I’ve been wanting to share this recipe with you for a long time – Fruit Cocktail Spice Cake. My mom made it for us kids when I was growing up, and her mom made it for her and her brothers when she was growing up. So this recipe has now been made for 3 generations. I tried to find out where the recipe originally came from, but neither my mom nor my grandma could remember. My grandma’s recipe is handwritten, with no clues as to who may have written it. Mine and my mom’s are typed out versions of that handwritten recipe, and now I’m putting it on the internet for all to see.
Though I have been eating this cake for years, I think this may have been the first time I made it myself. And I was very surprised when I read over the recipe. No fat in the actual cake! Only eggs and fruit cocktail and it’s juice for liquid. However, you’re making up for the lack of fat in the cake with all the butter and cream you use in the syrupy topping. Not to mention the coconut on top.
Well, a health food it is not, but delicious it sure is! I would not have been eating it for so long if it wasn’t. However, not all agree. When I gave a piece to my 3 year old, this is the conversation that occured:
Me: “How do you like the cake?”
C: “I can’t wait to finish chewing! It tastes bad – don’t make this again.”
I texted the conversation to my parents, and got the following response:
Dad: “I don’t know why anybody wouldn’t like fruit cocktail cake. Doesn’t make sense to me. Did you make it right?”
Yes, I made it just fine. It tasted like it usually does. I guess it just doesn’t fit with my 3 year old’s refined palate of mac and cheese, goldfish crackers and dry cereal. Sigh.
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon mace
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 15 oz can fruit cocktail
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 stick
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
Place oven rack in the middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9x13" baking pan with cooking spray or butter, set aside.
Whisk together all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, mace, allspice and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Lightly beat eggs using a stand mixer or hand mixer on medium speed. Add sugar and vanilla. Beat on high for 2-3 minutes until light and foamy. Turn mixer to low speed and slowly add flour mixture. Mix until flour mixture is incorporated - it will be very dry. Add fruit cocktail with it's liquid and mix until just incorporated. Turn mixture off and Finish mixing with a spatula to ensure all dry bits are mixed in.
Pour batter into prepared cake pan and smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle coconut evenly over the top of the batter. Bake until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.
While cake is baking, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add whipping cream and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes to form a syrup. Remove from heat.
When cake is done, poke the top all over with a fork or chopstick. Pour syrup evenly over the top of the cake and cool before serving.
Feel free to use 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour instead of the mix of all purpose and whole wheat flours. It is just my habit to sneak in whole wheat flour whenever I can get away with it.