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Oriental Fruit Cake - Bill Neal's Japanese Fruitcake
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Fruitcake with raisins and pecans, coconut filling and lemon icing, from Favorite Fritcakes by Moira Hodgson

Barb Revere

Serves/Makes:1 4-layer cake, iced

  • For the cake:
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1-7/8 cups (450 ml) sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2-2/3 cups (625 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder
  • 2/3 tsp (3 ml) salt
  • 1 cup (225 ml) milk
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) brandy
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) cloves
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) allspice
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped raisins
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped pecans
  • For the filling:
  • 1 medium coconut
  • 1-1/2 cups (350 ml) sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) cornstarch
  • pinch salt
  • 2 lemons, grated zest and juice only
  • For the fluffy icing:
  • 1 cup (225 ml) sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) water
  • 1/4 tsp (1 ml) cream of tartar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped raisins or pecans
  • The Cakes:
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 C.).
  • Grease and flour 4 round 9 inch cake pans.
  • Beat butter until light & fluffy, then slowly add the sugar.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, and beat well after each addition.
  • The mixture must be very fluffy, so beat some more!
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Alternating a little at a time, add flour and milk to batter, starting and ending with flour mixture.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff, then fold into batter.
  • Stir in vanilla and brandy.
  • Divide the batter into 2 batches.
  • Divide one batch between 2 of the pans.
  • To the 2nd batch, mix in spices, raisins and nuts.
  • Divide this dark batter between the 3rd and 4th pans.
  • Bake all the cakes 30 minutes in pre-heated oven.
  • Tops should be golden, edges are beginning to pull away from sides of pans.
  • The Coconut Filling:
  • Drain juice from coconut and reserve.
  • Crack coconut and, peel flesh, and grate nut meat.
  • Add the nut meat and sugar to saucepan.
  • Measure coconut liquid.
  • Add water if needed to make 3/4 cup (175 ml).
  • Add to nut and sugar in saucepan and bring to boil.
  • Continue to boil and cook 5 minutes.
  • Dissolve cornstarch in 2 tbsp (30 ml) water.
  • Slowly add some hot liquid from pan into cornstarch-water mixture. Then add all back to pan.
  • Stirring constantly, simmer for 3 to 4 minutes to thicken.
  • Allow to cool while making Fluffy Icing.
  • The Fluffy Icing:
  • Combine sugar, water, cream of tartar, and salt in saucepan.
  • Bring to boil and cook 5 minutes.
  • Beat egg whites until frothy.
  • Continue beating and slowly add the hot syrup to the whites.
  • Continue to beat at high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  • Add lemon juice and fruit or nuts.
  • Assembly:
  • Start with one dark layer.
  • Top with 1/3 coconut filling.
  • Add a light layer.
  • Top with 1/3 filling.
  • Top with a dark layer.
  • Top with last of the filling.
  • Frost the outside with the Fluffy Icing.
  • Whew!
The author says this is a typical southern style fruit cake and not Asian or Japanese at all. She does not know why this type of cake was called Japanese. I have a cookbook of desserts (c. 1960)from Officers wives of the U. S. Army and there are several examples of this type of cake. If this cake is too complicated, email me and I'll try to provide another, simpler preparation. I. E. One that uses packaged coconut!!

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