Where has this recipe been all my life?

I think I’ve mentioned before that when it comes to food, my husband really has to love something in order for him to rave about it. Well, today’s he’s blathering about a dessert we had last night.

He liked it so much he had it for breakfast this morning because it puts him in a coffee-cake-state-of-mind.

Monday afternoon I made this dessert for several couples who were coming over for a Bible study. Let me say this about them – they raved about it, too.

The recipe jumped out at me as I flipped the pages of a cookbook put out by the women of Ottawa Lutheran Church, rural Aneta, N.D., when they celebrated their church’s 125th anniversary. Judy Rusten gifted me with this book after she and I and several other women from Ottawa Lutheran ate together at Red Willow Bible Camp’s Quilters Appreciation dinner in August. I witnessed a beautiful faith centered jovial friendship among these women who were absolutely delightful to be with. Then in the mail a few days later, I get this cookbook from Judy. I love it!

Called “Fruit Cocktail Dessert,” this is a piece-of-cake to make. I had never heard of it, but one of our guests said her mother made it a lot when she was growing up. That tells me it’s not a real “new” recipe as this gal is more of an autumn chick (as am I) as opposed to a spring chick.

If you want both simplicity and moist scrumptiousness this is the dessert for you.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large can (29 ounces) fruit cocktail undrained
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped nuts

Sift together the dry ingredients (first four). Add eggs and fruit cocktail. (Mom always told me that when you are making a cake from scratch and not using an electric mixer, you should stir your ingredients 100 times so that’s what I did. I counted to 100 as I stirred my spoon around the stainless steel bowl to blend the batter.

Spray 9 x 13-inch cake pan with Pam and pour batter in pan. Sprinkle top with 1 cup brown sugar and ½ cup chopped nuts. (I used pecans).

Bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes. Watch your time and check doneness with toothpick. Serve with whipped cream.

A note at the bottom of the recipe says the women of Ottawa have served this for many bridal and baby showers as well as church lunches. I can see why for what a find this recipe is!

I’m wondering – where’s it been all my life?

Until Soon

One thought on “Where has this recipe been all my life?

  1. This was one of my favorite desserts growing up in Hamilton, ND also. We 6 kids thought we were very special when Mom would be lucky enough to get (afford) a can of fruit cocktail and since it would not stretch all away around as a fruit, this way we all got a taste and a share. I don’t remember it with nuts, but I realize that would be more expense. Thank you for bringing up this memory and I will make it for our next church pot luck here in Kentucky. I did live in Grand Forks for a time until the 1997 flood and met you ( and have your book) at the Farmers Market downtown.

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