Fruit Cocktail Cake

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This old-fashioned fruit cocktail cake is made from scratch. With a delicious coconut and pecan sauce that soaks into the cake, it’s so rich and moist you won’t be able to resist bite after bite. 

A forkful of fruit cocktail cake.

I love and adore this old-fashioned fruit cocktail cake with sauce. This is another one of those long-ago recipes that we’ve been making in my family for as long as I can remember. But it’s easy to see why!

Made from scratch, the ingredients in our easy fruit cocktail cake are simple shelf-stables and the recipe itself is not fussy at all. For the fruit cocktail cake itself, you’ll need fruit cocktail (of course), along with flour, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix those ingredients together, pour them into a baking dish to make a Texas sheet cake (it’s the Southern way, y’all), and bake until golden brown.

While the cake’s a-baking, make your topping by combining butter, coconut, sugar, vanilla, evaporated milk, and pecans on the stovetop and bringing them to a boil. How creamy, buttery, and deliciously nutty does that sauce sound? I can’t wait for you to try it! We spread the topping over the hot cake and then let it sit so it soaks into every bite of moist cake.

Let me tell ya… the fruit cocktail cake combined with the coconut and pecan-flavored buttery sauce is absolute perfection. Y’all aren’t ready for it. The sauce soaks into the cake for a rich, moist, and flavorful bite every time. It’s honestly a very unique flavor, unlike anything you’ve ever had! Once you give it a try, I know you’ll definitely make this dessert again. If you are craving other types of fruit cakes try make these recipes like Easy Pineapple Upside-Down CakeSam Club Strawberry Cake (Homemade Recipe), or Fresh Strawberry Cake With Cream Cheese Icing

Surely you’re ready to give it a go now, right? I feel like I was very convincing 😉.

Ingredients for fruit cocktail cake.

Recipe Ingredients


  • Self-rising flour
  • Vanilla extract
  • White sugar
  • Eggs
  • A can of undrained fruit cocktail in heavy syrup


  • Butter or margarine
  • Shredded coconut flakes
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Evaporated milk
  • Chopped pecans

Helpful Kitchen Tools

How To Make Fruit Cocktail Cake

Add flour to mixing bowl.

To make the cake batter for this fruit cocktail dump cake, you’re going to “dump” all the ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Start with the flour…

Add canned fruit cocktail to bowl.

Then add the canned fruit cocktail (juice and all)…

Add eggs to mixing bowl.


Add sugar to mixing bowl.


Add vanilla to mixing bowl.

And the vanilla.

Mix fruit cocktail cake ingredients on low speed until well blended.

Mix on low speed until well blended like so.

Scrape down the sides and mix again for about another minute.

Pour cake batter into baking dish.

Spray a 9×13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and pour batter into the pan.

Fruit cocktail cake batter in prepared pan.

Like so.

Baked fruit cocktail cake.

Then bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until it looks as golden brown as this.

For fruit cocktail cake topping, place butter in saucepot.

Instructions for the Fruit Cocktail Cake Topping

Place all ingredients in a medium to large saucepot, including the butter…

Add coconut to saucepot.

Sweetened flaked coconut…

Add sugar to saucepot.


Add vanilla to saucepot.


Pouring evaporated milk into saucepot.

Evaporated milk…

All ingredients in saucepot.

And pecans.


Stir and bring ingredients to a boil.

Bring to a boil, while stirring, over medium heat.

Fruit cocktail cake topping boiled.

Keep boiling for one to two minutes until it looks something like this.

This icing will remain pretty runny, which will be great when you pour it over your hot cake and it soaks all in.

Pour hot topping over hot fruit cocktail cake.

Take the hot cake out of the oven.

Pour the hot topping over the hot cake.

Spread hot topping over cake.

You want to spread as you pour.

TIP: Work fast now because this is going to immediately soak down into the cake and you don’t want the coconut to be concentrated in one area and completely absent in the other. Spreading the topping as you pour will help avoid this problem.

Slice of fruit cocktail cake.

Now it’s time to take a bit of your delicious dessert creation!


  • You can store leftovers, covered, at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • You can also freeze the cake in an airtight container for up to a year. Thaw in the fridge before enjoying cold or reheat quickly in the microwave.

Recipe Notes

  • You can serve your cake warm, cold, or at room temperature. Personally, I love this cake any way you can give it to me!
  • If you want to go the extra step, serve your cake slice with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a maraschino cherry on top.
  • If you prefer, you can use toasted fresh coconut flakes in the sauce instead.
  • You can also substitute pecans for walnuts.
  • But if you don’t like pecans or coconut, feel free to omit one or both. 
  • Another easy variation is to use 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1 cup of white sugar instead of all white sugar in the cake batter.
  • Please note that this recipe calls for self-rising flour in order for the cake to rise. To learn how to make self-raising flour, visit my FAQs page.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use different fruit in this fruit cocktail cake recipe?

If you prefer, you can use canned peach slices or canned pineapple instead. 

Can you add fruit to a boxed cake mix?

Yes. Instead of making your cake from scratch, feel free to mix the fruit cocktail with a boxed cake mix (a white or yellow cake mix would be best) and bake it according to the package directions.

Can I make fruit cocktail cake cupcakes?

No, cupcakes don’t work for this particular cake recipe because of the topping that soaks into the cake.

Can I make this cake in advance?

Yes, you can make this cake in advance and store it at room temperature for up to 3 days.

You may also enjoy these other fruit cake recipes:

Fruit Cocktail Pie

Pineapple Upside Down Cake (Super Moist)

Fruitcake Bar Cookies

Peach Dump Cake Recipe (3 Ingredients Only)

Icebox Fruitcake

Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake

A slice of fruit cocktail cake.

Fruit Cocktail Cake

This super moist old-fashioned fruit cocktail cake recipe is made from scratch and a total crowd-pleaser. It's simple, easy to make, and never disappoints.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake, fruit
Servings: 4
Calories: 138kcal



  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 15-ounce can fruit cocktail, undrained
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar


  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  • Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, place all the cake ingredients and beat at low speed until blended. Scrape down the sides and beat again at low speed for one minute more. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan.
    2 cups self-rising flour, 1 15-ounce can fruit cocktail, undrained, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • While the cake is baking, combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the mixture is boiling, continue stirring and boil for 1-2 minutes.
    1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 cup evaporated milk, 1 cup chopped pecans, 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • Pour the sauce over the hot cake and quickly spread it with a spatula for even coverage.



Calories: 138kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!



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    1. Hi Barry, I bake this for about 30 minutes but in my son’s oven it can take 40. So make sure you are baking til you can pull a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Ovens may vary so will cooking times. Have a adjusted the card to make sure it’s more clear. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  1. 5 stars
    A friend made this for me on my birthday yrs ago. Fond memories seeing the recipe link in my facebook feed today.

  2. So, I have pecans left over from Thanksgiving and thought about making a fruit cake…the recipes I found were complicated with expensive specialty ingredients, the recipes were so varied I couldnt be sure I was picking a winner & we all know that sometimes an online recipe can be an epic fail…I was hunting online for dried fruit when my husband suggested fruit coctail, silly man. Thats when a lightbulb came on, I`ve had a Fruit Cocktail Cake before and it was awesome, The only specialty ingredient I had to purchase was the fruit cocktail and from your reviews I’m sure this cake will be a winner. The only change I plan on making is the name, from “Fruit Cocktail Cake” to “Christmas Cake”

  3. 5 stars
    Fruit Cocktail cake is so much better than fruitcake! My beloved mom used to make this often and it was always delicious.

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