Wednesday, November 7, 2007

japanese fruit cake

as i remember, in early2mid-november mother would place an order with mrs brown. mrs brown sold cakes and pies back in my hometown. her baked goods arrived at the appointed time; they were placed on the dining room table for everyone to view and eat. i loved her sweet potato meringue pie; her japanese fruit cake became an addiction;

now: magnificent obsession.

this cake is not a 'fruitcake'. it contains raisins; other dried fruits can be added. ny times published the recipe back when (1980?); i saved the clipping; baked the cake for a friend's party; well.

recently found a foto of japanese fruit cake; rare google offering;

it's not mrs brown's masterpiece. her cake was 3 layered: spice layer between 2 white layers; she 'frosted' her cake with a lemon-coconut fondant glaze; glazes usually become a part of the cake they cover.... not so with mrs brown's: it was perfect: better than icing; bittersweet candy. throughout the holiday her cake would remain in the dining room. always edible, the glaze would fall away in little child-sized chips.

the nytimes recipe and others that i've found indicate constarch or even plain flour to make the 'glaze'. mrs brown cannot tell her secrets; would she anyway? i must do the research as usual.

we'll do it right for you; traditional recipe, etc. ::::let the games begin:

NYtimes (Dec 8, 1982) Japanese Fruitcake
Cake Layers:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus butter for greasing pans
3-1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus flour for dusting pans
2 cups sugar
4 large or 5 small eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup dark raisins
3/4 cup pecans
Filling and frosting
1-1/2 cups water
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
3 cups grated fresh or canned coconut
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Butter insides of 2 9-inch layer cake pans. Sprinkle with flour and shake out excess.
3. Cream together sugar and 1/2 pound of butter in mixing bowl until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Sift together 3-1/3 cups flour and baking powder; add mixture to batter alternating with milk and vanilla.
5. Spoon and scrape half batter into one of prepared pans; smooth over top with spatula. set aside.
6. To remaining batter add allspice, cinnamon and cloves.
7. Chop raisins and pecans; add them. Blend well. Spoon and scrape mixture into second prepared pan; smooth over top. Place in oven; bake 25 to 35 minutes or until straw inserted into center comes out clean. White cake will cook faster than fruit and nut cake.
8. Remove layers from oven; cool on rack for 5 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack; let stand until complete cool.
9. To prepare filling: combine 1 cup of water, lemon juice, lemon rind, 2 cups of coconut and sugar in saucepan; bring to a boil.
10. Combine cornstarch with remaining 1/2 cup of water. Blend well; stir this into sauce. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture mounds or lumps when dropped from spoon. (the temperature should be 206 to 210 degrees) Let cool.
11. Place fruit and nut cake on cake plate; frost the top. Top this with white cake. Frost cake, top and sides. Sprinkle remaining coconut over cake. Cake may be served immediately, but is best if left to stand a day or so.
Yield: 12 or more servings.

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