Step 1: You will need:
9x13 (or slightly larger) baking dish
Oil or cooking spray
At least 20 ounces (up to about 40) of cherry pie filling
2 sticks butter
Mini chocolate chips
1 box light colored cake mix (yellow, white, or lemon for sure work)
Measuring spoons, butter knife, and large spoon for stirring
Pecans or other nuts for topping (not shown in this 'ible)
Step 2: Filling
Coat the bottom and sides of your baking dish with cooking spray or oil. I actually was so excited to make this that I forgot to do it - it does make clean up a lot easier later.
Dump in your cherry pie filling. I only used about 20 ounces of filling in this dump cake. It was tasty, and everyone liked it, but I thought it could have used a better filling-to-cake ratio.
Add about 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract, a little more or a little less to suit your taste. I wouldn't go too much less though.
Finally, add 1/3 to 1/2 cup or so of mini chocolate chips. Add the larger amount if you use more than 20 ounces of cherry pie filling. Or if you just REALLY like chocolate :)
Now stir it all up to get the vanilla and chocolate chips mixed in, and smooth it out along the bottom of your baking dish.
Step 3: Topping
Gently smooth the cake mix out over the entire dish, all the way to the sides, breaking up any big clumps as you go. Gently is important, you don't want to incorporate the cake mix with the pie filling mixture.
Slice your two sticks of butter and place all along the top. You don't have to cover every bit of cake mix, but you do want to have even coverage without huge gaps.
If you are going to add nuts for topping, add them at this point. Usually I've seen nice neat rows of pecans rather than a sprinkling of chopped nuts - but feel free to play with it a bit!
Step 4: Cooking
This was my cake at 45 minutes. It is just starting to get golden, but it is still a little gooey looking. You want to see a nice, relatively even golden across the top. It should look slightly "crispy" rather than slightly "wet".
My cake took about 52 minutes to be done. Your oven may vary.