Around this time every year, if I am attentive enough, I will remember to start the best 30 day process -the process of friendship cake.
Friendship cake is one of my grandma’s recipes. It takes 30 days to make, and it is usually started in late November so that it can be ready for Christmas. Friendship cake starts, as all good cakes start, with alcohol, which is either in the form of brandy (if you are starting the friendship cake) or in the form of starter – given to you by someone who just finished making their own friendship cake.
This is where the ‘friendship’ comes into friendship cake, because at the end of the process you are left with not only lovely cake, but also the ‘starter’ for more friendship cakes that you can give away to your friends so that they can start their own friendship cake- spreading the love of cake.
Making this cake involves 30 days where you ferment fruit with sugar and alcohol on your counter. At the 30 day mark you drain the liquid (giving it away to your closest friends) and add fruit to cake batter, making delicious, boozy, fruit filled cakes, ready to be enjoyed and shared on Christmas.
The best part of friendship cake is that it is the ultimate Christmas present.
-To make 6 lovely and thoughtful presents – I make my cakes into 6 loafs, wrap them beautifully, and put the 1 1/2 cups of starter into a jar with a nice handwritten recipe card with the instructions for friendship cake. Not only are you giving delicious cake, but you are giving them the chance to be part of a chain of ongoing friendship cakes. And they will also know that you spent 30 days on their present! But let’s be honest, only 5 friends will get this for Christmas because I have to save at least one loaf for myself!
1 1/2 cups of ‘starter’ or Apricot Brandy (or if you aren’t particular like me, any fruit brandy in your possession)
6 1/2 cups of sugar
1- 28oz can of sliced peaches in syrup (not drained)
1- 19oz can of chunk pineapple (not drained)
1- 28oz can of fruit cocktail in syrup (not drained)
1- 375ml jar of maraschino cherries (drained and halved)
For each cake: (batch makes 3 cakes/ 6 loafs)
1 yellow cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 small pkg vanilla instant pudding
1 c chopped walnuts
Day 1 – Combine starter, 1 1/2 cups of sugar and peaches into a very large bowl. Cover and stir once everday.
Day 10 – Add 2 cups of sugar and pineapple with juices. Cover and stir once everyday.
Day 20 – Add 2 cups of sugar, fruit cocktail and cherries. Cover and stir once everyday.
Day 30 – Drain fruit, divide juice into 1 1/2 cup portions (of friendship cake starter) and give away to very lucky friends. Divide fruit into 3 portions (one for each cake).
For each cake, mix all of the ingredients for the cake together mixing it at a medium speed until well combined, add the fruit and stir in until fully incorporated. I suggest doing each cake separately since it would be a very large amount to do all 3 at once, but you can definitely do all 3 at once if you have a bowl big enough.
For each cake, grease either 1 bundt pan or 2 loaf pans. Bake at 350 °F for 65 minutes (if using a bundt pan) or 50 minutes (for two loaves).
Today is the day that I start my friendship cake!
First step – the brandy. So this is either starter that you were given, or the recipe says apricot brandy, but I didn’t have apricot brandy, I had “Old Plum Brandy” which has been sitting on my bar cart for a little too long and I figured that it wouldn’t be too different- so 1 1/2 cups of that!