars

  • It’s very important that you use canning jars and not recycled jelly jars from your pantry. Canning jars are designed to resist cracking and breaking under high pressure.
  • To be safe, don’t put a cold jar in a hot oven. Turn the oven on when you are ready to bake and let the jars heat up with the oven.
  • For this recipe, I used a dozen 4-ounce regular mouth jelly jars and placed them in a metal cake pan (you could also place them on a rimmed baking sheet) and did not have any problems with the jars cracking in the oven.

STEP 2 | Layer pie filling and dry cake mix

  • Carefully spoon cherry pie filling into the bottom of each jar, trying not to touch the sides.
  • Spoon 2 1/2 tablespoons of dry cake mix on top of the cherry pie filling. If needed, shake gently to evenly distribute.

tip

  • You will only use half the box of dry cake mix. Store the left overs to bake another batch later.
  • To bake Chocolate Cherry Dump Cake in a 9×13-inch cake pan, use the entire box of cake mix and double the other ingredients. The cake will take about 15 minutes longer to bake, as well.

STEP 3 | Add chocolate chips and butter

  • Sprinkle a few chocolate chips or chopped pecans on top of the dry cake mix.
  • Cut the butter into small cubes and sprinkle on the top. The butter will melt into the dry cake mix during baking.

tip

  • Check the dump cakes midway through baking to make sure all the cake mix has been saturated. If not, use the tip of a thin sharp paring knife to gently mix in any remaining dry cake mix.

chocolate cherry dump cake in a jar on a wooden board on a table.

STEP 4 | Bake and serve

  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops are set.
  • Dump cakes may be served warm or at room temperature.
  • If you like, top each with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with a cherry or more chocolate chips. Or, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

tip

  • To store or transport chocolate cherry dump cakes, allow them to cool completely before covering the jars with lids and bands.
  • Store tightly covered at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

chocolate cherry dump cake in a jar with whipped cream and chocolate chips on a table.

Recipe variations

  • Apple Spice Dump Cake in a Jar — use apple pie filling, a spice cake mix, and chopped walnuts
  • Blueberry Dump Cake in a Jar — use blueberry pie filling, lemon cake mix, and sliced almonds
a spoon of chocolate cherry dump cake on a plate on a table.

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Yield: 12 servings

Chocolate Cherry Dump Cake in a Jar

a spoon of chocolate cherry dump cake in a jar on a table.

Flavor smash up! Chocolate cake meets cherry pie in these individual desserts in a jar that are fun to eat and equally delicious!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (21-oz.) can cherry pie filling
  • 1 1/2 cups dry chocolate cake mix (1/2 box)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Instructions

  1. Place 12 clean regular-mouth 4-ounce jars in a metal cake pan or on a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Carefully spoon cherry pie filling into the bottom of each jar, trying not to touch the sides, about 2 tablespoons in each.
  3. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of dry cake mix on top of the cherry pie filling. If needed, shake gently to evenly distribute.
  4. Next, add a teaspoon of chocolate chips on top of the cake mix.
  5. Cut the butter into small cubes and sprinkle on top.
  6. Place the dump cakes in the oven and set it to 350 degrees. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until set on top.
  7. Serve topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Notes

  • The amount of time for ovens to preheat varies, so total baking may take require more or less time.
  • To store or transport chocolate cherry dump cakes, allow them to cool completely before covering the jars with lids and bands.
  • Store tightly covered at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 204Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 220mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 2g

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sheila thigpen in her kitchen

Sheila @ Life, Love & Good Food

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Home Cook, Wife, Mom, Nana

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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