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Old Fashioned Fruit Cocktail Cake

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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.

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.

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!

Yield: 9 Servings

Vintage Fruit Cocktail Cake

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

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.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 15 oz. can fruit cocktail
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F and grease an 8-inch square baking dish.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all of the ingredients but the brown sugar.
  3. Pour the batter into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the batter.
  4. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
  5. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving on its own or with whipped cream or ice cream.

Notes

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.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 218Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 213mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 1gSugar: 41gProtein: 2g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

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!

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