Cream Cheese Gumdrop Cake

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I was baking last weekend for the a Spay Day Nova Scotia fundraiser.  When I asked around on social media what people would like to buy at a Christmas bake sale, one of the items mentioned was Gumdrop Cake.  I haven’t had it for years, but it does certainly bring back holiday memories and is soooo good, colourful like fruitcake without all the icky stuff.

Gum Drop Cake

I remember clipping a recipe for Gumdrop Cake out of a Sobeys flyer decades ago and keeping it inside one of my cookbooks, I think it just recently got recycled because I had never made it… so off to the interwebs I went for recipe ideas.  Here is the recipe I ended up making and will be baking again this year… but the next one will be staying in the house.

I remember clipping a recipe for Gumdrop Cake out of a Sobeys flyer decades ago and keeping it inside one of my cookbooks, I think it just recently got recycled because I had never made it… so off to the interwebs I went for recipe ideas.  Here is the recipe I ended up making and will be baking again this year… but the next one will be staying in the house.
Cream Cheese Gumdrop Cake
Adapted from Zesty Cook
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature (I used salted)
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 4 oz (half a block) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 lb gumdrops (or ju jubes or even little jelly dots would work, just don’t use the black ones, the flavour doesn’t go well)
If your candies are big like mine were, cut them in half with clean kitchen scissors so they spread through the cake more evenly.
In a stand mixer (or by hand if you are full of super human strength), cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar… really, you can’t do this part too much, the longer the better.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, as well as the two extracts.
Take half a cup of your flour and mix it with the candy, this will prevent them from both sticking together and falling to the bottom of the cake.  In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the dry ingredients and the milk alternately to the creamed mixture, mixing to combine between each addition (3 flour additions, 2 milk).  At the end, fold in the floured candies by hand.
Scrape the batter into a well buttered and floured (really, look at his mess… but when it comes to Bundt cakes where I can’t use parchment paper to line, I don’t screw around) Bundt pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven (325 convection) for approximately 75 minutes or it tests done with long toothpick… or until it looks like this…
Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then cross your fingers, pray to whomever or whatever you pray to and flip it over on a cooling rack to cool completely.  Hearing a Bundt quickly release from the pan and plop onto the cooling rack has to be one of the best sounds on Earth.
I decided to sell the cake in quarters (admittedly, one a teeny tiny bit smaller so I could sample… I had to make sure it was edible), so once it was cool I cut it up and wrapped the quarters in plastic wrap.
Then I bundled them up in some clear cellophane and tied them with ribbon and a tag.  Making any holiday loaf (but especially this one) and doing them up this way is a great gift idea for a neighbour, teacher, or any special person in your life.


  1. Charlotte says

    My mother’s aunt used to make gumdrop cake every Christmas. She would never give up the recipe, so the tradition died with her when she passed. My mom tried to duplicate it but was never able to get it right. I grew up in Nova Scotia but now live in Toronto. I made this cake yesterday and took it to work today. It was a howling success. I think it isn’t part of the Upper Canadian heritage. Based on the number of people who asked for the recipe I think it may become a standard in a few kitchens here. Thanks so much for this

    • Lynn Brown says

      Dear Charlotte,

      At least some Upper Canadians have known about gumdrop cake for decades. I am 70 years old, and my December birthday was always celebrated with a gumdrop cake throughout my Ontario childhood. My mother’s recipe included lemon rind (but no cream cheese), and as soon as I was old enough to articulate preferences I asked that my birthday cake have a lemon glaze instead of icing or a dusting of icing sugar.

      Thanks, Charlotte, for sharing this recipe. I tried (and like) it, and will use it again; but I omitted the almond extract and added the finely-grated rind of one big lemon.



  2. Susan Warrilow says

    How long will this cake last? Is it like Christmas cake, the longer the better. I was thinking of making it and giving as gifts in about 3 weeks.

  3. Audrey McF. says

    I make the gumdrop cake every year but lately the gumdrops sink to the bottom. I do flour them and it doesnt help. Has anyone had this problem? I am wondering if the baking gums would work the same. Oh yes…..and I am originally from Nova Scotia as well!!

    • says

      I haven’t ran into that problem yet. I did however buy baking gums this year, so whenever I get motivated to bake, I’ll let you know how it turns out :) I did cut mine up some, maybe they are just too heavy?

    • Charlotte says

      My mother’s attempts always yielded a gumdrop- free cake with a thick layer of gumdrops on the bottom. She used cut up sugared gumdrops dredged in flour. This is what I used in Heather’s recipe without the sinking problem. I cut them in half but they weren’t very small. They were evenly distributed throughout the cake. I purchased mine at Bulk Barn. I just bought more and will make it again before the New Year. I’ll follow up with news of my success or failure. I used all purpose flour.

  4. Beverly McSheffery says

    I have this cake in the oven as we speak, making gum drop cake seems to be somewhat of a traditional baked good here in New Brunswick. I usually make the one from the Barbour Cook Book but this year I wanted to try a different one. I did find it was too much dough for my bunt pan I have a padarno, so I put some dough into a loaf pan. I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks for the new reciepe

  5. Charlotte says

    9×5 loaf pan. I did this last night. I used 3/4 of the recipe. ie: 3/4 cup butter, 3 eggs, etc. Use a calculator and multiply x.75. It’s the perfect amount to fill a 9×5 loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 75 min. It will continue to bake when it comes out of the oven, so don’t be tempted to leave it in longer. I did not cut back on the gumdrops. I used the full pound. I think I prefer this to the tube pan. This will go in my regular Christmas goodie list. Thank you Heather for bringing this childhood memory back into my life.

    • Charlotte says

      I should have added that the best way to cut this is with a hot knife. Run the knife under very hot water, wipe it off and it will slice though the sticky gumdrop much easier.


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