Friendship Cake Recipe
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Friendship Cake

Friendship Cake Starter
On Day 1, place 1 cup starter (or apple juice) (See note) in a gallon glass jar. Lay lid on jar but do not tighten. Add 12/3 cups sugar and one No. 3 can chopped peaches, (drained) to starter. Stir this daily for 10 days.

On Day 10, add 12/3 cups sugar and one jar of chopped maraschino cherries, drained, Stir this daily for 10 days.

On Day 20, add 12/3 cups sugar and one No. 3 can crushed pineapple (drained) and one cup raisins. Stir this daily for 10 days.

On Day 30, drain fruit. Reserve liquid, which is the starter, dividing it into 2 jars, seal and store in the refrigerator. (See note) Use the fruit to make cakes, following recipe below.

Note: A traditional sourdough starter may be used the first time this recipe is made. From then on, you can use the starter generated by the recipe. (Smythe says that the starter gets very thick after a couple uses, and that the flavor gets too strong for her taste, so that she usually throws out the starter after making the cake a couple times, and then starting from scratch.)

To make an easy sourdough starter, dissolve 1 tablespoon sugar or honey and 1 tablespoon or 1 packet active dry yeast in 2 cups warm water in a two-quart glass or ceramic bowl or jar. Stir in 2 cups all-purpose flour, cover with clean dishcloth and place in warm area (such as kitchen counter). Let mixture ferment 2 to 5 days, stirring about once a day. When bubbling has subsided and a yeasty, sour aroma has developed, the starter is ready. Stir once more before refrigerating until ready to use.

Note: Starters are active cultures that must be "fed." In general, the starter should be fed at least every two weeks, whether some of it is to be used for baking or not. To feed a starter, remove at least 1 cup of the starter, discard it if not using for baking, and to the remaining starter add 1 cup flour and 1 cup water for each cup of starter that has been removed.

Friendship Cake
2 boxes yellow cake mix with pudding added
8 large eggs
1 2/3 cups vegetable oil
2 cups chopped pecans
All the fruit from starter recipe, drained
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 tube pans or 4 large loaf pans.

2. Mix first cake mix, eggs, oil and pecans in a mixer. Gently fold drained fruit into batter. Bake cake 60 minutes.

3. If desired, frost cooled cake with icing.

Makes 2 cakes.

These cakes freeze very well, but must be frozen without icing.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 pound powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat all ingredients until smooth.

Our recipe for Friendship Cake Starter may have confused some readers, because of its mention of sourdough starter containing flour as a possible substitute for the unusual Friendship cake "starter juice," which is flourless, fermented liquid.

The purpose of the 1 cup "starter" needed for Day 1 of the 30-day Friendship Cake Starter recipe is to promote fermentation.

Here are the different ways this can be achieved, in general order of preference, based on advice from extension specialists in the Surry County office of the N.C. Extension Service:

1) Leftover starter juice from the last time the cake was made, or starter juice donated by someone who has made the cake. This is already fermented.

2) Brandy or other hard liquor, which is a distillation of fermented juice or grains.

3) Fruit juice, such as apple. The juice generally will pick up wild yeast that occurs naturally in the air for fermentation.

4) Dry yeast mixed with fruit juice. Packaged dry yeast guarantees fermentation without relying on wild yeast.

5) A sourdough starter, an already fermented mixture, the only alternative with flour. This would be used as a last resort, because it probably would change the taste of the cake somewhat.

No matter which method is chosen, sugar and fruit would be added over the 30 days, as directed in the recipe to yield fermented fruit with which to make Friendship Cake.

By Michael Hastings Journal Food Editor


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