Truvy’s Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa from Steel Magnolias

Cuppa Cuppa CuppaMovie food grabs my attention. One favorite is Steel Magnolias.  I watch practically any time it airs — food has such an active role.  The Easter eggs getting smashed in Truvy’s car trunk starts it off.  Truvy (Dolly Parton) and Annelle (Darryl Hannah) scooping corn and potatoes at the fair while updating Shelby (Julia Roberts) on Annelle’s transformation.  M’Lynn (Sally Field) measuring sugar for holiday baked goods while Shelby is pouring her heart out about being pregnant.  Ouiser (Shirley MacLaine. And until I looked this up, I thought was WEEZER) hacking the tail off the armadillo-shaped groom’s cake to punctuate her feelings toward Drum.  Clairee (Olympia Dukakis) tossing cans of baked beans into the grocery shopping cart as she and Ouiser mull over Shelby’s upcoming surgery.

My favorite… Clairee asks Truvy for the recipe for her Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa.  It haunted me.  (put on your Dolly Parton voice:)  “Oh hell, Clairee, you don’t need a recipe.  It’s just a cup of flour, a cup of sugar and a cup of fruit cocktail WITH the syrup, stir and bake in a hot oven ‘til golden brown and bubbly.  I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness.”

Patti-Londre-Dolly-Parton It occurred to me recently that I had a photo of myself with Dolly from around 1978 when she was visiting LA. Larry was an ad agency guy then, and his longtime radio sales friend Dick McGeary invited us to meet this rising country star, a newbie to me. She was as sweet as Truvy. And very short; I’m bending my knees to scrunch my 5’8” frame down and she was wearing platform heels.

So, back to the movie. Was Truvy’s recipe worth making?  A few other bloggers who followed the recipe said pretty much the same thing.  Hillbilly Food.  That wasn’t enough to deter me so I made a batch and “I can report” (as Clairee would say) it’s more like college dorm food.  Sticky, super sweet, but only three ingredients, so there’s merit.   Annelle would like the fact that I will “Freeze It Beautifully” (the beans scene) until then.

Recipe: Truvy’s Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa from Steel Magnolias

Summary: Is Steel Magnolias one of your favorite movies? I tried Truvy’s recipe, and here it is.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fruit cocktail in heavy syrup


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, stir together ingredients. Spray an 8 x 8 inch square pan with non-stick spray and spoon in batter, spread to the edges. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Allow to cool until warm to the touch, cut into 16 squares.

Meal type: dessert

Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Worth The Whisk August 21, 2014 at 5:34 am

Shelley, if you followed Truvy’s directions as written, you end up with Truvy’s dessert, which in some circles would indeed be called “crap.” It’s just a sweet, sticky result. No layers.

2 Shelley's August 14, 2014 at 7:03 pm

I made the cuppa flour, cuppa syrup, cuppa fruit cocktail. Crap. Made the cuppa group with butter. Crap. Made it with sugar instead of syrup. Crap. Do I layer it and not mix it? That. It worked.

3 Monique T. Sharp-Wanamaker June 13, 2014 at 2:35 pm

I’m not sure if my oven is slow or what. Did anyone else end up cooking it longer than the recipe said, checking on it at 5-10 minute intervals?

4 Monique Sharp-Wanamaker June 11, 2014 at 11:24 am

The first time I made this was for my family’s annual Fourth of July Picnic 2013. I didn’t have a proper electric mixer, so I had to use an old margarine tub and a spoon. It came out a little wet, according to my Dad. I must’ve used too much juice. Or I didn’t bake it long enough. Not sure. The second time I made it was for a picnic my husband and I went to. One of our friends liked it so much, I ended up making one just for him a few weeks later, per his request. I intend to make one this weekend for another event my husband and I will be hosting. And, yes, I’m serving it with vanilla ice cream!!!!!

5 Kate February 9, 2014 at 4:07 am

The stage production, which is the original, is different in that the cuppa recipe is CLAIREE’s! She is the recipe queen in the play! Her version is with sugar and she “serves it with ice cream to cut the sweet.” My theatre is performing the play and our Clairee gave us opening night gifts with the ingredients and accompanying recipe.

6 Red October 4, 2013 at 9:49 am

If you don’t have a copy of the film, YouTube it! The recipe is, and I quote: a cuppa flour, a cuppa sugar, a cuppa fruit cocktail with the juice. Mix and bake at 350 til golden bubbly. No corn syrup…no heavy syrup. I’m off to make mine now!

7 Dan August 26, 2013 at 12:22 pm

@ Trish

The movie recipe does say sugar.
The corn syrup reference was for a previous recipe when Clairee is asking about chocolate chips.

8 Kat August 15, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Loved the post! We got this recipe when we lived in Japan in the 80’s. Did not realize it was in the movie. But mom omitted the sugar.

1 cup butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 can fruit, my fav is cherries or blackberry
Dump into baking dish, do not stir, bake at 350° 20ish min.

I stirred it once and it did not set correctly!

9 lauri July 7, 2013 at 11:45 am

Trish there is no corn syrup in Truvys recipe. The corn syrup was in the recipe clairee was reading before this one.

10 Worth The Whisk July 6, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Thanks, Trish. I will watch the movie again and listen for the corn syrup, that doesn’t sound familiar to me. But you are probably right. And I will also listen to see if Truvy says “oh hell” to Clairee. My memory!

11 TRISH July 5, 2013 at 9:57 pm

The cupa, cupa, cupa recipie in the movie goes like this: cupa flour, cupa corn syrup, cupa fruit cocktail with the juice. no mention of sugar. “clairee” even asks if she is supposed to use “light” or “dark” syrup, “Truvy” tells her it is a matter of preference. Mix and then bake at 350 till gold and bubbly. Maybe the reason why yours was so sticky sweet is because you used sugar AND fruit cocktail in heavy syrup. For someone who adores the movie and watches it every time the thing airs, you would think that you could get the ingredients right since as you said there are only three. (not counting the ice cream to cut the sweetness.) And one more thing in your quote. Truvy does not curse at Clairee, she just tells her she doesnt neeed to write it down.

12 Julia May 13, 2013 at 6:17 am

Thank you for posting this WtW, I’m planning to make it this weekend for my theater group’s production of the play to serve during intermission. I’ll cut the sugar in half, as some here have suggested and bake it and serve it in cupcake foils, as that makes it for easier serving– and hopefully more donations.

13 NB1968 April 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm

I have been looking for this recipe for YEARS!!!! Thank you so much tfor posting it. I can not WAIT to try it. Plus, I, like the others will use the cup of butter….YUM!!!

14 Raven February 5, 2013 at 6:02 am

Hello I have gone through all the posts and I am def going to try it tonight! Idk about adding a cup of butter to it though.

15 Andrea January 1, 2013 at 7:55 pm

My husband spoiled me tonight by making this for me as a special treat. Steel Magnolias is my favorite movie (our oldest son is named Jackson!) and I’ve always said that I wanted to try Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa but never did so we thought starting off 2013 on a super sweet note was the way to go! We read all of the comments and decided to add a cup of butter to the recipe as suggested and top it off with Vanilla Bean ice cream. It was delicious! Not too sweet at all and Jackson loved it too! I’m so glad that I finally tried this recipe! Happy New Year to you and we hope that 2013 stays this sweet!!

16 Worth The Whisk November 17, 2012 at 7:59 am

Bey, you warm my little ‘ol heart!

17 Bey November 14, 2012 at 11:47 pm

I googled cuppa cuppa cuppa, and your website came up. He He He I knew there would be many submissions and modification suggestions to the recipe. I was thinking of trying it for Thanksgiving, but not sure the ice cream requirement would fit well with Fall weather and the rest of my menu.

I did want to say you’re giving Ms. Dolly a run for her money in that photo. You remind me of a young Joan Lunden. Very pretty, then and now. I, too, like your writing style. Good memories, Emotion, and Food go together more than people realize. And I think it’s the best way to approach cooking and baking.

The best part of the cuppa cuppa scene to me is Clairee’s pronunciation! LOL

18 sweetd October 27, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Def use self rising flour and I cut the sugar in half and use light syrup or own-juice type cocktail. Worked just fine for me less sweet. I actually measure out a cup of juice first and make the batter and then add the fruit last. That way you can gage more or less fruit depending on your own taste. What’s hillbilly food exactly? Isn’t all American food kind of hillbilly?

19 Kelly September 19, 2012 at 3:57 am

I’d probably try it with self-rising flour and bet it would make for a better dish 😀

20 Worth The Whisk August 24, 2012 at 11:12 am

Sunlover, I would say the heavy syrup is part of the chemistry of this cake. If you make it with “own juice” fruit, it may be a gloppy mess. I have to say, if you don’t like REALLY REALLY SWEET, you won’t like this. My teeth hurt just thinking about it.

21 Sunlover August 22, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I’m thinking about making this cake to take to a crop (scrapbook event) this weekend. Really, really sweet is not my thing and I wonder if I can use fruit cocktail in its own juice in place of the one in heavy syrup.

22 Katie August 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm

I added 3 or 4 tablespoons of melted butter. This is such a good recipe!!

23 Daniela February 28, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I think I would try this with a splenda blend and maybe a light syrup for a slightly less sweet mix….but I do want to play with this recipe. Thanks.

24 Worth The Whisk February 17, 2012 at 7:57 am

Thank you for the perspective, Sheila. In 1978, country music just wasn’t a big deal here in Los Angeles. I do love Dolly.

25 Sheila February 16, 2012 at 9:12 pm

FYI, Dolly Parton was FAR from a rising star in 1978. In 1967 she became a regular on the Porter Waggoner show. And in 1974, her song, “I Will Always Love You,” went to # 1.

26 Amy Beane November 1, 2011 at 3:44 am

I am currently playing Truvy in the play, so to quote Ouiser, “I am intrigued.” Anyway, what I discovered is that it they left off one cuppa. It is much better with a cuppa butter mixed in!

27 Stephani October 14, 2011 at 6:31 pm

I’ve been dying to try this. And i’m going to this weekend.
And I’m sorry to split hairs, but “hillbilly” and “southern” are not (always) the same thing. The story takes place in Louisiana. Very few hills or mountains in that state. I’m betting the recipe is a relic from the 50s when ladies’ magazines were publishing unholy combinations of canned and other prepared foods.
And from what I can see in the Christmas festival scene, Truvy and Annelle are scooping up a Low-country Boil. Delish!

28 Trivia Lover October 1, 2011 at 9:11 am

My fav movie of all time!…and has anyone figured out just exactly what Dolly Parton was dishing up at that Christmas Festival? Has anyone found the recipe?
That festival is in fact real in that town and I would imagine that it is served there every year. There is a web site for the festival but I don’t see a list of what all is served.

29 sal September 1, 2011 at 6:06 pm

My hillbilly grandma made it with canned peaches sitting on top rather than mixed in. Truly sophisticated tasting. Divine. Since, I’m from Hawaii, I’m making mine with white wholegrain flour (like that used in Sara Lee white whole grain bread) and sweetened mangos on top.

30 Worth The Whisk April 17, 2011 at 11:46 am

WOW, now I have to see the play. Maybe the way Truvy delivers the lines is just funnier.

31 Ronni April 16, 2011 at 7:16 am

In the play, it’s actually Clairee’s recipe…don’t know why they switched it for the movie.

32 Christina January 11, 2011 at 11:45 am

Not really a hilbilly recipe. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and my mom used to make something similar using fruit pie filling, boxed cake mix and squeezy parkay. Put 2 cans of pie filling in greased cassarole dish, cover with contence of cake mix box and dot with butter or the squezy parkay, bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until light golden brown.
This was Piecake. I loved it with cherry pie filling but any fruit pie filling will do

33 Worth The Whisk December 20, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Karen – I don’t see why not. The concoction is pretty sticky and sweet anyway. If you do so, please report your results!

34 Karen December 20, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I wonder if you can make this with heavy syrup-ed (is that a word) pineapple?

35 Worth The Whisk December 20, 2010 at 8:59 am

Damien, I luv hillbillies, LOL. Best cooks out there. 😀

36 Damien December 19, 2010 at 10:03 pm

This is a common southern recipe… often called fruit cocktail cake. I don’t agree that peaches make it better, then it just tastes like a super sweet peach cobbler. The best fruit cocktail to use is the extra cherries. I serve it warm and always with ice cream on top. It is way too sweet without it. Made my night running into this recipe blog. I guess I’m a “hillbilly”

37 Worth The Whisk September 17, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Helen, you are so sweet. Thank you for your support about my writing style. Great way to end the week, thanks!

38 Helen September 17, 2010 at 1:09 pm

I’m thrilled to see your recipe and anecdotes from the film. I’m going to try it, just to pay homage to the film pretty much as you have done :)

Please don’t change your writing style no matter what some other rude poster has said. There are many recipe sites, if one doesn’t appeal you can find another. There’s no need to be ignorant though

39 Worth The Whisk June 30, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I’ve heard a few variations, such as canned peaches. But always serve it topped with ice cream, “to cut the sweetness” as Truvy said in the movie. It really does.

40 wongrclv June 30, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I have mine in the oven right now, this is the first time I am making this. I hope it comes out alright. Can you use any kind of canned fruit?

41 Annie'sKitchen June 27, 2010 at 9:44 am

Try it using canned peaches……Much better and also it works best with self-rising flour! Always top with ice cream!

42 Worth The Whisk June 19, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Hi Jay, sorry to disappoint you with my post. The recipe turns out sticky sweet. If YOU like “sticky sweet,” give it a try. I ate it but probably won’t make it again because it is so sweet. That is why Truvy recommended topping it with ice cream; that wasn’t a joke, it does cut the sweetness. The photo is exactly what it looks like when done.

43 Jay June 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Your reviews are of little to no worth. What about the ‘Cuppa’ recipe? Is it edible? Does it end up a sticky mess? Your comments were about loving the film, not how the thing turned out. Do i waste my time and ingredents making it or not?

44 Ashley Rose January 24, 2010 at 10:13 am

I have been wondering if i can make this and i am very excited now to runt o my kitchen and make this for my boys. I will also make this on my next girls night movie with steel magnolias

45 Sarah Foerster September 11, 2009 at 4:50 pm

I will speak in my Dolly P voice while making this, y’all!

46 Jada September 10, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Looooove Steel Magnolias! Those lines you recite make me nostalgic : )

47 Jen @ MaplenCornbread September 9, 2009 at 5:52 pm

I loved that movie and this cuppa cuppa!!!

48 VeggieGirl September 9, 2009 at 11:05 am

Love the film AND that treat! :)

49 BethieofVA September 9, 2009 at 10:26 am

I love it!! Great movie, great food, great fun!

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