When I went to Kansas in March to visit my dearly missed friends, one of the nights we got together, my friend Julie shared this cake with us. This cake seems, should I say-homely, but let me tell you that it tastes fantastic. It is easy to make with minimal ingredients and it is quite unique. We could not come up with any idea why it is called Arabian Fruity Cake. Julie has had this recipe since the early 70’s in a cookbook someone gave her while she was in college. It is called The Campus Survival Guide by Jacqueline Wood (Feb. 1973). If you want the cookbook, which also has a volume 2 as well, you can get it new from Amazon for only $129.00! Oh, you can also get a number of used ones from Amazon for around $1.80!
This cake is made with whole wheat flour, wheat germ, honey and most interestingly, pureed canned fruit cocktail. I made some ever-so-slight changes to the recipe, but mostly to make it easier and a little more 21st century friendly. ;) The original recipes says to strain the fruit through a sieve by pressing it with a spoon. Food processor all the way for me!
What really makes this cake taste so great is the brown sugar, butter-rich topping that the recipe even gives a warning in all caps for—DO NOT SERVE CAKE WITHOUT ITS TOPPING. It says “their natural affnity for each other makes this the greatest!” You’ve got to give this cake a try sometime! It’s easy and really just has such a unique flavor (it doesn’t taste fruity at all)! The header to the cake recipe also says “the flavor is subtly reminiscent of Arabian delights.” I was not able to find anything on the internet that led to any Arabian desserts or cakes similar to this.
Arabian Fruity Cake, adapted from The Campus Survival Guide by Katrina, Baking and Boys!
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can fruit cocktail, drained
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
In the bowl of an electric mixer (though I’ve made the cake twice and once by hand) , mix together the whole wheat flour, wheat germ, honey and brown sugar. Pulse the drained fruit cocktail in a food processor until smooth. Add the pureed fruit to the other ingredients and mix well. Add the egg, baking soda and salt and combine well. Pour into the baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch. Cool on wire rack. Serves 9.
1/2 cup butter (I used Bestlife butter baking sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup evaporated milk (I used fat free)
Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan and melt together. Stir over medium heat about 5 minutes, until thickened.
Serve each piece of cake smothered with topping (one or two tablespoonfuls), but add it to each individual piece. Store leftover topping in the fridge. It will thicken up when cold, but you can put some on top of a piece of cake and microwave it for 15-20 seconds and it will melt down over the cake perfectly.
Here is the chilling topping. And the rather plain looking cake. It tastes better than you imagine.
Thanks for the fun recipe/cake, Julie!