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Old Fashioned Fruit Cocktail Cake

Thanks for sharing!

This vintage fruit cocktail cake recipe is easy as can be to make. The batter comes together in just a couple of minutes and it bakes into a lovely rich dessert that tastes like it came straight from grandma’s kitchen.

Piece of fruit cocktail cake with browned top and fruit in the bottom.

If you are looking for a quick and easy dessert that you can memorize the recipe and make any time, this is just the thing. It is loaded with fruit, but it is so much better than a dry or dense fruitcake.

So make sure you have a can of fruit cocktail ready to go. This old fashioned treat is on the menu and it is going to be delicious.

Ingredients ready to be made into a simple vintage fruit cocktail cake.

The batter for this cake only takes a few ingredients with no butter or oil. Literally everything you need but an egg can be stored in your pantry at all times.

I have been working my way through my grandma’s recipe box. There are so many great handwritten recipes in there.

Some are hers and you can tell others were given to her by friends. This recipe for fruit cocktail cake is on a scrap of paper with the name Anna Sprock on the bottom.

Hand written recipe for fruit cocktail cake on yellowed piece of paper.

I would like to imagine that my grandma was hanging out with Anna drinking coffee and enjoying a slice of this cake and was so enamored with it that she asked for the recipe. I will have to ask her to see if she remembers how she came to have this recipe.

Either way, I loved fruit cocktail as a child. Especially when it had lots of cherries in there.

We use it for frozen fruit salad, but otherwise I don’t think to pick up a can very often. So I used this as an excuse to get some cans with extra cherries.

Making the Batter

Cakes really don’t get easier than this. Empty a can of fruit cocktail into a bowl and add an egg, flour, sugar, salt and baking soda.

Stir it all together and the batter is ready. It literally takes about 2 minutes to put it together.

The original recipe called for an 8×11-inch pan which isn’t a standard size. So instead I pulled out my trust 8×8″ square pan.

Pour the batter into a greased pan and top with some brown sugar. You can add chopped nuts as well, or coconut would be tasty but I didn’t add either so my boys would help eat it.

Bake the cake for a little over an hour and you are ready to go. It reminds me kind a bit of a pineapple upside down cake but easier and less photogenic.

Freshly baked fruit cocktail cake with browned top, ready to serve.

The edges have just a tiny bit of crunch with the caramelized sugar. The center is soft and the fruit adds lots of moisture.

We liked it best warm. It is fabulous on its own, but would also be great with some whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.

You could easily reduce the sugar in this cake if you would like. The granulated sugar in the batter could be cut to 3/4 cup and you could use half of the brown sugar on top if you like your desserts a little less sweet.

What fruits are in fruit cocktail?

A can of fruit cocktail generally contains pears, grapes, peaches, pineapple and cherries packed in either a syrup or concentrated fruit juice mixture.

You can also try making fruit cocktail cake with a cake mix if you want. It is so light and fluffy and super easy to make.

More Vintage Dessert Recipes

Butter cake with flaky fudge frosting is another old fashioned treat. My great-grandma made it for my mom’s birthday when she was a little girl and it is still my mom’s favorite.

Her other grandma used to make the best apple pie with lard pie crust. My mom still dreams about that pie.

Bite of fruit cocktail cake on fork ready to eat.

Soft oatmeal step on cookies are another great option. The dough is rolled into balls and then refrigerated overnight before they are smashed and baked the next day. The resulting cookies are soft, mild and unlike the oatmeal cookies you are used to.

Frog eye salad is another fun and fruity dessert. The vintage recipe features a fruity custard with pasta and marshmallows for a tasty old timey treat.

Or try making an old fashioned sour cream raisin pie. The filling has an almost lemony tang and the fluffy meringue on top really finishes it off.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a review in the recipe card below!

Piece of fruit cocktail cake with bits of fruit and browned sugar top.

Vintage Fruit Cocktail Cake

This vintage fruit cocktail cake recipe is easy as can be to make. The batter comes together in just a couple of minutes and it bakes into a lovely rich dessert that tastes like it came straight from grandma's kitchen.
4.77 from 34 ratings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 9 Servings
Calories 218 kcal


  • 2 Quart Glass Batter Bowl With Lid
  • Square Glass Baking Dish with Lid 


  • 15 oz. can fruit cocktail
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
Makes: 8 x 8inch rectangle2inch height


  • Preheat oven to 300°F and grease an 8-inch square baking dish.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, white sugar and salt. Add the egg and fruit cocktail along with all of the juices from the can. Stir until uniform.
  • Pour the batter into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the batter.
  • Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
  • Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving on its own or with whipped cream or ice cream.


You can easily reduce the sugar in this recipe if your want. The granulated sugar can be reduced to 2/3 cup and 1/4 cup of brown sugar can be used on the topping.
Feel free to stir in a little bit of cinnamon and nutmeg and/or ginger if you like a spicier cake.



Serving: 1pieceCalories: 218kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 2gFat: 1gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 213mgFiber: 1gSugar: 41g
Tried this recipe?Mention @carleecooks or tag #cookingwcarlee!
This vintage fruit cocktail cake recipe is easy as can be to make. The batter comes together in just a couple of minutes and it bakes into a lovely rich dessert that tastes like it came straight from grandma's kitchen.

Thanks for sharing!

Recipe Rating


Thursday 28th of September 2023

These are must try recipes. Thank you


Thursday 28th of September 2023

I am glad you like them!


Sunday 17th of September 2023

All I have is a 9x9 do you know what possibly would be the cooking time and can this be doubled for a 9x13 at the same cooking time……


Sunday 17th of September 2023

Doubling it and baking it in a 9x13 should work well. It would probably take closer to a 70 minutes to bake as it would a little bit thicker than the original recipe. On the other hand, I would start checking the cake at 50-55 minutes if you use a 9x9 as the batter depth will be a little bit thinner so it should bake faster.


Friday 4th of August 2023

I'm thinking this would be perfect if it had a bourbon caramel sauce over it. Anyone who has ever had the bread pudding (with fruit cocktail in it) from Mother's in New Orleans is likely to agree.


Saturday 5th of August 2023

That sounds delicious!


Monday 1st of May 2023

Hi is the fruit cocktail in juice or syrup and do you use the juice or drain it?


Tuesday 2nd of May 2023

Either juice or syrup should work. Don't drain it, use the whole can. Thank you for asking, I will try to make that more clear in the recipe card.

Sherri Westfall

Sunday 26th of March 2023

I was craving this. You may want to edit the powdered sugar out of the directions tho.


Wednesday 5th of April 2023

@Carlee, I'm making this again... husband decided he likes it with ice cream, although I grew up eating it with whipped cream.


Monday 27th of March 2023

Oh my goodness, yes. It should be brown sugar. Thanks for letting me know.