Friendship Fruit Cake {plus Starter Recipe} (2024)

A tried-and-true family recipe for Friendship Fruit Cakes and fruit cake Starter.


So… fruit cake. Yeah, I know, it sucks right? Those hard, dense loaves that circulate around Christmastime that you could build an igloo with need to go back to whichever decade they crept out of.

Except, guess what? Not all fruit cakes are gross. As a matter of fact, this one is anything but. It’s moist and airy and bursting with yummy bits of tender fruit. And this one is special. This one is special because you can only get it from a friend.

That’s right. You have to be chosen.

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When you first get one, it comes with a mysterious “starter” jar filled with this syrupy pink liquid. And you’re all like, ummm… thanks, pal. What am I supposed to do with this jar? Light it on fire and hurl it at the neighbors like a Molotov co*cktail?or…A fruit cake? Really… you shouldn't have. Reallllly.

But then you taste the fruit cake and you’re blown away with how awesome it is and feel bad for acting like a brat about it.

And then you actually sit down and read the recipe and start to feel all special because you see how much thought and planning went into it and you were chosen to receive it.

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And now, instead of thinking what the crap am I supposed to do with this? you’re secretly wondering which of your other friends were chosen and which weren't and you want to go set your pink jar on the porch and point a spotlight at it so everyone will know you were chosen.

Or something like that.

This is a lot of fun and makes incredible gifts. You just have to plan ahead and buy a few jars. I plan on getting the kids involved with making the next batch because it’s kinda like a science experiment. And it’s chocked full of life lessons about booze and being chosen. Ha.

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And guess what else? I’m going to show you how to make your own Starter. So you can make all of it you want and sit on your porch all be all like, Oh, you didn't want to give me one? Well, joke's on you because I made my own!

I’m going to end on that note because I seem to be getting away from the true spirit of friendship :o) though, my friends are seriously kooky and will think this is funny even if the rest of you think I have finally lost it.

Recipe for Friendship Fruit Cake plus Starter Recipe

Friendship Fruit Cake {plus Starter Recipe} (4)

Friendship Fruit Cake & Starter Recipe

Yield: 4-5 Starters & 2 Large Cakes

Author: Mandy Rivers | South Your Mouth

A tried-and-true family recipe for Friendship Fruit Cakes and Starter


Friendship Fruit Cake Starter

  • 1 20-oz. can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1 16-oz. can apricots, drained
  • 1 16-oz. can sliced peaches, drained and cut into chunks
  • 1 10-oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained
  • 1 1/4 cups brandy
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar

Friendship Fruit Cakes

  • 1 pint Friendship Fruit Cake Starter
  • 1 16-oz. can sliced peaches, with liquid – do not drain
  • 1 20-oz. can pineapple tidbits, with liquid – do not drain
  • 2 10-oz. jars maraschino cherries, drained and halved
  • 6 cups sugar, divided
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 boxes yellow cake mix
  • 2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut (optional)
  • 2 cups raisins (optional)


Friendship Fruit Cake Starter

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large glass jar and stir well. Cover with a LOOSE-FITTING LID (nothing air-tight) or with a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth secured with a rubber band then let stand at room temperature for three weeks, stirring 2-3 times each week.
  2. Drain fruit, reserving liquid (Starter). Proceed to cake recipe below.
  3. Use fruit to make cakes (starting at Step 6) if desired or use as a topping for pound cake or ice cream.

Friendship Fruit Cakes

  1. Day One: Pour Starter into a large glass jar. Cut peaches into chunks then add peaches with juice into jar. Add 2 cups sugar then stir well. Cover jar with a LOOSE-FITTING LID (nothing air-tight) or with a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth secured with a rubber band. Stir mixture once each day for 10 days.
  2. Day Ten: Add pineapple tidbits with juice to the jar. Add 2 cups sugar, stir well and cover. Stir mixture once each day for 10 more days.
  3. Day Twenty: Add drained and halved cherries to the jar. Add 2 cups sugar, stir well and cover. Stir mixture once each day for 10 more days.
  4. Day Thirty: Time to Bake! Grease and flour 4 small (8-inch, 6-cup) or 2 regular (10-inch, 12-cup) bundt pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  5. Drain fruit, reserving liquid to be given away as Starter (should yield 4 pints).
  6. Combine eggs and oil in a large bowl then mix well. Add cake and pudding mixes then mix until combined (batter will be thick). Stir in fruit, nuts, coconut and raisins.
  7. Divide batter evenly into pans. Bake at 325 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (40-50 minutes for small, 60-90 minutes for large).
  8. Remove cakes from oven then cool in pans. Store cakes at room temperature in an air-tight container. Freeze for up to three months.

Images and text © South Your Mouth LLC 2014

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Friendship Fruit Cake {plus Starter Recipe} (6)

Friendship Fruit Cake {plus Starter Recipe} (7)

Friendship Fruit Cake {plus Starter Recipe} (2024)


What is the best liquor to soak fruitcake in? ›

What alcohol should you use? Strong, flavourful spirits with a high ABV are ideal for feeding fruitcakes. You can use rum, brandy or whisky for spice, or if you like citrus flavours, try an orange liqueur. Cherry brandy and amaretto will also work well if you prefer these.

Why do you soak fruitcake in alcohol? ›

The general idea in booze soaked cake is the flavor of the booze adding to the flavor of the cake, not just the alcohol.

How do you age a fruit cake quickly? ›

Immerse your fruitcake in a generous amount of your chosen spirit, whether it be rum, brandy, or bourbon. Opt for repeated brushings to ensure the cake drinks in the essence quickly. The alcohol content not only infuses rich flavors but also preserves the cake, expediting the maturation process.

Why is it called friendship cake? ›

The beauty of this process is that by making your own starter, you end up with more liquid than you need for the cake, and it's tradition to jar up the excess and pass it along to a friend with the cake recipe, hence “friendship” being in the name.

What two ingredients help fruitcake last longer? ›

Fruitcake lasts longer than most other cakes because it is filled with nuts and candied fruit. It will last even longer if you sprinkle it with a spirit like brandy.

How often do you add rum to fruitcake? ›

Feeding Christmas Cake & Maturing
  1. Once the cake is baked and cooled completely. ...
  2. Every week remove the cake and use 50 ml of rum of brandy and brush this all over the cake generously. ...
  3. Repeat this process every week until Christmas.
  4. You can bake this cake 2 to 3 months in advance or 6 months to 1 year in advance too.
Nov 27, 2023

Can you eat 20 year old fruit cake? ›

That said, even though a decades-old fruitcake might taste like a leather shoe, eating it probably won't make you dangerously sick.

Should fruitcake be refrigerated? ›

For best quality, a fruit cake that is tightly wrapped with aluminum foil or saran warp can be stored for up to 1 month in a cool, dark pantry, 6 months in the refrigerator, and 12 months in a freezer. Check often for signs of spoilage, and if mold or off-odors develop, discard the cake.

How far in advance should I make fruitcake? ›

Up to 7 weeks out (or as close as the day before): Bake your fruitcakes. Let the cakes cool, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Store the cakes at room temperature until ready to gift or eat.

Why are wife cakes called wife cakes? ›

Another story tells of a dim sum chef's wife creating a pastry with wintermelon paste influenced by a recipe from her mother's family. The new pastry was found to taste better than the dim sums that were being sold in teahouses, and the chef proudly told everyone it was made by his wife, hence it was named "Wife Cake".

Why is it called Elvis Presley cake? ›

Before it's served, you'll add a layer of cream cheese frosting and sprinkle candied pecans on top for some crunch. Internet lore would have you believe this pineapple-topped concoction was Elvis Presley's favorite cake, that he even asked his grandmother to make it for him as a kid.

What is a cuddle cake? ›

This week's selection - Chocolate Cuddle Cake, a single layer of chocolate chiffon cake wrapped in chocolate ganache and topped with caramel whipped cream and chocolate curls.

What alcohol is best for soaking fruit? ›

The Best Booze Soaked Fruits
  • Bourbon Soaked Cherries. If there's fruit, it counts as health food, right? ...
  • Vodka Soaked Strawberries. Straight from the berry patch of your dreams | Recipe.
  • Champagne Soaked, Frosting Covered Strawberries. ...
  • Frozen, Beer Soaked Watermelon.
Aug 13, 2023

How do you keep fruit cake moist with alcohol? ›

Brush cakes generously with sweet sherry, brandy, rum, port, liqueur or fruit juice; do not use wine. Using fruit juice can increase the chances of your fruitcake going mouldy. Wrap each cake in several layers of cheesecloth and then in plastic wrap.

Can I use whiskey instead of brandy in a fruit cake? ›

Whiskey serves as a great substitute for brandy in a fruitcake. Although whiskey comes from fermented grain mash while brandy is made from fermented grape mash, the process is so similar, that the flavor will be similar as well.

Which rum is best for fruit cake? ›

Spiced Rum: Spiced rum has hints of ginger, cinnamon and allspice making it ideal for this festive fruit cake.


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