Outdoor cooking is easy and fun. The whole idea is to throw a few items into the Dutch oven, cover it, and come back later to a perfectly cooked dish. However, there is nothing worse than opening the oven to find that your Super Easy Dump Cake is burnt on one side and half cooked on the other. Whether using a tabletop stove or a stand-alone grill, if the surface is not level fried eggs will roll to one side of the pan and flapjacks will cook unevenly. These problems can be easily avoided with a little tool that costs less than $10.

A surface level will help you get an even cooking surface no matter what heat source you are using. Start by leveling the table so that round food does not roll off. Next, level the stove and/or the surface where your Dutch oven will set. Some stoves come with adjustable feet to make leveling easy. If your stove does not have adjustable feet, place flat rocks under the low side of the table, or remove a little dirt under the legs on the high side. A few minutes during camp set up will ensure easy, level cooking for the duration of your time in camp. Please remember to use caution, and do not place anything flammable under a tabletop stove.

Here’s the recipe for one of my favorites, Super Easy Dump Cake:

  • 1 can pie filling
  • 1 box cake mix
  • 1 can of soda

Dump the fruit pie filling into the bottom of a 10″ or 12″ Dutch oven. Dump the cake mix on top of the fruit. Pour the soda over the cake mix. There is no need to stir. Bake with 10 coals below and 15 coals on top until it smells done (about 45-50 minutes).

Mix and match any combination of flavors: chocolate cake and Dr. Pepper with cherry pie filling; spice cake and root beer with apple pie filling; or white cake and cream soda with peach pie filling. The possibilities are endless. Have fun!