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Mom’s Best Layer Cakes- Japanese Fruit Cake Recipe


Rose Mary's mother and all of her aunts are great Southern cooks. She likes to think she's not so bad herself.

Among members of our extended family, my mother’s love of sweets is legendary, and I’m not talking candy bars. Mom always had homemade sweets in the house. At family dinners, everyone always wanted to know what my mom had made for desserts. While she sometimes baked pies, she was known for her cakes. This cake was a holiday treat. Mom only made it around Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Japanese fruit cake is a layer cake with filling between the layers. This is very different from traditional Christmas fruit cake, which is loaded with chopped fruit and nuts, usually made in a loaf or pound cake pan, and no frosting. You can find the traditional version in an article I wrote on Christmas cakes and cookies.

The Japanese version consists of two plain or “light” layers alternated with two “dark” layers with spices, nuts, and raisins. As a child and teen, I didn’t really appreciate this cake. It took me many years to be accepting of raisins. When I was young, they were an annoyance to be picked out of food! I didn’t like the texture. And to me, fruit cake was the Christmas version with nuts, candied cherries & pineapple, and yes, those pesky raisins. I actually preferred the much maligned traditional Christmas version.

Anyway, if you’re looking for something a little different, give this recipe a try. If you can’t trust a certified sweet tooth for a cake recipe, who can you trust?

Japanese Fruitcake with alternating light and dark layers

Japanese Fruitcake with alternating light and dark layers



  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 3 cups of flour (I use Pillsbury Softasilk, unsifted)
  • 2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Cream the butter and sugar together with your mixer.
  2. Add eggs one at a time and mix well.
  3. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder and soda together.
  4. Add vanilla to milk. Alternate adding flour mixture and milk to butter, sugar and eggs.
  5. Divide the batter in half, and pour first half into 2 greased and floured layer cake pans.
Two light and two dark layers

Two light and two dark layers

Additions for Remaining Batter


  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon of allspice
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of cloves

1. Divide the raisin-nut batter into 2 layer cake pans.

2. Bake all four layers for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.



  • Grated peel of 1 lemon
  • 1 large package frozen coconut, fine flake
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cup of boiling water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of flour


1. Mix flour and sugar, then add remaining ingredients.

2. Boil briefly on low heat.

3. Place dark layer on a plate. Apply filling to top. Add light layer, and top with filling. Again alternate to dark, then light layer.

Serving of Japanese Fruitcake

Serving of Japanese Fruitcake

© 2011 rmcrayne


Tanya Jones from Texas USA on August 23, 2014:

This sounds delish.

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on December 27, 2011:

Thanks Ladies for your support. If you try the cake, let me know how it comes out.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on December 20, 2011:

Sounds easy but that could be your easy to follow instructions. Love fruit cake though si this should suit me down to the ground

Susan Ream from Michigan on November 28, 2011:

I love fruit cake and like you, didn't learn to appreciate it until I grew up. This one is really unique and sounds scrumptious! It would make a perfect Christmas cake. Thanks!


Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on November 26, 2011:

Sounds scrumptious, can't wait to give it a try! PS I love raisins.

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