Monday, 3 June 2013

Idiot Cake

As a kid, I loved fruit cocktail. Yes, there were never enough cherries, but there were plenty of mushy, unidentifiable white and beige cubes swimming in a thick syrup made of 98% sugar. What more could a cavity-ridden child ask for?

A favourite of cakers everywhere, Idiot Cake (a.k.a. Fruit Cocktail Cake) is the softest, fruitiest and squishiest cake you’ll ever eat. The cake itself is pretty special, but once you pour that hot milk, sugar and butter mixture overtop, you’re left with something that resembles a wet sponge. Only it tastes better than a wet sponge. Like, a lot.

As to why it’s called Idiot Cake, who knows? Maybe you’re an idiot if you screw up the recipe. Or you’re an idiot if you don’t like it. Or maybe you’re an idiot if you don’t make the cake (which you should, because it’s delicious).

Shredded coconut alert! Do NOT attempt to eat this cake without a toothpick handy. Otherwise, your co-workers might catch you flossing your teeth with the corner of your business card. Then you’ll really look like an idiot. Trust me on this one.

1½ cups white sugar
½ cup corn oil
2 eggs
Beat and mix well.
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons soda
Add: 1 14-ounce can fruit cocktail. Mix well.
Pour above mixture into a 9x13 pan. Greased and floured. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
½ cup butter
¾ cup white sugar
½ cup milk
Boil together for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour over cooled cake in pan while still hot. Sprinkle with ½ cup coconut. This also makes a delicious dessert (see note) served with ice cream, whipped cream or Dream Whip.

Note: “Also makes a delicious dessert?” What other reason would you eat this? For breakfast? Actually, now that I think about it….

PS: I’ll announce the winner of my Pink Thing contest this Friday!

Source: Women’s Ministries Cook Book, Calvary Pentecostal Church


  1. This looks divine.
    Pink Thing contest? How did I miss a contest?
    Now I have The Sads.

    1. Turn those Sads into Glads by making Idiot Cake. Works better than most medications.

  2. I'm not a big fan of fruit cocktail, but I'd probably make this based on the name alone.

    1. Not a fan? What's not to like? Sugar, beige cubes, the occassional grape. What more could you ask for?

  3. Wow! I had *totally* forgotten about this dessert, but as soon as I saw the photo, I immediately remembered exactly how it tasted. I love this blog purely for nostalgia factor; I had no idea how thoroughly caker my upbringing was. Thanks, Brian!! :)

  4. If I've drawn you closer to your caker roots, Jane, I take that as a high compliment. While I never forgot about this cake, I did forget how good it is. If you get a chance, make it. It's time you brought Idiot Cake back into your life.

  5. It's in the oven right now. Can't wait until it comes out in about 20 minutes!

  6. I hope it turned out okay! Remember: each piece has a 1/16 serving of fruit.

  7. This was one of my mom's staples and my kids love it. My mom told me that it is called Idiot Cake because any idiot can make it. For the topping, I use brown sugar instead of white and mix the coconut into the topping. I also pour it on when the cake is almost done and pop the cake back in to oven to let the mixture brown a bit on the top. Yummy served warm with fresh real whipped cream!

    1. Your version sounds pretty tasty. This is one of my favourite cakes of all time. You can't go wrong with sugar IN and ON a cake.

  8. This subtly reminds me of the Steel Magnolia "Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa" recipe. Thank you, Dolly Parton.

    1. I always wanted to make Dolly'a Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa recipe. And open a hair salong called "Truvy's."