Skip to Content

Old-Fashioned Fruit Cocktail Cake Recipe

If you’re looking for the easiest cake ever, you’ve officially found it. You don’t even need an electric mixer. This easy Fruit Cocktail Cake recipe is sweet, moist and gooey. My Grandmother swore by making this cake when company came over because it was always so dependable. The not-so-secret ingredient is one can of old-school fruit cocktail. Fresh out of the oven, it’s topped with a warm brown sugar glaze, for a perfect finish. Every bite is more irresistible than the last!

Fruit Cocktail Cake is a classic that's made with a can of fruit cocktail! It's got a spongy texture with a pecan topping and a brown sugar glaze that soaks through.


I always forget how easy this cake is to throw together until I’m making it again. You’ll love that it only requires one bowl and you throw everything together. There’s no need to take out your expensive mixers – just stir with a spoon. Plus, it’s a cheap sheet cake that can feed a crowd.

So what does Fruit Cocktail Cake taste like? You can taste the sweetness of the fruit, the gooey brown sugar and the pecans give it some crunch. It tastes like you spent hours making it and nobody will be the wiser. 

Honestly, I’ve been known to grab a few bites with my morning coffee. It easily qualifies as a sticky coffee cake, but you can serve it whenever you want. I just love versatile recipes like this one!

Related: Chocolate Kahlua Bundt Cake

How To Make Fruit Cocktail Cake

For this recipe, you’ll need a 13×9 inch baking dish. It’s a common baking dish and great for so many different types of recipes, so it’s worth investing in if you don’t already own one. You can use a hand mixer, if you prefer, but it’s not required. Your Fruit Cocktail Cake will turn out great if you just mix it by hand.

Fruit Cocktail Cake, Easy Breakfast Cake, Coffee Cake, Fruit Cocktail Recipe

What To Serve With Fruit Cocktail Cake

I have great memories of my mom making Fruit Cocktail Cake and alway serving it with some homemade vanilla ice cream. The cake goes well with vanilla ice cream, caramel or cinnamon. If you’re not a fan of ice cream, or it’s too heavy, whip up some homemade whipped cream. I promise that it’s worth the extra effort and better than the canned version.

How To Keep Fruit Cocktail Cake Fresh After Baking

Make sure the cake is covered with plastic wrap or transfer the cake to airtight food storage containers. The cake will maintain it’s freshness for 4-6 days to enjoy. If you want to reheat the cake, you can nuke it in the microwave for 30 seconds and it’ll be warm enough to enjoy like it was the first time.

Can You Freeze Fruit Cocktail Cake?

Yes! You can freeze Fruit Cocktail Cake after baking it. Let the cake cool completely. Keep the cake in the tray that you’ve baked it in or transfer individual servings to an airtight food storage container. The Fruit Cocktail Cake can be frozen for up to 3 moths. Let it thaw on the counter for several hours before enjoying again. 

What Type Of Fruit Cocktail To Use

You can certainly use any type of mixed fruit cocktail from the canned fruit section of the store. However, I find using Del Monte Very Cherry gives you the best flavor. Plus, having a few extra cherries in the cake adds a bit of color. Remember that the syrup is adding flavor the cake as well!

Recipe Substitutions For Fruit Cocktail Cake

You can use different brands of fruit cocktail if you don’t have Very Cherry on hand. If you prefer walnuts over pecans, you can use chopped walnuts. It’s a slightly stronger flavor than using pecans. Lastly, if you only have dark brown sugar available – that’ll work! It just gives the Fruit Cocktail Cake a darker color.

What To You’ll Need From The Grocery Store:

  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Baking Soda
  • Eggs
  • Del Monte Fruit Cocktail Mix
  • Light Brown Sugar
  • Chopped Pecans
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Vanilla Extract

Step-by-Step Directions To Make Fruit Cocktail Cake

Preheat the oven to 350º. In a large bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking soda and eggs.

Adding eggs to granulate sugar.

Add the can of fruit cocktail into the large bowl as well. 

Dumping can of Fruit Cocktail into mixing bowl.

I use Del Monte Very Cherry fruit cocktail mix – but any type or brand will do. Mix it well.

Mixing fruit cocktail cake batter in bowl.

Pour into a 9×13 inch baking dish that’s been greased lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

Pouring fruit cocktail cake batter before baking.

Sprinkle brown sugar and nuts on top of the mixture.

Spreading brown sugar topping.

Bake at 350º for 35-40 minutes until set and golden brown.

Spreading pecans and brown sugar over top of Fruit Cocktail Cake

For the topping, bring the small can of milk, sugar, butter and vanilla to a boil in a small pot.

Adding evaporated milk to create glaze topping.

Keep constantly stirring the mixture so it doesn’t burn. 

Stirring butter, sugar and evaporated milk together.

Using a toothpick or skewer, poke a few holes in the top of the hot cake. Pour your butter and sugar glaze over the top until it’s all absorbed. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Pouring hot glaze over cake.

Cover the cake with plastic wrap. Fruit Cocktail Cake does not need to be refrigerated. Enjoy it for 4-6 days for best freshness.

Adding brown sugar glaze over poked holes

You can freeze it if you’d like and thaw before serving again. It will freeze for up to 3 months and let it thaw again before serving.

Fruit Cocktail Cake Single Serving with Whipped Cream

Yield: 8 Servings

Easy Fruit Cocktail Cake

Fruit Cocktail Cake, Easy Fruit Cocktail Cake Recipe, Breakfast Cake, Coffee Cake Recipe, Fruit Cocktail Recipe Ideas, Del Monte Very Cherry Recipe

A delicious moist and sticky sheet cake recipe that's topped with a butter glaze, brown sugar and pecans. Perfect for a crowd!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Can Fruit Cocktail Mix (Del Monte Very Cherry)

For The Topping:

  • 1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans

For The Glaze:

  • 1 Small Can Evaporated Milk (5 Ounces)
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Stick Of Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350º. In a large bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, eggs.
  2. Add the can of fruit cocktail into the mixture and stir well.
  3. Pour into a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish, prepped with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Sprinkle brown sugar and pecans on top.
  5. Bake at 350º for 35-40 minutes.
  6. For the glaze: combine the evaporated milk, sugar, butter and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil while constantly stirring.
  7. Poke holes in the warm cake with a toothpick and pour the glaze over the top. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.


Cover the cake, once cooled, with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight food storage container. Keep the cake for 4-6 days to enjoy. Fruit Cocktail Cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. Let it thaw before enjoying again.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 595Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 344mgCarbohydrates: 105gFiber: 2gSugar: 80gProtein: 6g

**Nutritional information is calculate by a third party. Actual nutritional facts may vary.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe