Mennonite Girls Can Cook is a collection of recipes which were posted daily for a period of ten years from 2008 to 2018. We have over 3,000 delicious recipes that we invite you to try. The recipes can be accessed in our recipe file by category or you can use the search engine.

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Mystery Dessert

I don't know why the name . . . that is how I got it from my mom.  It's still a mystery why it's so delicious . . . you'd never guess it to be a fat-free cake.

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 14 oz fruit cocktail along with syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup crushed walnuts or almonds
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, optional
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, soda and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, beat egg with a fork adding some of the fruit cocktail juice. Stir egg, fruit cocktail and vanilla into dry ingredients.
  3. Pour into shallow, greased 8x8 inch pan or pie plate.
  4. Combine brown sugar with nuts and sprinkle over top.
  5. Bake at 350° F for 40 minutes.
Serve plain, with ice cream or whipped cream. So quick and simple, yet delightful.


  1. My husband will love this. I will have to put fruit cocktail on my shopping list.

  2. this was and is still a favorite of ours. we have a different topping though.

    Glaze is
    3/4 cup sugar
    1/2 cup butter
    1/4 evaporated milk
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    bring to boil, stir for 2 min
    cool slightly then pour over cooled cake
    (we poke holes thruout the cake to allow the galze to sink into the cake)

  3. I remember that mom always made it and it was the best.
    Thanks for this refreshing mystery.

  4. oh fruit cocktail cake. Mine is like cyw95's .. and I had been wondering if anyone had posted that one yet. .I'll have to check.
    This is perfect for a nice moist dessert cake.

  5. I think this is what we call hummingbird cake. It's a very good cake.

    Yours sounds yummy.

  6. Oh gosh, this sounds SO good! I'm definitely going to try it! Found you through Sharon Lovejoy's wonderful blog!... Donna

  7. This is a real comfort food for me as I had it growing up. It was always called fruit cocktail pudding at our house and last year I looked it up on the internet to recreate it and sure enough I found it. It is great with ice cream on top right out of the oven, or my dad would eat it in a bowl of milk. Thank you for posting this!!

  8. It looks melt in your mouth good!

  9. The only hard thing about this cake is.... whipped cream or ice-cream?
    I think I can do this gluten-free... substituting the one cup flour with a commercial bread/bun flour mix. I'm going to try it!

  10. I just made this and it is so easy, very fast to stir together, made with ingredients I typically have on hand and most importantly kid and hubby approved!

    Thank you for sharing, this one is going into my recipe book as a definite keeper!

  11. My mom used to make this cake a lot when we were kids! She topped it with chopped walnuts and chocolate chips before baking...she also baked the cake in a bundt pan.

  12. I've never had anything like this, but will put fruit cocktail on next week's shopping list.

  13. Oh yummmm.....This sounds amazing and I am definitely going to have to try it for dessert!! Thank you so much for your posts!

  14. I made the Mystery Dessert yesterday and my husband loves it. He told me I'm not allowed to take it anywhere. He wants it all for himself.

  15. This is VERY similar to "Fruit Cocktail Cake"-- a favorite since I was a child, and one my kids now love to make with me!

  16. We called it "tornado" cake in our house because I remember it was the day a small tornado went over our house, never touching down, and my mom made this for dessert that night. We, too, did a glaze like cyw95 posted. Fun memories.

  17. Delicious cake and so easy to make. I did not have any fruit cocktail so I substituted a can of canned apricots and added 1/2 tspn. of almond essence. So fast to put together. Next time I might cut 1/4 cup back on the sugar as it was very sweet, but perhaps that was because of the apricots.

  18. Mom made "mystery dessert" in the '50's and I actually got tired of it, but had it today at a ladies' luncheon and it brought back wonderful memories as it tasted so good...just had to look up the recipe and I found it here. Thanks for sharing.


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