Southern Fruit Cocktail Cake (+Video)
This Homemade Southern Fruit Cocktail Cake is so easy to make! Topped with a coconut pecan sauce that is poured straight into the cake!
A DELICIOUSLY DIFFERENT HOMEMADE CAKE RECIPE
What comes to mind when you think of fruit cocktail? For me, it takes me back to my school years. Whenever I bought lunch from the school cafeteria, it was usually Friday (pizza day), and my fruit of choice was usually a small bowl of fruit cocktail. This Fruit Cocktail Cake recipe takes me back to those simpler times. It is a simple and easy homemade cake with amazing flavor. The fruit cocktail helps to make this cake turn out so moist!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Despite many misconceptions, the word “cocktail” in the name does not mean that it contains alcohol, but refers to the secondary definition “An appetizer made by combining pieces of food, such as fruit or seafood”. We’re not really sure who invented fruit cocktail but we do know it is an American invention that might have been created by a University of California professor and a local packing company.
Absolutely! This is really what makes this such a fun and unique cake. I am making a homemade cake here but you could certainly make this recipe using a butter box cake mix. I prefer to add canned fruit to cakes most times (unless maybe if it is an apple cake). Canned fruit has been soaking in a syrup or juice so it is nice and soft and blends really well with the cake batter.
This homemade cake requires the consistency that you get with the fruit cocktail in heavy syrup rather than fruit juices. Sometimes homemade cake can be on the drier side so the syrup is going to add a lot of moistness. If you are using a boxed cake mix and have a can of fruit cocktail in 100% juice, then just drain the juice and use only the fruit. This isn’t a diet cake, y’all – get the fruit cocktail with heavy syrup.
Did you know this is one of the most asked questions on Google when it comes to canned fruit? This recipe right here is your answer! I promise it will be a hit!
People either really love coconut or really hate it. I usually tell people to do a half and half cake. Make half of it for the coconut lovers and the other half for the coconut haters. If you absolutely detest coconut, you can leave it out of the sauce. The cake isn’t as pretty that way but you can do it if you must.
This is like the coconut hater answer. You can leave them out or use a different kind of nut but you are really starting to make for a really boring cake by leaving out these essential ingredients.
No. Because of the syrup topping, it doesn’t hold up well for cupcakes.
This cake will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator as long as it is covered. This fruit cocktail cake can also be frozen. Cover very well to protect from freezer burn and the cake will keep for 3 months in the freezer.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- self-rising flour
- fruit cocktail in heavy syrup
- vanilla extract
- sweetened coconut flakes
- evaporated milk
- chopped pecans
HOW TO MAKE FRUIT COCKTAIL CAKE:
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Spray a 9″x 13″ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (I like the kind that has flour in it.) In a medium bowl, mix together all cake ingredients at low speed (using a stand or handheld electric mixer) until thoroughly combined.
If you want to keep your fruit cocktail chunky in the batter (like I prefer), then add it in last after mixing all the other ingredients.
Pour cake batter into prepared baking dish. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes (oven times vary so check after 30 minutes). When done, cake should spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Using a fork, poke a few holes in the cake.
Combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Note: I don’t like my chopped pecans to be too big on top of the cake so sometimes I’ll crush them down to slightly smaller pieces.
Turn the heat up and bring it all to a boil for one minute. Pour warm sauce over warm cake. Make sure you spread out the coconut and pecans evenly over cake.
I especially love to eat this cake while it is still warm. But it is so good at room temperature too!
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
Fruit Cocktail Cake (+Video)
FOR THE CAKE:
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 15 ounce can fruit cocktail in heavy syrup, undrained
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
FOR THE SAUCE:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup chopped pecans
FOR THE CAKE:
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (I like the kind that has flour in it.)
- In a medium bowl, mix together all cake ingredients using an electric mixer at low speed until thoroughly combined.
- Pour cake batter evenly into prepared baking dish.
- Bake at 350F degrees for 30-35 minutes (oven times vary so check after 30 minutes.) When done, cake should spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
FOR THE SAUCE:
- Combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium sauce pan.
- Turn the heat up and bring it all to a boil for one minute.
- Using a fork, poke a few holes in the cake.
- Pour warm sauce over warm cake. Make sure to spread out the coconut and pecans evenly over cake.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- This cake will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator as long as it is covered.
- This cake can also be frozen. Cover very well to protect from freezer burn and the cake will keep for 3 months in the freezer.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.
Originally published: August 2012
Updated and republished: March 2022
No amounts on ingredients for fruit cocktail cake!!! Merely ingredients !!!
Bonnie, you scrolled right past the recipe card in your hurry to get to the comment section. Please read on the ingredient list above in the post that clearly states “full recipe is at the bottom of the post”
My husband loved this. Any suggestions to reduce the amount of sugar?
Hi Elaine! This is definitely a full sugar dessert. I’m not familiar with sugar substitutes so I honestly couldn’t say. But perhaps someone on here can tell you what they have tried and can make some good suggestions! So happy y’all enjoyed it!
I’ve loved this cake since I was a little girl! My mom would make it for the holidays during winter. I lost her recipe when my little family moved during our time in the military. This year I’m making it for my birthday tomorrow the 24th of January. Thank you for having such a great detailed recipe. And yes it will be eaten warm with some vanilla ice cream lol!!
Can I use fruit cocktail in juice instead of heavy syrup? Maybe not just as sweet? I really don’t want to drive 20 miles to the store before making this cake. My Mom used to make it and I remember asking for it for my birthday cake. I’m 66.
Brandie, I used to make this in the 50’s when I was in high school and everyone loved it. I have been looking for the recipe for years. Thank you so much for printing this out. I will be making it next weekend. Again, many thanks. Suzi
Oh my goodness – I love hearing that! I hope it’s as good as you remember!! 🙂
i did not make this.. for 2 reasons.. so asking before I do.. the carb count says 63grams.. what is the serving size? how long with this last before turning to mush or is i mushy.. just seems like pouring that sauce over it would be like soaking a piece of bread in liquid. but i can tell you.. if i didn’t have 2 diabetics in the house.. i would try it.
Kathy, it says 12 servings. Cut smaller pieces and maybe share with another family. It’s too good to miss out. Suzi
The serving size is one slice (this cake makes 12 slices.) However, I always tell people to use their own trusted nutrition calculators. The nutrition given here is only for informational purposes and should not be used for health decisions. Please use your own calculator for that. 🙂
I got to make this! YUMMY! It might taste good with vanilla ice cream.
Hope you love it Jennifer!
Funny, just yesterday I was searching for this cake recipe. My mother made it many years ago, but I have never made it. I remember how much we.liked it then and wanted to make it. Thanks for the recipe. I will be making it soon.
Awwww – those memories are the best! I hope this one reminds you of hers!!