About these ads
RSS Feed

Friendship Fruitcake Starter

Posted on

Yes, I know it isn’t even Halloween yet and you’re thinking I’m crazy for posting such an obvious December holiday-related recipe, but bear with me, I have good reason for posting this early. 

Many of us have heard of and possibly been gifted (AKA cursed) with friendship bread starter. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can either click here to find out more, or just pretend you never heard about it and maybe you can live out the rest of your life in friendship bread-less bliss. OK, I have to admit that friendship bread is delicious, but it never dies and once the starter infiltrates your circle of friends, you practically have to start shooting people to get them to stop pushing it off on you.

(Forgive me, I still suffer post-traumatic friendship bread disorder, despite my temporary reconciliation with the starter.)

Well, friendship fruitcake starter is a whole different ball of wax. This starter is not the same flour/sugar/milk mixture that is aged and fed like a sourdough, nor is it as widespread, at least not in my neck of the woods. This starter is a thick, red, fruity syrup that you use to candy real, non-dried fruit, and you have enough leftover after making your cakes that you can either pass it on to two other friends, or keep all three jars for yourself and freeze them to use throughout the year.

The kind of fruitcake you get from this starter is also unique. It is not the typical disgusting sickeningly-sweet brick you find in grocery stores.  In fact, I can tell you flat out that this is not only the only good fruitcake I have ever had in my life, it is actually so good that I would eat it any time of year, not just because it’s a holiday tradition.  Seriously, you’ve never had a non-alcoholic* fruitcake that tasted this good, and maybe not even one that has been completely doused with alcohol could be better than this.

*Brandy is used in this initial starter recipe, but since you are using it to candy fruit, and not adding the liquid itself to the cake, you will put very little alcohol into the cake because of it, and the amount you put in will bake out.  Also, once you make this starter, you never again have to add brandy to the future starters that come from this batch, so the percentage of alcohol will become nill after several batches.

If you don’t already have one of these starters in your freezer, and you would like to try this fruitcake for yourself, you will need to plan ahead and make the starter fairly soon, which is why I’m sharing the recipe for it now rather than after Thanksgiving.  The starter takes three weeks to make, and the fruitcake takes another month.  If you want to make small loaves as gifts before Christmas, start your starter now-within the next week or so.  If you want to have your fruitcake ready on Christmas day, start by November 4 or 5 at the very latest.  I guarantee you that you will have some very impressed people when you give them this fruitcake or at your party where you serve it, and many disappointed that you only have two starters to share.

I believe it will most likely take further persuasion on my part to convince you that this fruitcake is worth your time, so I will be following this recipe tomorrow with the two recipes I have for the cake itself, one using a mix, and one that I created from scratch.

*A big thank you to my friend Cheryl in Florida for passing the starter recipe and instructions on to me since she couldn’t give me one of her starters in person.*

Friendship Fruit Cake Starter

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks, drained
1 (16 oz) can apricots, drained
1 (16 oz) can sliced peaches, drained
1 (10 oz) jar maraschino cherries, drained
1 1/4 cups brandy
1 1/4 cups sugar

Combine ingredients in a large glass jar or bowl and stir well.

Store at room temperature, covered with a lid or plastic wrap, for three weeks, stirring at least twice a week. Mixture will become more and more red as time passes.  This is what mine looked like on day 21:

Drain fruit and reserve the liquid. You should have two cups of liquid, and this is your starter.  It won’t look as red or thick as the photos above because those are photos of the starter you get after you use this initial starter to candy your fruit when you actually start making the cake.  The 2 cups of liquid you have now will all be used for candying fruit.

You can save the sweetened, brandied fruit for another use (topping on ice cream, turn it into jelly, etc.) or discard.

I added some cinnamon and instant pectin (it needed quite a lot, 1/2 cup if I remember correctly) to mine after pureeing in a food processor to make a brandied holiday fruit jam.  It wasn’t sweet enough, so I’d suggest adding your sweetener of choice if you go this route.

***

Wow, guys!  Thirty people signed up for the cookie swap as soon as it was open for business. I’m kinda scared of your enthusiasm, and excited by it at the same time. :D Rock on!

About these ads

About Veronica

I have a kitchen addiction and love to collect & share recipes. My passion is baking but I love to cook as well. The only thing I don't like to do in the kitchen is wash dishes, but my husband generally does them for me in exchange for his dinner.

50 responses »

  1. The red color is very pretty. I just want them setting in my fridge because they’re pretty ;) I like the idea of the friendship fruitcake. Good idea posting it now, I had no idea it took so long.

    Like

    Reply
  2. I am glad you got such a good response to your cookie swap! I have never heard of friendship bread…so I am just going to slowly back away… ;) Have a great day.

    Like

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Friendship Fruitcake Starter | Skipping Stars Productions LLC

  4. Looks like I have a lot to catch up on regarding friendship bread, I’ve never tried it :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    Like

    Reply
    • Also just wondering did you receive my email?

      Like

      Reply
      • I got it from your “about” page I believe.

        Like

        Reply
      • I grew up with home made breads mom aylwas made our bread (and still bakes it). I’ve yo-yo’d between baking all our bread and buying it mostly for convenience. Lately I’ve gone back to making our bread because I’m concerned with all the additives in store bought bread. I’ve been using my bread machine most of the time because it’s so convenient; but I know that long rises make a more flavorful loaf. I would love to have the recipe for your sour dough bread.I just discovered your web site and I plan to be a frequent visitor.

        Like

        Reply
    • Well if you ever get really curious, you can make the starter yourself (just google it). But honestly you’re better off with this fruit cake! :)

      Like

      Reply
  5. Do you store the fruit with the brandy on the counter or the refrigerator? That cake looks awesome!

    Like

    Reply
  6. hi i just love your recipes do you have the recipe for the fruitcakes you would share .Thanks Pat

    Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2012 13:01:09 +0000 To: foodfun@msn.com

    Like

    Reply
  7. This looks fantastic. My grandmother made a holiday fruitcake that used those orange-sliced candies. It’s good and also takes some preplanning, but it is so sweet. I love the versatility of this and that brandies fruit jam is genius. Question: Do you refrigerate the fruit as it sets or do you leave it covered on the cabinet?

    Like

    Reply
    • Now that sounds like an interesting fruitcake! I hope you’ll share that one some day. You store it at room temperature–I forgot to include that but have updated the recipe.

      Like

      Reply
  8. I’ve gotten friendship bread twice and let it die both times on the counter, never adding to it! It just became a bag of goop… not very pretty! I like this idea though!

    Like

    Reply
    • I should have let mine die! I don’t know why I never did but I really did start to get a complex and had to start hiding from the people I knew were going to try to give me another starter-haha! I once had mine explode all over the coffee table and instead of cleanign it up and throwing it away, I scooped all the starter back into a (bigger) bag. And used it. And shared it. Particles of dust from my coffee table are probably still being eaten today.

      Like

      Reply
  9. That fruitcake looks delightful…love all the colors and combination of all those fruity flavors. This reminds me that christmas is almost upon us :D

    Like

    Reply
  10. Now this is a fruitcake that I can get excited about! I do remember all of your friendship bread posts and I’m excited for a new version of it!

    Like

    Reply
  11. Pingback: Friendship Fruit Cake « Veronica's Cornucopia

  12. I really want to try this fruitcake,looks so perfect & yummy as looking for such recipe for so long & today I got it :) thank u soo much.I’m thinking to make with scratch but one thing I need to ask in making starter what possibly could replace the “brandy” i know sounds diff.but I really don’t want any alcohol.
    looking forward for your reply,thanks again
    have a good day.

    Like

    Reply
    • I know it’s a pain to buy brandy just for one recipe, but I don’t know what else you could use. You’ll have to experiment and let me know if it works OK. You should be able to buy a small enough bottle that you wouldn’t have a lot leftover-talk to the guys at the counter-they have small bottles behind the counter. You will have pretty much zero alcohol in your cake.

      Like

      Reply
  13. awe… the cake looks truly amazing. do you think it would hold together even using whole-wheat flour instead of all-purpose? I am very fascinated by this fruit starter. and would be nervous using it. had a terrible experience with fermented yeast that I do not want to experience again :)

    Like

    Reply
    • I’m going to leave that up to you to try as I have no idea. I do know different flours cause different textures, and my guess is that it would be a bit more dry and coarse with whole wheat. You could possible help the texture by adding a tad more moisture…maybe milk? Not sure. Oh and this doesn’t seem to ferment, or at least mine didn’t. It just is like a candy syrup that candies the fruit.

      Like

      Reply
  14. If you only get two cuts of juice from starter how do we have enough to give away??? Most confusing.Please reply to my email address. Or maybe I need to go back and re read recipe.

    Like

    Reply
    • Let me quote the part that explains this for you: “You should have two cups of liquid, and this is your starter. It won’t look as red or thick as the photos above because those are photos of the starter you get after you use this initial starter to candy your fruit when you actually start making the cake. The 2 cups of liquid you have now will all be used for candying fruit.” So you will NOT be giving any of this initial starter away. You won’t have any to give away until after you actually start the fruitcake recipe, which you can get here: http://veronicascornucopia.com/2012/10/17/friendship-fruit-cake/ let me know if you have any more questions-I had to muddle through quite a bit myself.

      Like

      Reply
    • Hi Shirl!  Let me quote the part that explains this for you: “You should have two cups of liquid, and this is your starter. It won’t look as red or thick as the photos above because those are photos of the starter you get after you use this initial starter to candy your fruit when you actually start making the cake. The 2 cups of liquid you have now will all be used for candying fruit.” So you will NOT be giving any of this initial starter away. You won’t have any to give away until after you actually start the fruitcake recipe, which you can get here: http://veronicascornucopia.com/2012/10/17/friendship-fruit-cake/ let me know if you have any more questions-I had to muddle through quite a bit myself. Veronica

      The happiest people don’t have the best of everything…they just make the best of everything.

      ________________________________

      Like

      Reply
      • Veronica,
        I’m ready to make jam/jelly from the brandied fruit. Can you tell me the procedure since I’m not familiar with Instant Pectin..Thanks in advance,
        Shirl

        Like

        Reply
        • I’m sorry, I didn’t write down what I did but I do know that it wasn’t sweet enough b/c I didn’t add any sugar to it so I’d def recommend tasting as you mix to get the right sweetness. Just follow the directions on the pectin jar, and I think I used 1/4-1/2 cup of the instant pectin–I remember being surprised how much I had to use. I hope it works for you!

          Like

          Reply
          • That’s where I’m confused..I can’t find Pectin in a bottle and no Instant pectin?? What I found you have to cook it.

            Like

            Reply
            • Well you could just do it that way. I’ve never used regular but if you use the instructions subbing the blended up fruit from the starter for whatever fruit it calls for, you should be good. Let me know how it goes!

              Like

              Reply
  15. I was given some of that one time and I did make something with it but I didn’t continue with it. I just can’t have baked goods around all the time. It’s way to tempting to eat. :)

    Like

    Reply
    • You’re probably think of friendship bread. This is totally different. You freeze it until you’re ready to use it. So far for me, it’s once a year, though I ccertainly wouldn’t mind enjoying it more often!

      Like

      Reply
  16. Pingback: Last minute fruit cake « thecakedoctorssurgery

  17. Pingback: Southern Fruitcake - Far From Normal

  18. Pingback: A Parent Denial - Far From Normal

  19. Just got done with my friendship fruitcakes! I made little mini loafs to send to friends and relatives. It ships really well, and still tastes great when it gets there! I cut one up and had it for dessert last night after dinner and it is delicious! The kids loved it too. It really was a long time from start to finish but it is going to be a new Christmas tradition in our house. The kids loved help stirring the fruit daily and helped me to prepare the cakes for baking. It was a great family baking project!

    Like

    Reply
    • This made my day, I just wish I knew who left the comment! I hope you see this, as I’d like to know if you made the easy version and if they sunk in the middle. I did the easy version in mini loaf pans and while ugly and sunken (not from underbaking, I assure you), they were delish so that made up for it. Glad you have a new tradition!

      Like

      Reply
  20. I just finished the starter for my cakes, but found on we will be gone for a week. Will the starter be OK in the fridge for the week or do I need to freeze it?

    Like

    Reply
    • Excited to hear someone else is trying it! I would go ahead and freeze it in a mason jar until you return to be on the safe side. Then just defrost before continuing with the recipe.

      Like

      Reply
  21. I too have been “cursed” with starter and have “cursed” friends with it. This, I think I’ll keep to myself. Christmas times a coming. :)

    Like

    Reply
  22. Maraleta Swenson

    It’s even more delicious when you use ginger-flavored brandy (easy to find here in Wisconsin.)

    Like

    Reply
  23. This is a new song (2013) on YouTube to promote and return a true appreciation of Fruitcakes.
    Pass this fun loving song to friends or family members. But if you ever tried a slice
    of our dear Grandma’s, it’ll captivate, they’ll love the taste have another slice and celebrate…

    Grandma’s Loaded Fruitcakes – YouTube
    ► 4:34► 4:34
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIqR4562cpM‎

    Like

    Reply
  24. How do you freeze the starter after it is made and how long can you freeze it for

    Like

    Reply
    • Sorry for the incredibly slow reply! New baby and I haven’t been keeping up with blog comments. I just put a cup’s worth in a freezer ziploc bag and throw it in there. I have used it after being frozen for a year but that’s probably the max you’d want to freeze it.

      Like

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,412 other followers

%d bloggers like this: