I Made the Cuppa Cake Recipe from Steel Magnolias and It’s the Quickest, Easiest Dessert

Dolly knows best! Learn how to make the iconic three-ingredient recipe for cuppa cake from Steel Magnolias.

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Dolly Parton is well known as a singer-songwriter. She’s also known for her time on screen in a variety of roles. But perhaps one of her most-loved roles was when Dolly played Truvy Jones in the 1989 movie Steel Magnolias.

In the movie, Truvy shares her recipe for a simple treat—a cuppa cake—made with a cup o’ flour, a cup o’ sugar and a cup o’ fruit cocktail with the juice. She says it’s so simple, you don’t even need to write it down. And with just three ingredients, we knew we had to put this iconic movie recipe to the test.

How to Make Truvy’s Cuppa Cake

This recipe is from Steel Magnolias, the 1989 movie starring Dolly Parton. It was also printed in Dolly’s book Dolly’s Dixie Fixin’s. It’s made with three simple ingredients that can be found at any store.


Cuppa Cake from 'Steel Magnolias'Molly Allen for Taste of Home

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fruit cocktail, with juice


Step 1: Prep the batter

Cuppa Cake from 'Steel Magnolias'Molly Allen for Taste of Home

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8-in. square baking dish, or an 8-in. round dish. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and fruit cocktail. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir until a batter forms.

Step 2: Bake until golden and bubbly

Cuppa Cake from 'Steel Magnolias'Molly Allen for Taste of Home

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Smooth with a spatula. Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown or “gold and bubbly” as Truvy says in the movie.

Step 3: Cool and serve

Cuppa Cake from 'Steel Magnolias'Molly Allen for Taste of Home

Once baked, remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Serve the cake warm with vanilla ice cream and extra cherries. If you’re looking for more, you must try Dolly Parton’s ideal birthday cake.

Does Her Cuppa Cake Recipe Work?

Truvy’s recipe definitely produces a sweet treat, but it’s not fair to call it a cake. It’s closer to a cobbler with a dense, rich texture. The fruit cocktail adds moisture to the mixture of flour and sugar allowing it to bake. But without some sort of leavening agent, such as baking powder or baking soda, it doesn’t quite get the rise needed to achieve a fluffy cake texture.

In the movie, Truvy says she likes to serve it over ice cream to “cut the sweetness,” which is the perfect combination. We tried it with vanilla ice cream, but a fruit ice cream such as peaches-and-cream or cherry ice cream would be fantastic. While it’s not really a cake, the result is still delicious and would quickly (and simply!) cure any sweet tooth in a pinch.

Molly Allen
Molly Allen is a previous bakery owner and former event planner. Now, a freelance writer and editor focused on food and beverage, lifestyle, travel and parties, she brings her years of experience and industry knowledge to readers across a variety of platforms.