Recipe Review

I Made Dolly Parton’s 3-Ingredient Legendary “Cuppa Cake” and It’s So Easy, I’ll Be Baking It All Summer

published Jun 12, 2024
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Dolly Parton's Fruit Cocktail Cobbler with inset photo of Dolly Parton
Credit: Main Photo: Kiersten Hickman; Inset photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

You may know Dolly Parton as a country singer, a Southern cooking wizard, and now an owner of a wine company, but did you know that she is also an actress? In the movie Steel Magnolias, Parton plays the character Truvy Jones, and she shares a simple recipe for a fruit cocktail cake (like cobbler!) that sounds almost too good to be true. Also known as the “Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa Cake,” the recipe requires only three ingredients: a cup of flour, a cup of sugar, and a cup of fruit cocktail in juice. Mix it together and bake until set, then serve with scoops of ice cream “to cut the sweetness” as her character recommends.

But can a recipe that simple really be that good? Curious, I rifled through my pantry for these three items and gave it a try myself.

Get the recipe: Dolly Parton’s Fruit Cocktail Cake 

How to Make Dolly Parton’s Fruit Cocktail Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, sugar, and fruit cocktail with juice in a bowl. Grease an 8×8-inch pan with cooking spray, then spread the mix until it is evenly coated. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Serve it warm with ice cream, or any other toppings of your choice!

Credit: Kiersten Hickman

My Honest Review

I’m not going to lie, I fully expected to not like this recipe. How could this dessert possibly taste good with only those three ingredients? Sure, the fruit cocktail helps to add some of that flavor. But without the other usual fruit cobbler ingredients in there — like baking powder, salt, spices, or heavy cream — I wasn’t expecting for it to have any taste at all.

I was very wrong. This easy fruit cocktail cake is actually delightful. Sure, it wasn’t the absolute best dessert I’ve had in the world. But for a simple three-ingredient dessert with pantry items that you likely already have on hand? I found myself really enjoying it, and even telling my friends about it. It was a touch on the sweeter side (just like Parton’s character said it would be), but when that warm cake is topped with creamy vanilla ice cream, I found myself finishing my bowl in a matter of minutes.

Tips for Making Dolly Parton’s Fruit Cocktail Cake

  • Add a sprinkle of salt: While I do think this batter worked for such a simple dessert, I found it to be a touch too sweet for my liking. I think a sprinkle of salt would help to balance out that sweetness — especially if you plan on topping it with a scoop of ice cream like Truvy Jones recommends.
  • Make sure the batter is thick: The can of fruit cocktail does have some juice, but try not to overdo how much juice you actually put in it. I think a thick batter works better, and is a lot more satisfying to eat once it’s baked. If it’s too thin, I would add a little more flour to the mix.

    Get the recipe: Dolly Parton’s Fruit Cocktail Cake