Lower Carb Japanese Fruitcake

A cupcake with a swirl of white frosting on top inside a paper liner on a small plate.

I am a sucker for a new type of fruitcake recipe. This week I am making the Japanese Fruitcake recipe from Southern Living. It’s kind of weird that I found this recipe in a magazine for Southern US recipes. I looked around for an explanation, Delishably defined it as:

“There’s nothing Japanese about this cake, so where does the name come from? The answer, unfortunately, seems to have been lost. According to Bill Neal’s classic Southern cookbook, Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie, “Japanese fruitcake is an exotically named, typically Southern dessert cake, especially popular in the 20th 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.””


What’s interesting is they mention the fact that the cake does not contain candied fruit. I think that’s why many people don’t like traditional fruitcake. I too prefer dried fruit over candied fruit. Not only is it unhealthy, it doesn’t taste like fruit. That’s why my fruitcake recipes contain dried fruit instead of candied. Since this is a cake, I am making this easier to portion by making it into cupcakes. Looking at the rest of the recipe, I can make this lower carb by doing a few swaps. I still want to keep the raisins. So there will be some sugar, just not a ton.

Here are the original stats:

Here’s what I changed:

  • I replaced all of the sugar with their sweetener equivalent.
  • I replaced the all purpose flour with coconut and almond flours to replace the carbs.
  • I replaced the dairy milk with a non-dairy milk to replace the dairy.
  • I swapped out the butter in the cake to applesauce to lower the fat and calories.
  • I am making a lemon buttercream instead of the coconut lemon icing.

Here are the updated stats:

Here is the final recipe:

This is a close up of a cupcake where you can see the red fruit.  There is white frosting on top and the cake is inside a white paper wrapper.

Lower Carb Japanese Fruitcake

Makes 24 Cupcakes

For the cake batter

  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups granulated sweetener
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup any non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup Pecan halves, for topping

For the frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of powdered sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk
  1. Prepare two muffin tins with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add applesauce to a large bowl and gradually add sugar, beating well at medium speed of an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Combine flours and baking powder; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Stir in cinnamon and the next 3 ingredients.
  4. Divide the batter between the 24 muffin cups. Bake at 350˚ for 15 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
  5. For the frosting, cream the butter and sweetener together in a bowl. Add in the vanilla and lemon juice and mix well. Add in enough milk to make the frosting spreadable. Frost the cupcakes when completely cooled.

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