January 8, 2014

Friendship Fruit Cake {plus Starter Recipe}

So… fruit cake. Yeah, I know, it sucks right? Those hard, dense loaves that circulate around Christmastime that you could build an igloo with need to go back to whichever decade they crept out of.

Except, guess what? Not all fruit cakes are blechy. As a matter of fact, this one is anything but. It’s moist and airy and bursting with yummy bits of tender fruit. And this one is special. This one is special because you can only get it from a friend.

That’s right. You have to be chosen.

When you first get one, it comes with a mysterious “starter” jar filled with this syrupy pink liquid. And you’re all like, ummm… thanks, pal. What am I supposed to do with this jar? Light it on fire and hurl it at the neighbors like a Molotov Cocktail? And… a fruit cake, really… you shouldn't have. Really.

But then you taste the fruit cake and you’re blown away with how awesome it is and feel bad for acting like a brat about it.

And then you actually sit down and read the recipe and start to feel all superior because you see how much thought and planning went into it and you were chosen to receive it.

And now, instead of thinking what the crap am I supposed to do with this? you’re secretly wondering which of your other friends were chosen and which weren't and you want to go set your pink jar on the porch and point a spotlight at it so everyone will know you were chosen.

Or something like that.

This is a lot of fun and makes incredible gifts. You just have to plan ahead and buy a few jars. I plan on getting the onions involved with making the next batch because it’s kinda like a science experiment. Plus math. And it’s chocked full of life lessons about booze and being chosen. Ha.

And guess what else? I’m going to show you how to make your own Starter. So you can make all of it you want and sit on your porch all be all like, Oh, you didn't want to give me one? Well, suck it because I made my own!

I’m going to end on that note because I seem to be getting away from the true spirit of friendship :o) though, my friends are seriously kooky and will think this is funny even if the rest of you think I have finally lost it.




Friendship Fruit Cake Starter
1 20-oz. can pineapple chunks, drained
1 16-oz. can apricots, drained
1 16-oz. can sliced peaches, drained and cut into chunks
1 10-oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained
1 1/4 cups brandy
1 1/4 cups sugar

Friendship Fruit Cake Starter
Combine all ingredients in a large glass jar and stir well. Cover with a LOOSE-fitting lid* (nothing air-tight) and let stand at room temperature for three weeks. Stir mixture 2-3 times each week.

Drain fruit, reserving liquid (Starter). Serve fruit over pound cake or ice cream or anything else that suits your fancy. Pour reserved liquid into a pint-sized jar and give to a friend with the recipe for the Friendship Fruit Cake or use it yourself to make the cake and more starter.

*you can either set the lid askew or cover with a kitchen towel or cheesecloth but DO NOT seal it with a tight lid or it may burst.

Friendship Fruit Cake
Fermented Fruit:
1 pint Friendship Fruit Cake Starter
1 16-oz. can sliced peaches, with liquid – do not drain
1 20-oz. can pineapple tidbits, with liquid – do not drain
2 10-oz. jars maraschino cherries, drained and halved
6 cups sugar, divided
Cake Batter:
8 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
2 boxes yellow cake mix
2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding
2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts (here's the nut grinder I use)
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut (optional)
2 cups raisins (optional)

Day One
Pour Starter into a large glass jar. Cut peaches into chunks then add peaches and liquid from the can into jar. Add 2 cups sugar and stir well. Cover jar with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels and secure with a rubber band (do not seal lid tightly as the mixture needs air to ferment). Stir mixture once each day for 10 days.

Day Ten
Add pineapple tidbits, with liquid to the jar. Add 2 cups sugar, stir well and cover. Stir mixture once each day for 10 more days.

Day Twenty
Add drained and halved cherries to the jar.  Add 2 cups sugar, stir well and cover. Stir mixture once each day for 10 more days.

Day Thirty – Time to Bake!
Grease and flour 4 small (8-inch, 6-cup) or 2 regular (10-inch, 12-cup) bundt pans*. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Drain fruit, reserving liquid to be given away as Starter (should yield 3-4 pints of liquid).

Combine eggs and oil in a large bowl and mix well.  Add cake mixes and pudding mixes and stir until combined (small lumps are OK).  Stir in fruit, nuts, coconut and raisins.

Divide batter evenly into pans. Bake at 325 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (40-50 minutes for small, 60-90 minutes for large). Remove cakes from oven and cool in pans. Invert cakes onto serving plates. Store cakes in an air-tight container or cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for up to three months.

*I like to make 4 small cakes. I keep one for myself and give the other three away with pints of the starter and copies of the recipe.

This recipe was featured at the Weekend Potluck!


PRINTABLE RECIPE


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43 comments:

  1. Oh my... I am so thrilled to see this recipe! My mother used to make it when I was a kid, but over the years I've lost the recipe.... and the starter. LOL

    She used to use the orange supreme cake mix instead of a yellow one. It was SO very good.

    Thank you so much, Mandy. Definitely filing this one away in a safe space.

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    1. Orange supreme sounds wonderful! Glad you can make the starter and cake again!

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  2. Wow, You brought back some memories with this recipe!!! Mom used to keep a glass jar of "brandied fruit"going on the kitchen counter. She would make the cake, which was wonderful, but we also ate the fruit as a topping on homemade vanilla ice cream......heavenly! Thanks for the recipe and a trip down memory lane! :)

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    1. This one brings back good memories for me too :)

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  3. Hi Mandy!

    Just wanted to leave you a comment..because well, I figured that you ought to know that I visit your blog daily!
    You have become my #1 favorite blog....and there's not one recipe that you've posted that I haven't tried and didn't like! They're all (in my Mandy voice) AMAZEBALLS!

    Anyway, I usually don't comment....but will try to visit the recipes I've tried and comment more often.
    Love the cranberry stuff...I've made it twice since Thanksgiving.

    I'm going to try your Squash Casserole and Honey Garlic Chicken this weekend!

    Blessings from Kentucky!

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    1. Best comment E V E R ! ! ! ! Thank you for taking the time to write.... you made my day!

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  4. I am confused - when you bake your cake do you use any of the fermented starter liquid?

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    1. No, you use the fruit only and give the starter away to a friend.

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  5. Thank You for a starter recipes that actually makes sense to me. This is one of the cakes I use to make quite a bit when I first started baking, over 30 plus years ago. I love the cake it is moist and rich and fruit. I had lost the starter and could not find a starter recipe that sounded right. this one does. one question my aunt who actually started me on the cake years ago use to freeze starter is that acceptable, because unless you have friends for real like on facebook or you sip on the peach brandy starter it produces like three pints each time to share. Again Thank You so much.

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    1. It's funny you say that about it making sense. I had a helluva time making sense of this one... I must have called my mama six times! She had three pages of notes! I even drew a diagram on a piece of paper! I tried to take the confusion out of it when I wrote it and it sounds like I may have (hopefully!). I've never frozen it myself but I've heard plenty other people say they have and that it works just fine!

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  6. This sounds really good. Guess I'm different than most people, I have always loved Fruit Cake, IF it's fixed right. Your's sounds to good not to try it. Thank you very much for sharing, this is own my to-do-list.
    Hugs from NW Fl.
    LindY

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  7. Can we triple the first batch to get a larger amount of starter to share with family and friends this holiday season? I would like to give about 6 starters to give as Christmas gifts. Also, do you have to use the alcohol? Please advise. Thanks! I am excited to get started! :-)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you can double or triple it! You do need the alcohol to both preserve and ferment the fruit.

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    2. Thank you, Mandy! I am looking forward to making my first batch and sharing it with our family and friends! Happy holidays! :-)

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  8. Like others said, this brings back memories and YUM, that Friendship Cake was always the best! Thanks for going to the trouble of figuring this out - would be nice to begin this tradition again. What would you suggest for one who would want to make the cake from scratch rather than cake mixes and pudding mixes? Any ideas? Thanks in advance -

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  9. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. It brings back so many good memories. This cake is delicious and I've been thinking about making it for a long time, but kept finding Amish bread recipes instead. This is the real deal. Thank you again.

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    1. hi this is BuffyNFlorida Mandy I love your site

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  10. Hello,
    I came across your post and hope you can help me. I started the starter 10 days ago, but did not realize that the version I used was different. The version I used doesn't have brandy and uses both fruits and the juice. My question is that can I still add brandy during this process?
    Thanks
    Jenn

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    Replies
    1. Hmm... my fear would be that the fruit might be a little funky at this point with nothing in it to preserve it. If there's no fuzz, spots, mold, weirdness going on with it then yes, I think you can add the brandy now. Good luck.

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    2. Thank you for quick response!
      There is no fuzz,spots,mold or any kind of weirdness with the starter. The smell of it just like when first opened the fruit can. I was worrying that with the juice and brandy will not be a great combination, I will go ahead add the brandy tonight.
      Thanks again!
      Jenn

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  11. do you have to use brandy? can you substitue something else fot brandy?

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  12. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I used to make this years ago with my friends when my children were small. We kept the starter going around for quit awhile. I lost mine when we moved and was never able to get it again. Now I can start this again but this time it will be with my daughter, daughter-in-law and grandaughter. It will be even better now because I can start it with the special people in my life.

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  13. I absolutely love your facebook page! I can't wait to see what recipes you will post next. Like most people that have commented on this recipe, it brings back memories from when I used to make this 20+ years ago. I have my jar of starter working on my kitchen counter and it will be ready on the 10th. Once I drain the fruit, do you think there will be enough juice to start the fruit for 2 recipes? I found out that I am going to be traveling over the Christmas holidays and I would love to take these cakes with me. I would just start another jar of starter, but there is not enough time to wait 3 weeks and then wait 30 days. Is it possible to make a batch of starter with the cherries in it and use the fruit and juice from that in a cake?? Help!!!

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    1. I think you can! I can't imagine any major reason it wouldn't work!

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    2. Great. My first batch of starter just finished today. There was a pint and a half of juice. I will start the 30 day process with that and then I will start a new batch of starter and use it in cakes in 3 weeks when it is done. :)

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  14. I started the 30 day fermented fruit cake recipe that does not have any alcohol in it and it does not foam up when stirred. A friend started hers the same day and when she stirs hers it foams up then settles back down after about 10 minutes. Is this still good? Could it be that my kitchen where I have it is not warm enough?

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    Replies
    1. I don't use Brandy. I use I package yeast. Works GREAT!

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  15. Well, I baked your friendship fruitcake last night. I made one in a 12 cup bundt pan and the 6 small bundt pans. My son, husband, and I had to sample one, so we cut it 3 ways and dug in. We LOVED it! I didn't use Maraschino cherries. I used regular canned bings. I used unsweetened coconut flakes and pecans. I have frozen them to give as gifts for Christmas. Have you frozen any? I'm curious to know the best way to thaw them or if it even works well. Thanks.

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    1. They freeze beautifully! Wrap in plastic wrap and thaw completely at room temp in the plastic. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

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  16. Mandy,
    On the starter the amount of Brandy, is it 1 and 1/4 cup? or is it just 1/4 of a cup?

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    Replies
    1. thank you so much
      I used to make one similar to this, was so happy to find your site

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  17. the fruit in the starter does it make 2 6 cup bundt cakes?

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  18. Is this recipe in your cookbook? are there only 2 cookbooks? Iwant them both, just wondering if this recipe is in them

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    1. Hi Nancy! No, this one isn't in either of the books.

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  19. How many cakes does the fruit from the starter make? I have 6 and 12 cup bundt pans

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  20. does anyone know how much fruit is in each cake? In the starter it says use fruit to make cake, but not how many cakes or how much fruit in each.
    thank you for any help. I started the fruit for the starter and want to use the fruit in the starter for a cake

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  21. Have you ever tried using the fruit from the starter to make the cakes, and not waiting another 30 days? Yes, I did not have a starter and didn't think about this recipe in time for Christmas presents! I gave myself a reminder on next year's calendar, BTW! Let me know what you think about using that lovely fruit from the starter. Thank You! Lily

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  22. I have used the fruit from the starter and saw no difference.

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  23. Many years I've had this starter for Christmas cooking. Hate it's called fruitcake 'cause everyone is like (ugh) fruitcake, thinking of another kind. Well, just wanted to add, when I use the brandy, I use apricot brandy and add apricots. I usually have to eat a piece of pineapple or apricots everyday to make sure it is still good....if ya know what I mean!

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Hi there! While I'm not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven't been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments. And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y'all! - Mandy

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