Dorothy Miller from Towson was looking for a recipe for what she called "Oriental fruitcake." She said the layer cake was made with pineapple, coconut, walnuts and raisins.
Faith Hermann from Relay sent in a recipe for a Japanese fruitcake that her mother used to make that she thought sounded very similar to the cake Miller had described. According to Bill Neal, author of "Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie," Japanese fruitcake is "an exotically named, typically Southern dessert cake, especially popular in the twentieth century. This same cake was once called Oriental cake, but there is nothing of the Far East about it, except the spices, none of which is Japanese in origin." Why this cake should bear this curious and confusing name is a mystery.
Hermann said her mother always made two two-layer cakes with this recipe instead of one large four-layer cake. That way she would have one cake to give away and one to enjoy at home.
While nothing about this luscious layer cake is remotely Japanese, it is easy to understand why, like classic fruitcake, it is enjoyed widely throughout the South as a holiday-season treat. No matter what this cake is called, its tempting combination of flavors will have even those who dislike fruitcake asking for a big slice.
Marie Cox from Bel Air would like to have the recipe for the creamed spinach that was served at the now-closed Haussner's Restaurant in Baltimore.
Mary Meyers from Perry Hall is looking for a recipe for black walnut cake that was served at the Akron Restaurant in Akron, Pa., which is now closed.
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Makes one four-layer cake or two two-layer cakes
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
6 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup walnuts, chopped, dusted with flour
2 cups raisins
Cream butter and sugar, add egg yolk, one at a time, until incorporated. Mix dry ingredients together; then add to creamed mixture, alternately with the milk and beat until just combined. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff and gently fold into batter. Add raisins and nuts dusted in flour, stirring as little as possible. Divide batter evenly between greased and floured 8-inch or 9-inch round layer pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1 1/2 cups boiling water
4 tablespoons flour
2 oranges, peeled and cut into small pieces
2 cups flaked coconut, divided use
Mix sugar, flour, cut oranges and pineapple together. Cook in boiling water for about 10 minutes or until thick. Add half of the coconut (1 cup) and cook 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Spread filling between layers and on top and sides. Use the remaining 1 cup of coconut on top and sides of finished cake.