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Friendship Fruit Cake

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I posted the recipe for the friendship fruitcake starter yesterday, and although the holidays are still far in the distance, I wanted to post the full recipe for the fruitcakes now to help you decide whether or not you want to embark upon this fruitcake adventure, because the decision will need to be made fairly soon.  The starter takes three weeks to make, and the cake itself takes a month.  So I figured you’d need a better description of the resulting cake and photos to help you understand why you should bother with any cake that is going to take this long to make.

After you have your starter ready, you will add peaches, pineapple, and maraschino cherries to it over time, along with copious amounts of sugar.  Your fruit will become essentially candied in it’s own sugary juices, giving you the most flavorful candied fruit you could ever add to fruitcake.  This fruit beats the stems off store-bought candied fruit.  It is just sooo….fruity.  Usually when I taste a candied cherry, it doesn’t taste like much except sweet.  This candied fruit is sweet, but has so much flavor!

The actual time you will spend working on the starter and the fruit is maybe a minute a day, and totally worth the result.  And if the fruit itself wasn’t enough, the recipe for the cake itself is outstanding.  I have two versions available, but both are moist and delicious, and studded with this magical fruit, nuts, and shredded coconut.  Absolutely fantastic and nothing like the fruit cake you last turned your nose up at.

Now, let’s talk about the batter that surrounds the fruit, nuts, and coconut.  Usually, friendship fruit cake is made with a cake mix.  Two of them, to be exact.  When I made this cake last year on Christmas eve, I only had one mix, and of course every grocery store was closed, and I couldn’t find a single convenience store that sold cake mixes.  Rather than let the lack of a second mix defeat me, I decided to halve the recipe for the cake (what I now call the “easy version” although technically it’s the “original version”) and use half the fruit for it, then make a batter from scratch to mix the remaining fruit into.

To tell you the truth, I really can not pick a favorite.  I love, love, love them both.  In fact, I actually would recommend you do the same as me, halving both recipes and using half the fruit in both to see if you can pick one.  (Just be very careful to halve everything–this can get tricky if you don’t physically write down the new measurements before starting.)  They are so different and both so good in their own way.

The cake mix cake is very moist, and very sweet with a great cake mix flavor.  I’d say the cake mix version has more of a holiday feel than the other, because it is sweeter.  The cream cheese cake is less sweet, the slight tang of the cream cheese pairing nicely with the sweet, candied fruit.  It tastes more “real,” for lack of a better word, more home made.  It seems more of like a cake to enjoy with tea, and this would be a great version to make throughout the year.  I keep wanting to pick the cream cheese one as my favorite, until I remember how nice the cake mix one was, so I have given up.  I leave the decision entirely up to you, but either way, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Friendship Fruit Cake

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Day 1
In a large glass bowl, combine:

  • 1 pint friendship fruit starter
  • 1 (16 oz) can sliced peaches with juice, each slice cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 ½ cups granulated sugar

Stir every day for ten days.  When not stirring mixture, keep it covered with a splatter guard, paper towel, foil, or a loose lid. Let sit at room temperature. Do not refrigerate it or cover it airtight. A pan of water underneath the jar or bowl will keep the ants out, but I had no problem with bugs since I made mine in the winter.

Day 10
Add:

  • 1 (16 oz) can chunk pineapple with juice, each chunk cut in half
  • ½ cup granulated sugar

Stir every day for ten days.

Day 20
Add:

  • 2 (10 oz) jars maraschino cherries, drained, and each cherry cut in half
  • 2 ½ cups granulated sugar

Stir every day for the final ten days.

Day 30
Drain fruit and reserve it and the liquid.  Pour the liquid into three glass pint jars.  Save one for yourself for your next fruit cake, and give two to friends, along with a copy of this recipe.  Cake must be started within 3 days after receiving the starter or you should freeze the starter to use at a later date. Do not use plastic or metal containers to store liquid.

~To make the cake~

Easy version

2 (18.25 oz) yellow or butter recipe golden cake mixes
2 (3.5 oz) boxes instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
8 eggs
2 cup raisins (golden or regular, or a combination)
2 cups chopped nuts
2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
Reserved fruit

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour two 12-cup Bundt pans or four large loaf pans. In a very large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, oil and eggs.  Stir in the raisins, nuts and coconut, and the reserved fruit from the starter. Stir until all ingredients are well combined. The batter will be stiff. Spread batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 60-75 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Sit on wire racks and wait ten minutes before turning them out onto the racks to cool completely.  I spray my cakes thoroughly with water while cooling to help make them more moist—the water absorbs and does not change the flavor.  Store in an airtight container or wrap in plastic wrap.  Serve at room temperature.

Cream Cheese Version
5 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
8 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups golden raisins
2 cups chopped nuts
2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
Reserved fruit

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour two 12-cup Bundt pans or 4 large loaf pans; set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.  In a separate large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar.  Beat in the oil. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract until incorporated.  Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients; the batter will be thick. When barely any streaks remain, mix in the raisins, nuts and coconut, and the reserved fruit from the starter stirring well.  Scrape batter into the prepared pans, smoothing the tops.  Place the cakes in the oven and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

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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.

33 responses »

  1. i’m super intrigued! my grandma made a really good fruitcake, and that’s the only good version i’ve ever had. maybe i’ll give this a try….

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  2. I have never actually had fruitcake before, but that cream cheese version looks great. I’d definitely give it a try.

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  3. Do you use one of the 3 bottles of starter liquid in each version of the cakes? And how much of the reserved fruit do you use in each cake? I’m looking forward to trying these.

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    • Please check back tomorrow–I am in a rush to get to work but will answer after I get home at 1:30 am. Thanks!

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    • OK, your question is complex and has many answers-lol. First of all, you will only have 2 cups of liquid starter after making the starter recipe. You will not have three bottles. You won’t have three pints until after you actually start the recipe on this post and use the starter to candy the fruit. The liquid that is leftover after that process will yield three pints.

      Now, each version of the cake uses one starter, and each version of the cake uses all the fruit. So unless you already have two starters on hand, you can either choose one recipe with your single starter, or like I mentioned in the post you can halve each recipe and use half of your candied fruit in one and half in the other. Be very very careful in that case, making sure you halve everything in the recipe, or you will have ruined cakes on your hands.

      Hope that cleared it up for you and if not, please let me know.

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  4. ok, so you don’t actually use the liquid for the cake, right? That is just for the fruit. Do you use all the fruit in your fruit cake? So yesterday’s recipe was for the starter and this is for the cake. I got confused because you made jam with the starter yesterday. That is just an option, right? Sorry, your directions seem easy, I just want to make sure before I start the whole process. It sounds like an interesting project.

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    • No, you save it for your next cake and give two away (freeze the one you keep), then you would follow this recipe next year using your jar of starter–and you don’t have to do the starter ever again. You will always have it as long as you save a jar. Woot! Yes, you use all the fruit for the cake. I didn’t make jam with the starter I made jam with the fruit from the starter–the starter is just the liquid which you use to then candy the fruit you will be using for the cake. I know, it’s kinda confusing. And yeah, you can do whatever you want with the fruit from the starter–eat it, trash it, put it on ice cream.

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  5. This looks like the epitome of a delicious fruitcake :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  6. Oh wow, I love the idea of pouring a months worth of love into a cake. And I especially like the use of the bundt pan. Looks awesome, I’m very tempted to give this a go :)

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  7. I wonder why these aren’t more popular? They’re so pretty :)

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    • I don’t know…maybe it just hasn’t spread the same way the friendship bread spread b/c it’s only made once a year typically and maybe by the time a year passes, the starter is forgotten in the depths of the freezer. I’m looking forward to making it again and am glad I have my blog to remind me to do it.

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  8. I’m really diggin’ the cream cheese version. (for me, it’s ANY excuse to gobble up cream cheese or mascarpone). I’m not typically a fan of fruit cake but this, I’d definitely try!!! =)

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  9. That cream cheese version looks really good. I’ve always wanted to try making my own fruitcake, but the fact it ages/sits around for so long concerns me. I think about mold! Any thoughts on that?

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    • Are you talking about other fruitcakes that age after being baked, or this one that the fruit sits around for so long? In either case, sugar is an incredible preservative and that makes it safe. To give you a crazy example, my mother bought a ton of candied fruit in the late 80s, thinking she would make a zillion fruitcakes. That fruit was in my parents basement for twenty years before Dad finally got sick of it…and ATE it! Yes, it was still preserved after all that time, albeit a little dry-lol. Baked goods are more prone to going bad than candied fruit, but in the case of fruitcake, it is usually a lot of alcohol which helps preserve them. You’d be amazed at how long very sweet/sugary desserts will last before going bad. Everyone is paranoid about cream cheese frosting and usually keep it in the fridge after icing with it but I’ll let you in on a little secret. I left some at room temperature for two weeks before I discovered it…and it still was good (yes, I’m crazy and tasted it.) So those are my thoughts. Bet you didn’t sign up for that much of them! lol

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  10. Pingback: Traditional Fruit Cake Recipe for a Celebration cake « thecakedoctorssurgery

  11. Do these cakes freeze well?

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    • I have not frozen the cakes but I imagine they would. If you freeze them, wrap them well first in plastic wrap, then either wrap in foil or put inside a ziploc bag or a bag with a twist tie. Get it as airtight as possible. I freeze cakes a lot and this is how I do it-mine never have a freezer taste.

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  12. Pingback: Holiday Eating Tips « Veronica's Cornucopia

  13. Pingback: 37 weeks: he mooned us! | Veronica's Cornucopia

  14. Hey Veronica! Congrats on the new babe. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas! I am baking this cake right now and I am super excited about it. I have always hated fruit cake but my “Grandmother”,my dad’s mom, used to make it, she and her friend would pass starter back and forth to each other all the time but I never ate any because I didn’t like the idea of fruit cake. I hated the way it looked and all the stuff they put it in. I was so young back then. But my “NaNa”,my mom’s mom, wanted a fruit cake this year so I am making one. I found your recipe on Pinterest. Thanks so much! I can’t wait to try it now. My daughter has warned me that it “better be good” so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

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    • Hey there just a follow up on the fruit cake… It was the bomb!!! I used banana pudding instead of vanilla because I picked up the wrong kind but out was still awesome. Everyone loved it. Especially my daughter. I shared starter with my best friend and froze the other two. Thanks so much for the recipe!

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  15. One quick question. I just added the peaches to the starter (I’m making cakes for Easter) and the massive amount of sugar just settled right to the bottom of the bowl. Is this normal? Will it eventually dissolve into the liquid? (I noticed none of your pictures had a pile of undissolved sugar in them and started to worry!)
    This recipe looks so good! I hope I’m on the right track.

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    • Yes, do not fret, that is normal. My pictures don’t show it settled b/c I took them right after stirring. It takes several days for the sugar to completely dissolve – just remember to stir every day or it will take longer. You are on the right track and I hope you and your family love the cakes!

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