Marla 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
  • 3 1/4 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
  • 1 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 medium coconut, grated (3 1/2 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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