The Olympia Kitchen

Eugenia’s Fruitcake


Fruitcake evokes strong emotions! I grew up in the South where fruitcake played a part in every holiday celebration. So, whether you love fruitcake or not (and it is a love or hate thing), it is a traditional treat at this time of the year. I encourage you to give this recipe a try.

This fruitcake recipe is from my friend, Marcia Hamilton – actually, from her mother, Eugenia Woolman. I made Marcia’s recipe last year, and sprinkled the completed cakes with a little brandy. They were delicious.

Marcia told me that when she was growing up her mother and she would make fruitcake and plum pudding in October and then ceremoniously soak them all in a brandy or wine syrup.  “The fun part was decorating them with candied fruit and nuts, wrapping them and giving them to friends for Christmas,” she said. 

Marcia’s mother, Eugenia, was born on December 25 many years ago. Baking was de rigeur for the holidays. “I stopped baking fruitcake years ago,” Marcia told me, “but did again this year per my husband’s request.  I found the old recipe in my mother’s cookbook, handwritten by me, stained and annotated. The fruitcakes were as good as ever.  The secret is boiling the fruit and sugars together.” 

Eugenia's Fruitcake Recipe

The following recipe makes one large fruitcake (traditionally in a tube pan) or three small loaves.   See printable .PDF file attached to this story. 

Preheat the oven to 275 (low) and prepare the pan(s) with greased wax paper.


1 cup cut dates
1 cup raisins
2/3 cup butter
1 ¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 ½ cup hot water

2 eggs
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3 – 4 cups candied fruit and citron (32 oz pack holiday fruit)

3 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp  salt


Boil together the first six ingredients – dates, raisins, butter, brown sugar, molasses and hot water.  

Cool the mixture and add the eggs, nuts and fruit.

Sift together the flour and other dry ingredients, then fold them into the cooled mixture.

Spoon the cake batter into pans and place in the oven for 2.5 to 3 hours!  Bake very slowly until a toothpick comes out clean.  Keep in a cool place and brush with brandy once a week. 

Slice thin to serve. Enjoy!

Shannon Beigert is a chef and baker who loves to entertain guests at her Olympia home. If you want to let her know that this recipe worked well for you, send her a note at


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here