The Amish Cook: Forget sheet cake, try cheat cake!

Published 8:15 am Tuesday, October 3, 2017



Life has been quite interesting around here these last days and weeks. We certainly haven’t had any worries about getting bored!

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My brother Jeriah, now 22, is getting married next Thursday to Esther Hershberger. The big day will be hosted in the furniture shop at my parents’ where my husband Daniel works. Besides the wedding preparations we’ve had plenty of other things going around us to keep us hopping. I’ll start with today: Julia helped me do some basic cleaning in the house and garage in preparation for youth Bible study tonight. Yes, we’ve been hosting church services at our house for a little over a month now and this is our final event before passing the responsibility to someone else. Hosting church has been a tremendous blessing but it will be nice to have a break.

The youth each get a chance to choose a topic. Tonight’s topic is about keeping our hearts pure.

After youth meeting we’ll be serving root beer floats, popcorn and dump cake. I don’t know whether or not you’re familiar with dump cakes, but they really are “dump cakes” or to my way of thinking they could be called “cheat cakes” because they’re so simple. I’m not usually big on using cake mixes but for busy days like today I’m thankful for a swift route. They really are always a hit especially with milk or ice cream.

Now, taking a look at tomorrow I’ll be going to Mom and Dad’s in the evening to join the youth and several other families (about 40 people) who plan to have a work night to clear out the  shop, wash windows, and mulch the flower beds all in preparation for the big day. The shop equipment, work tables, etc. all will be moved to the back of the warehouse to accommodate the approximately 300 wedding guests for the ceremony and reception.

The following days will be spent in washing down the inside of the shop ceiling, walls, and floor with a power washing and doing trimming and mowing in the pastures and such.

Perhaps I should insert here that my husband also plans to help me turn four or five bushels of apples into applesauce on one of these busy pre-wedding days. Bless his big heart. I wasn’t sure when I’d get a chance to swing it all but he assured me that he’d be happy to help. The Victorio Strainer we received as a wedding gift makes delicious apple sauce with the perfect texture in Daniel’s way of thinking. Not too smooth like pudding and not too chunky like fruit filling.

Next week will be the big food week. Quite a bit of things have already been prepared such as strawberry cheese cakes that have been frozen and served the evening of the wedding. The veggies for the stuffing (or dressing as we call it) have all been harvested, diced, canned and are ready to go. The list could go on and on like the pie crust crumbs that are ready to use for the peanut butter and pecan pies. The two days before the wedding the church ladies will gather at the shop to peel potatoes, marinate the chicken, cut up lettuce for the salads, make Jello desserts, pies and such. While the other ladies help with food I’ll likely be in the house helping Mom and Dad with last minute preparations like cleaning, dusting, or mopping.

On Thursday morning, the “big day”, we will all wear our matching lavender clothes that were made for this special event. Our family will have lavender dresses and shirts while Esther’s will be wearing tan. Perhaps after the wedding I’ll fill you in on details of other colors such as the cooks, servers and other helpers.

In the meantime we’ll keep taking it one day at a time, making memories with family and friends as we work together. If you happen to have a busy fall like ours you might want to try our dump cake recipe. Best wishes to you all!


Dump cake

1 quart pie filling of your choice

1 pint crushed pineapples (optional)

1 box white or yellow cake mix

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1/2 cup butter, melted

 Pour pie filling into a 9 X13 pan. Spread pineapple and then top with dry cake mix and pecans. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold.