Taiwanese Fruit Cakes

Recipe by Dora Cavallo

A twist on Taiwanese pineapple cakes, these fruit cakes consist of a sweet and tangy homemade jam encased in a soft, buttery, shortbread-like dough. Traditionally served during Lunar New Year celebrations and other special occasions, these rectangular cakes represent prosperity and are often individually wrapped and presented as gifts. You can bake them in special rectangular molds (see “tips” below) or in mini muffin pans, and they make a great treat served with tea or as an after-school snack. 

1 hr
15 to 18 mins
3 hrs 20 mins
18 fruit cakes
This page contains affiliate links that allow King Arthur Baking Company to earn a sales commission at no additional cost to you.
Taiwanese Fruit Cakes - select to zoom
Taiwanese Fruit Cakes - select to zoom
Taiwanese Fruit Cakes - select to zoom
Taiwanese Fruit Cakes - select to zoom


Prevent your screen from going dark as you follow along.
  1. To make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Gently rub the zest into the sugar with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the butter to the bowl. 

  2. Using the flat beater attachment, beat the mixture until fluffy and light in color, about 1 minute on medium speed.  

  3. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. The mixture may look curdled; that’s OK. 

  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, dry milk, cornstarch, and salt. 

  5. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of the stand mixer and mix on low speed until combined. The dough will be very sticky. Scoop the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap or reusable wrap, and shape the dough into a 1" thick rectangle that measures about 3" x 6". Wrap tightly and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours or up to 24 hours, until firm. While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling. 

  6. To make the filling: In a small saucepan, combine the dried fruit blend, water, sugar, and lemon juice. 

  7. Bring the fruit mixture to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until much of the liquid has cooked off and large bubbles form and pop around the edges of the pan. 

  8. Remove from the heat, add the butter, and stir to incorporate. Cool for 5 minutes in the saucepan, then transfer the fruit mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse 10 times, or until it's mostly smooth, with some small chunks of fruit remaining. 

  9. Transfer the filling to a small bowl, cover, and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use, at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. The filling will thicken as it cools.  

  10. To assemble the fruit cakes: When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the upper third. If baking with traditional cake molds, line a baking sheet with parchment and place it directly on top of a second baking sheet. (See “tips” below for details on the specialty cake molds.) If baking in a mini muffin pan, place the pan directly onto a baking sheet. 

  11. Lightly grease the cake molds with nonstick spray or butter and place them 2" apart on the parchment-lined baking sheet. If baking in a mini muffin pan, lightly grease the wells of the pan.  

  12. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a floured surface. Score the dough with a bench knife in 1" intervals lengthwise and widthwise. Use this 3" x 6" grid to divide the dough into 18 equal pieces (about 1 tablespoon or 18g each).  

  13. Roll out each piece of dough with a floured rolling pin to 1/4" thick, aiming to achieve a rough rectangle or oval shape.  

  14. Place 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of the rolled-out dough. (A teaspoon scoop is a helpful tool here.) Fold the dough over the filling towards the center and pinch the edges together to seal the filling inside. Place the folded packet of dough and filling into a cake mold or mini muffin well seam-side down.  

  15. Lightly press the top flat and make sure it fills the shape of the mold or mini muffin well. Traditional cake molds come with a stamp that fits inside the molds for this purpose. If using a mini muffin pan, use your fingers or the bottom of a spice jar to press the tops flat. 

  16. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.  

  17. Bake the fruit cakes for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to brown and the tops of the cakes look matte. It is better to err on the shorter end of the bake time to avoid over-browning the bottoms. 

  18. Let the fruit cakes cool for 10 minutes before unmolding or removing them from the mini muffin pan. Let them cool completely on a wire rack. To serve, dust the fruit cakes lightly with confectioners’ sugar or Snow White Non-Melting Sugar.

  19. Storage information: Store leftover fruit cakes for up to 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature. 

Tips from our Bakers

  • Traditional Taiwanese fruit cake molds can be found online. This recipe was developed and tested with rectangular aluminum molds measuring 2" wide x 1 1/2" long x 5/8" deep. Using two sets of these molds will allow you to bake the fruit cakes in a single batch.