Texas Tornado Cake Recipe

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I have had this recipe for decades and I am planning to include it in my upcoming ebook. I am not sure about the origin of the name, perhaps it refers to all the fruits, nuts and coconut looking like a “mess” a tornado left behind. This cake is also known as Fruit Cocktail Cake. This is a magical cake that is easy to make with most types of tinned fruit. When I was growing up, our pantry was filled with tinned goods. If you happen to have maraschino cherries in your pantry add some extra to the batter. We all know there are never enough cherries in that fruit cocktail mix. I recall fighting for those precious red cherries. There were eight of us and there were never eight cherries in one tin.

There are nuts in the cake and also nuts and coconut as a topping if you choose to use them. The cake is delicious without them. Nuts have become so expensive, I sometime substitute a chopped up fruit and nut granola bar. If you can’t eat nuts you can substitute crushed cornflakes or bran buds for texture.

This Texas Tornado Cake is delicious and I guarantee this will become a family favorite. There is no fat in the cake — it is in the sauce. The recipe for sauce creates more sauce than you may think you need but the cake will absorb it. If you find that you have some left over serve it on the side if you like. This is a very moist cake, add the coconut and nuts if you like or omit it. The cake tastes even better the next day as the sauce penetrates into it.

Texas Tornado Cake is a perfect potluck dessert and for the upcoming holidays.

Texas Tornado Cake

Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12



1-1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 14-oz. can fruit cocktail with juice or about 2 cups
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons salt

Cake Topping:

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk, or cream
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla or 2 tablespoons of rum

Optional Topping:

1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch pan or a Bundt pan.

To make Cake:

In a large bowl combine sugar, eggs and fruit cocktail with the syrup.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, salt and soda and then add to fruit mixture.
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and chopped nuts.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and sprinkle the sugar-nut mixture over the cake batter.
Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

As the cake is cooling make the Sauce:

Heat sugar, milk and butter (if using coconut add at this point) in saucepan and bring to a boil.
Let the sauce simmer and reduce for about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and add vanilla or rum and chopped nuts.
Pour over hot cake. Serve warm with whipped cream or frozen vanilla yogurt.
This cake will keep for several days at room temperature or refrigerated.

Chef Elizabeth

For more about my farm life and travels read my blog Bucky’s View.