All I Want for Christmas is Japanese Fruitcake

December 9, 2012 | By | Comments (7)

cake2 All I Want for Christmas is Japanese FruitcakeMarla Kay Dandrea of Summerfield, Florida’s requested a recipe for Japanese Fruitcake, like her grandmother used to make. This cake was a big hit in the 40s and 50s, though no one seems to know why a 3-layer spice cake with a yellow layer in the middle and coconut frosting is called “Japanese.” Does anyone know the answer? 

Japanese Fruitcake
Makes 12 servings
Hands-on time: 30 minutes Total time: 50 minutes
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
31/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup raisins
Lemon-Coconut Frosting
Garnish: pecan halves

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cream butter; gradually add sugar, beating well at medium speed of an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

2. Combine flour and baking powder; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix after each addition.  Stir in vanilla.

3. Pour one-third of batter into a greased and floured 9-inch round cakepan.

4. Stir cinnamon and next 3 ingredients into remaining batter; pour into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans.

5. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

6. Spread Lemon-Coconut Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake, stacking white layer between spiced layers. Garnish, if desired.

Lemon-Coconut Frosting

2 tablespoons cornstarch
11/2 cups water, divided
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
31/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 medium coconut, grated (31/2 cups)

1. Dissolve cornstarch in 1/2 cup water.

2. Bring remaining 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in sugar, lemon rind, and lemon juice. Return to a boil, and cook to soft ball stage (236°), stirring often.

3. Gradually stir in cornstarch mixture; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until misture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in coconut. Cool. Stir frosting just before spreading on cake.

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  1. Valinda Holloway

    My Mom used to make a cake at Chirstmas she called Japanese Fruit Cake. It had some of the same ingredients listed but put together differently. She made 2 layers of spice cake. The icing included rasins, coconut, nuts and other ingredients (that I don’t remember. These were ground together and cooked. I don’t have her recipe. Can anyone help me with this

    January 28, 2016 at 9:13 am
  2. Bettie

    My mom use to bake this cake every year at Christmas. This was the very best cake out all cakes. So many of the people who knew my mom wants me to bake this cake. Maybe one day.

    January 27, 2016 at 9:54 pm
  3. Mamie

    I have made this cake for several years.My problem is that the slices don’t come out as smooth as your. My slices crumble. What am I doing wrong?

    December 15, 2014 at 8:58 am
  4. Margaret Harman

    I am 76 years old and a North Carolina native. I remember that Japanese Fruit cake so well. Forget about fruit cake. Perhaps I can get my daughter to make one this year for me.

    December 7, 2014 at 1:30 pm
  5. Barbara Bryner

    Looking for “Ozella Lipscomb’s japanese fruit cake” made as a sheet cake 50 yrs. or so again by a Ga. friend of my mother’s, with ingredients similar to those in on-line recipes. I know I used to have it. My college roommate’s grandmother’s recipe called for apple, raisens, coconut, & nuts but no lemon or cherries.

    August 10, 2014 at 6:04 pm
  6. Lynda Hester

    My two great aunts made this cake every Christmas for our large family gathering, but it had four layers – 2 spice and 2 white. They would make it a week or ten days ahead of Christmas and keep it in the refriegerator where the flavors would soak in and meld. The very thought of a slice of this spicey, sweet, tart cake still makes my mouth water. Maybe I’ll pull out my recipe and make one this Christmas. Thanks for the reminder of so many Christmases past.

    December 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm
  7. Shelia Wilbur

    My Grandmother made this wonderful cake for our family every Christmas. She was a widow and did not drine her neighbors were so good to her and took her to the store for all these yummy ingredients. This sure brings back memories of my childhood. I am making copies of the reicpe.

    December 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm

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