The Tale of a Rusty Dutch Oven. Also Gluten Free Apple Dump Cake Recipe.

A while back, my hubs came upon an amazing dutch oven from the 1800s.  It was rusting away in a little antique shop and was begging to be rescued.  So, being super sweet, he brought it home to me.


This number 12 Camp Stove from the 1800s needed lots of love.

I promptly put it in lye bath. Then, after a time, I let it soak for an hour or so in a vinegar bath, scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed the rust off, and then finally got to start building life back into it with flax seed seasoning. After much work, the dutch oven that once was a rusting hunk of forgotten iron, emerged a newly revitalized piece ready for another 100 years of use.


Here’s the 100+ year old dutch oven ready to get cookin’!

All that was left was to learn how to use it.  After a lot of reading, I finally settled on this recipe: for its maiden voyage.  It was easy to pull together and I could just focus on the dutch oven. Being gluten free, we had to make a few adjustments, but I was so excited with how it turned out.

First, the basics of dutch oven cooking are as thus.  Most people use charcoal to cook with these. Some coals go on top and some go underneath. That is why there is a flat top and feet.  You put fewer coals on the bottom because heat rises.

There are bunches of diagrams of how to figure out how many coals to put on and under your camp oven, but here’s what I did.  For approximately 350 degrees, I took the diameter of my camp oven  (12) and take 3 away (12-3=9). This is how many coals to put under the stove.  Add 3 to the diameter to figure out how many go on top (12+3=15).  Armed with this knowledge, I got charcoal and got going.

I dug a chimney charcoal starter from the recesses of the garage to light my coal. To get this going, pour the coal in the top, put paper underneath the chimney and light it.  Eventually the paper will light the charcoal and white billowy smoke will resound.  Also, take note of the scrap piece of metal also scavenged from the garage.  This protects the ground and reflects the heat upward.  I put the camp stove on this as well.IMG_0956

Eventually the white smoke turns clear. That means that the charcoal is ready to use.  While I was waiting, I whipped up my Gluten Free Apple Dump Cake.

I had to be careful and search for apples in a can that did not have gluten.  Be particular.


1 box of Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix

2 cans of apples (be careful to find gluten free–read well!)

2 cans of lemon lime soda.

Aluminum foil


  1. In a fairly large bowl, dump in the cake mix and carefully mix the soda.  It will bubble like crazy. I found it somewhat challenging to make sure it mixed well.IMG_0959.JPG
  2. Line the dutch oven with aluminum foil to make sure that clean up is as effortless as possible.  Spread both of the cans of apples in the bottom of the dutch oven.IMG_0960.JPG
  3. Dump the cake mixture on top of the apples. Cover, and wait for that clear smoke.IMG_0961

Once the smoke is clear, its time to get cooking.  I grabbed the welding gloves that I use to handle hot cast iron and the extra long tongs that we use on the grill.  Using the very long tongs, I picked up individual coals and put 9 underneath the stove and 15 on the top, taking care to space them evenly.IMG_0969.JPG

Then came time to wait.  I waited about 30 minutes and checked.  This is a lid grabber.  It was super nice to be able to lift the lid and keep it level. IMG_0973.JPGAfter about 40 minutes, it was done!  This was definitely super good and an easy, fun intro to my new, very old dutch oven.  I can’t wait to try something else!

Wanna try something like this for yourself? Hop on over to my shop for tons of cast iron goodies or fun vintage items: