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Friendship Cake

Whether received as gifts or nurtured from scratch, brandied fruit starters are making their way into thousands of kitchens. This Brandied Fruit Starter can be served atop pound cake or ice cream and used to bake this Friendship Cake. The starter should last indefinitely if handled properly. Use clean equipment, and keep it covered.

Brandied Fruit Starter

1 (15 1/2oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained
1 (16 oz.) can sliced peaches, drained
1 (17oz.) can apricot halves, drained
1 (10oz.) jar maraschino cherries, drained
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup brandy*

Combine all ingredients in a clean, nonmetal bowl; stir gently. Cover and let stand at room temperature 3 weeks, stirring fruit twice a week. You can serve this fruit over ice cream or pound cake, always reserving at least 1 cup of the starter.

To replenish starter, add 1 cup sugar and one of the first 4 ingredients every 1 to 3 weeks, alternating fruits each time; stir gently. Cover and let stand at room temperature 3 days before using. Yield: 6 cups.

*Apricot or peach brandy can be used, if desired.

Friendship Cake

1 cup margarine, melted
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 teas baking soda
1 teas cinnamon
1/2 teas salt
1/4 teas ground cloves
1/4 teas nutmeg
2 eggs
2 cups brandied fruit, drained
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup brandied fruit juice
Confectioners sugar (optional)

Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl; beat well. Combine next 6 ingredients; add to butter mixture, beating well. Add eggs; beat well.

Coarsely chop fruit, and stir into batter. Add pecans and juice; mix well. Pour batter into a well greased and floured 10 in bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar if desired.

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