Julianne Dorr of Longview, Wash., was looking for a cake recipe from the 1970s. She said it was a very simple cake made using a can of fruit cocktail and a box of cake mix and some other ingredients she could no longer recall.
Martha Booth from Marion, Iowa, sent in a recipe for Fruit Cocktail Cake that she thought was probably the recipe that Dorr was looking for. Several other readers sent in similar recipes for what they called a Dump Cake.
When you make this cake, it is easy to see how it got that name. Basically all you do is dump the ingredients in the pan and put it in the oven to bake. It takes less than 5 minutes to make. What you end up with is more of a cobbler then a cake. For something so simple, it was surprisingly good. I recommend serving it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream.
Christina Olsen from San Jose, Calif., is looking for a recipe for something called "Man Cake." She said that her grandmother, who lived in the San Francisco area, used to make it in the late 1960s. She remembers it as a layer cake with cinnamon and vanilla, both of which are supposed to attract men.
Beth Crites from Toutle, Wash., is looking for a recipe for a dish her mother-in-law used to make called "Neflie" (she was unsure of the spelling). She thinks it was made with flour and water or milk and was fried up in a cast-iron pan. When it was finished, she would sprinkle sugar on top and serve it to her kids. Her mother-in-law came from a Scandinavian background, and she is fairly sure that this dish has its roots in the Depression.
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Fruit Cocktail Cake
Makes: 12 servings
1 (15-ounce) can fruit cocktail
1 (18.25-ounce) package of orange or yellow cake mix
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup nuts, chopped
1/2 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan. Pour fruit cocktail, including syrup or juice, into greased pan and spread over bottom evenly. Sprinkle cake mix on top. Then sprinkle coconut and chopped nuts evenly over the cake mix. Pour the melted butter over all.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.