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

1 Response

  1. Anita Westrup

    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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