Fruit Cocktail Spice Cake has been loved by my family for years! It's a spice cake with canned fruit cocktail added, topped with a sweet coconut topping.
Today I bring you another recipe from my childhood - 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 going strong for at least three 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 where it came from or who wrote it. My mom and I have 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 surprised when I read over the recipe. There is no fat in the actual cake!
Only eggs, canned fruit cocktail, and its juice for liquid. However, the lack of fat in the cake is made up for with all the butter and cream you use in the syrupy topping. Not to mention the coconut on top. But I don't recommend skipping the topping - it's the best part!
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 then 3-year-old, this is the conversation that followed:
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.
How to make Fruit Cocktail Spice Cake:
Making this spicy cake starts with mixing up the liquid ingredients. To do this, it's easiest to use a stand mixer, but you can use a hand mixer too. Add the dry ingredients and mix again. It will look dry at this point. Pour in the whole can of fruit cocktail (including the juice) and mix again. Pour the batter into a 9x13" baking pan and sprinkle the dried coconut over the top.
While the cake is baking, mix up the syrupy topping for it. This will involve bringing it to a boil in a small saucepan. When the cake is done cooking, poke holes all over the top of it and pour the syrup on while it's still hot. Let the cake cool before serving it.
Fruit Cocktail Spice Cake Ingredients:
- All-purpose flour
- Whole wheat flour: optional - feel free to substitute with an equal amount of additional all-purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Ground allspice
- Freshly grated or ground nutmeg
- 15 oz can fruit cocktail
- Unsweetened shredded coconut
- Unsalted butter
- Whipping cream
Want more recipes with spice?
Fruit Cocktail Spice Cake Nutrition Notes:
This cake is high in fat (specifically saturated fat) which comes from the coconut, butter, and heavy cream that are used in the topping. Eat in moderation, especially if you are concerned about elevated blood lipids.
Fruit Cocktail Spice Cake
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (optional - replace with more all-purpose flour if desired)
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon mace
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 15 oz can fruit cocktail
- 1 ¼ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- ½ cup whipping cream
- ½ 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 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon mace, ¼ teaspoon ground allspice, and ¼ teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Lightly beat 2 large eggs using a stand mixer or hand mixer on medium speed. Add 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat on high for 2-3 minutes until light and foamy. Turn mixer to low speed and slowly add the flour mixture. Mix until incorporated - it will be very dry. Add 15 oz can fruit cocktail with its liquid and mix until just incorporated. Turn mixer off and finish mixing with a spatula to ensure all dry bits are mixed in.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle 1 ¼ cups unsweetened shredded 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 ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add ½ cup whipping cream and ½ cup 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.