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Fruit Cocktail Cake: The 5 Ingredient Cake Perfect for Last Minute Baking

Fruit cocktail cake is as straightforward a dessert as you can get: It's literally a cake made from box cake mix and a can of fruit cocktail. Yes, you read that right. Fruit cocktail: the syrupy, sweet, fruit concoction that instantly transports you to childhood. The fruit cocktail cake originated in the South, and like most good recipes, has been passed down from generation to generation. A family favorite, this delicious cake is often requested for birthdays, church gatherings, and potlucks.

There is no right way to serve the cake, though most prefer room temperature. Since this sweet cake has no frosting, serving it up with ice cream or whipped cream is never a bad idea. With the addition of crunchy pecans and fruit, this cake makes an excellent brunch dish, subbing in for the typical coffee cake.

What Is In a Fruit Cocktail Cake?

One of the best things about this recipe is the simplicity of cake ingredients and quick prep time. Cake mixes usually call for several cups sugar, a teaspoon vanilla, a cup butter or margarine, a teaspoon salt, etcetera. Frankly, we don't have time for that, and neither, apparently, did the original authors of this recipe. The original recipe calls for a box of yellow cake mix, 1 can of fruit cocktail, coconut flakes, large eggs, pecans, and brown sugar. The total time from ingredients to cake is 55 minutes, with 45 minutes of that being active baking time.

There are versions of this cake recipe that make the cake from scratch. The main difference is the ingredients for the cake. In case you want to skip the box mix, you'll need to add all purpose flour, vanilla extract, butter, sugar, evaporated milk, and baking soda. As previously mentioned, though, sometimes you don't have time for all that, especially when you've been asked to bring a dessert to a potluck and totally forgot until the last minute. Not that this has ever happened to us. While this dish is hardly light on the carbohydrates, kcals, or cholesterol, you can at least justify your choices by saying you're getting a serving of fruit in.

For a true from scratch recipe, check out Gonna Want Second's fruit cocktail cake recipe.

How To Make A Southern Fruit Cocktail Cake

Before you start prepping, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. The heavy syrup from the fruit cocktail is quite sticky, so make sure to spray your baking dish or cake pans with nonstick cooking spray.

If you have an electric mixing bowl you may use it. However, since this cake comes together so easily, a large bowl that you mix by hand is a simpler option.

Combine all of your ingredients in the bowl, setting aside some of the coconut and brown sugar. Once you've mixed everything together, you'll pour batter into either a 9X13 baking dish or 2 8X8 pans.

Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar and coconut on top of the cake batter. Pop into the oven for 45 minutes if using one baking pan or 30-35 minutes if using 2 pans.

When it's cooled, and a toothpick comes out clean, it's ready to eat. Slice yourself up a piece of this yummy cake, sit back, and enjoy. The cake will stay moist and delicious for a few days, so be sure to eat at least one serving size each day. It's made with fruit, after all.

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