This convoluted confection comes from a friend on the Gulf Coast, but from what I’ve read it’s a variation on an Amish recipe, which seems fitting, since most people call it a friendship cake. It’s called that because you share the starter with your friends, and they share it with other riff-raff and so becomes an agent for social bonding, but it can also become a dire obligation. You see, the cake is based on a yeast starter, a living thing, so passing along this starter is somewhat like giving someone a puppy to care for and nurture, since it does take tending. Of course losing a batch of smelly yeast is not nearly as traumatic or troubling as losing a puppy (no matter how smelly), but still if the donor should ask you how it’s doing, you must just fess up and admit that you didn’t care enough about him or her to keep the yeast working and make a cake, or you could just tell your buddy to lighten up, get a life and explain testily that you had more important things to do. Given the right set of circumstances the recipe is fun to pass around to your buddies at work or church, but probably not at the neighborhood bar.
FRIENDSHIP CAKE – ORIGINAL STARTER
3/4 c. (can) sliced peaches, drained and diced
3/4 c. crushed pineapple, drained
6 maraschino cherries, cut in half
1/2 c. sugar
1 pkg. active dry yeast
Combine and place in glass (gallon size) jar with a loose cover at room temperature. Stir several times first day; then once daily using a plastic or wooden spoon. After 2 weeks this starter will have fermented enough to start the Friendship Cake Mix (using the second full cycle of above fruit makes a far superior mix than not doing so). It’s recommended that you get 2 or 3 friends together on this.
FRIENDSHIP CAKE FRUIT PREPARATION:
First, beg, steal or borrow 1 1/2 cups starter.
FIRST DAY: Mix 1 1/2 cups starter, a large can peaches with juice and 2 1/2 cups sugar in large glass or ceramic jar or bowl. Cover with lid or plastic wrap. Stir daily for 10 days, using a wooden spoon.
TENTH DAY: Add 2 1/2 cups sugar and a large can of chunk or crushed pineapple with juice. Stir daily for 10 days.
20TH DAY: Add 2 1/2 cups sugar, large can of fruit cocktail with juice, and a large jar of maraschino cherries with juice. Stir daily for 10 days.
30TH DAY: Drain fruit. Bake cakes or cookies using fruit. Save juice; there will be enough for 4 or 5 friends.
DAY 1: Receive fruit/starter and place in large bowl. Cover with waxed paper. DO NOT REFRIGERATE.
DAY 2: Stir.
DAY 3: Stir.
DAY 4: Stir.
DAY 5: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Stir.
DAY 6: Stir.
Day 7: Stir.
DAY 8: Stir.
DAY 9: Stir.
DAY 10: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Stir. Take out 3 separate cups of batter and give to 3 friends with directions. For your own cake, add to the remaining batter.
2/3 c. oil
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
Stir by hand:
1 c. apples, chopped
1 c. nuts, chopped or all 3 or only 1
Bake in greased and floured tube pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and heave a great sigh of relief.