Amish Friendship Cake - Starter

December 5 , 2021

While this is not a Christmas confection, my grandmother made them every Christmas, therefore it represents Christmas for me. Every October my grandmother would pull out the gallon sized pickle jar and and over the next 51 days various fruits with this red liquid sitting in a jar would sit on the counter and then on the 51st day, cakes would be baked and put in mail.

The year before my grandmother passed, she called me and asked that I help her make the cakes. It wasn't until that day that ever even tasted the cake because I thought it was fruit cake. Must to my surprise its a delish moist cake to be given to friends and family. Note that my first friendship cakes were a complete disaster and a story for another day, but before I get into the starter recipe, I have funny story.

As I said before, every October this concoction would appear on the kitchen counter. Eventually it turns red. You know what else is red....Hummingbird feeders. One day my grandmother asked my cousin to fill the hummingbird feeders. He did and over the next few hours, hummingbirds were everywhere. We had the most popular feeders in the State! My grandmother ask my cousin what he put in the feeders and he said "the red stuff on the counter". After a good laugh she said "you put sugar water in the feeders, not the starter. No wonder there are so many of them out there, they are drunk!" The starter is basically an acholic beverage, pure sugar. A hummingbird's dream!

Friendship Fruit Cake Starter

By HBIC via



Glass Jar

Wooden Spoon


1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks or tidbits, drained

1 (20 ounce) can apricot halves, drained (if cannot find, mangos)

1 (20 ounce) can sliced peaches, drained

1 (10 ounce) jar maraschino cherries (no stems), drained

1 1/4 cups brandy

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar


In a large glass jar, combine drained pineapple chunks, drained apricot slices, drained sliced peaches, drained maraschino cherries, brandy and sugar. Stir gently with wooden spoon. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 3 weeks, stirring at least twice a week. Drain and reserve the liquid - This liquid is your starter for the Thirty Day Friendship Cake.


The brandied fruit should be kept refrigerated, and can be served with ice cream, yogurt or pound cake. You can also use the brandied fruit in a cake mix or scratch cake. Use about 2 cups (chopped) per cake mix. Can also be used in sangria or adult punch.