Vi’s Fruitcake

This recipe was developed by my friend Judy Begley Trimarchi’s mother, Violet (Vi) Begley.

Don’t be afraid!

Yes, it’s fruitcake, but not the kind of fruitcake that your parents warned you about. This cake is full of raisins, dates, and walnuts with some candied fruit, held together by a moist spice cake flavored with molasses, apple jelly, coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves.

Try it, you will be surprised! When I was first offered a piece of this fruitcake, I was reluctant to try it, but I quickly changed my mind and ate two more pieces.

Servings: 48 cupcakes

1 cup shortening
2 cups brown sugar
6 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
¾ cup brewed coffee
½ cup apple jelly
½ cup molasses
1 lb raisins
½ lb currants
½ lb dates, chopped
½ lb nuts, coarsely chopped
1 lb candied fruit

  1. Cream shortening and sugar.
  2. Beat in eggs.
  3. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt & spices.
  4. Stir in flour mixture alternately with liquids (coffee, jelly & molasses) until well combined.
  5. Stir in fruit and nuts.
  6. Pour into greased and floured loaf pans or lined cupcake pans, filling almost to the top.
  7. Bake at 300℉ until a toothpick comes out clean. Cupcakes about 25 minutes, 2″x 4″ loaf about 45-50 minutes.
  • You can substitute other dried fruit for any of those listed. This year we used dried pineapple & dried cherries instead of the candied fruit – yum!
  • You can substitute another mild-flavored jelly if you prefer.


Beau Monde Seasoning

My mom used to keep this seasoning, made by Spice Islands, on hand.  I used to put it on everything. It is a versatile mixture of spices that can be used to perk up the flavor of beef, pork, poultry, seafood, vegetables, soups, salads and eggs. Beau Monde is often used with homemade dips, salad dressings and sauces.

This recipe is found on many different sites online.

1 Tbsp ground cloves
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp ground bay leaf
1 Tbsp ground allspice
2 Tbsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp ground white pepper
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground mace
1 tsp celery seed

  1. In a small mixing bowl, mix together all ingredients.
  2. Pour into a tightly closed jar and store in a cool, dry place.

Molasses Crinkles

Betty Crocker’s Boys and Girls Cook Book
This is the cookbook that I was given when I was 10 years old and was given permission to cook by myself.

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt

  1. Cream shortening, sugar, egg & molasses.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  3. Add dry ingredients slowly to sugar mixture until thoroughly combined.
  4. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  5. Heat oven to 375.
  6. Roll teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. Dip in sugar. Place, sugar side up, 3″ apart on greased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until set, but not hard.
  8. Makes 4 dozen 2″ cookies.

Hot Buttered Rum

from Dennis via Judy Begley Trimarchi

2 cups light brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup salted butter
pinch of salt
3 sticks cinnamon
6-8 whole cloves
1/2 whole nutmeg
8 cups water
2 cups light rum
whipped cream
grated nutmeg


  1. Combine sugar, butter, salt, cinnamon, cloves, whole nutmeg and water in a crockpot.
  2. Cook on low for 5 hours.
  3. Add rum.
  4. Serve in warm mugs with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg.
Judy says, “When I first moved to Virginia from Arizona in 1981, I was fresh out of college.  My boss, Dennis, must have answered 10,000 questions as I learned how to apply the vague book learning of the university to the practical, specific needs of the lab where I was hired.  He may have wanted to run for cover when he saw me coming, but he never did.  One Christmas, he and his wife hosted our entire crew for a wonderful party that included this fantastic Hot Buttered Rum.  Dennis was taken from us by cancer over 10 years ago, but I will never lose everything he taught me.  Enjoy this fabulous beverage when you entertain your friends and family!”

Tenaya Beans

adapted from The Quarter of Six Cookbook

1/31/2  lb polish sausage / kielbasa
8 oz pineapple chunks, drained
16 oz can baked beans
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp cloves


  1. Brown sausage, add remaining ingredients & heat through.
  • I substituted kielbasa (I use turkey kielbasa) for the Spam in the recipe. It is lower in fat and better tasting, I think.