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.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278 or email If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate piece of paper and be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Name and hometown must accompany recipes in order to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letter and recipes may be edited for clarity.

Japanese fruitcake

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