The Frau Erica Project
Muellers in America:
The first 154 years





 
 
       

Molly turned 90 in ’09 and three generations were in town to celebrate.

Nana’s 100 Year-old Fruitcake

Molly McMillan — Nana to most generations — sent fruitcake to family members at Christmastime. Her handwritten recipe credits the Minnesota Centennial Cookbook as a starting point but includes her own refinements. Where the original called for two cups of water, Molly replaced a half cup of the water with an equal amount of scotch or bourbon.


The basic recipe

2 cups raisins
2 cups chopped dates
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups water
(may substitute scotch or bourbon for a half cup of the water)
5 tbs. shortening
1 tsp. each cinnamon, cloves, baking soda
½ tsp. salt
 
1 cup chopped walnut meats
1 cup thick, unsweetened apple sauce
½ lb. mixed candied fruit
2 cups flour, plus a bit more if needed

Cook raisins, dates, brown sugar, shortening, and water (or water/scotch) for 20 minutes. Cool.

Add remaining ingredients. Fill loaf pans, greased and lined with four thicknesses of wax paper. Decorate with candied fruit.

Bake for 2 hours at 300° — 1½ hours for small loaf pans.


On the reverse side of her handwritten recipe, Molly noted that the recipe had evolved over the years. “This is a moist cake, improving with age. Bake in November.” She then offers measurements for tripling and quadrupling the recipe, which is how she often made it.

To triple the recipe (ca. 13 small loaves):

6 cups raisins
1 lb. chopped dates
2 lbs. brown sugar
4 cups water
1½ cups scotch
1 scant cup shortening
3 tsp. each cinnamon, cloves, baking soda
1 tsp. salt
 
3 cups walnuts, chopped
3 cups thick, unsweetened apple sauce
2 lbs. mixed candied fruit
6 cups flour (dipped, not sifted)
plus up to 1 cup more if needed

To quadruple (23 small loaves in 2000):

8 cups raisins
8 cups chopped dates
2 lbs. plus 2 cups brown sugar
6 cups water
2 cups scotch
1¼ cup shortening
4 tsp. each cinnamon, cloves, baking soda
2 tsp. salt
 
4 cups walnuts, chopped (used pecans in 2000)
4 cups thick, unsweetened apple sauce
2½ lbs. mixed candied fruit (3 lbs. in 2000)
8 cups flour (dipped, not sifted)
plus up to 1 cup more if needed


Molly added these notes:
   from 2000: “Two thicknesses of wax paper are sufficient”
   from 2002: “16 small loaves, baked on cookie sheets for 1 hour”