Time to drain!
You'll end up with about 2 cups of liquid (this is the starter for the Thirty Day Friendship Cake) and about 4 cups of brandied fruit (save this in the fridge for some yummy late-night snacking).
Place the liquid back into the jar...NOW we can finally start the 30-day process to make the actual cake. Here's a recap of where I am now: (Full recipe at bottom of post.)
Day One (07/31/10):
Begin by obtaining one 15 oz. can of peaches packed in juice (there'll be plenty of chances to add sugar later!). If you can, seek out diced or chunked peaches to make things easier. If the peaches are sliced, go ahead and use your kitchen scissors to chop them up as you add them to the starter liquid. Add 2½ cups white sugar. Stir daily. The sugar won't all dissolve right now, but that's okay--it will over the course of the next 10 days.
Day Ten (08/09/10):
Add one 15 oz. can of pineapple packed in juice. Uh oh. Looks like all the big cans of pineapple are now 20 oz. Go ahead and eat some, no one's looking. Again, smaller pieces are your friends here, so seek out the pineapple tidbits. If you've only got chunks, slice each one in half. Add pineapple along with all the juices to the jar. Throw in ½ cup white sugar and stir daily.
Whoops. I cannot for the life of me get this photo to post in the correct orientation.
Be sure to tune in next week as we look at Day Twenty (08/19/10)!
Thirty Day Friendship Cake (two 9x13 inch cakes or two Bundts)
This takes 30 days to prepare the fruit for the cake but it's worth it. It's delicious. If you are lucky a friend will give you 2 cups of starter along with a piece of cake so you won't have to go through all the trouble of preparing a starter. If you have the starter, begin here. If not, it will take an additional 20 days to prepare the starter. Get the starter recipe HERE or HERE.
2 cups Friendship Fruit Starter
1 (15 oz.) can sliced peaches in juice, undrained
2 ½ cups white sugar
1 (15 oz.) can pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
½ cup white sugar
2 (10 oz.) jars maraschino cherries, undrained
2 ½ cups white sugar
2 (18.25 oz.) boxes yellow cake mix
2 (3.4 oz.) boxes instant vanilla pudding mix
1⅓ cups vegetable oil
2 cups golden raisins
2 cups chopped walnuts
2 cups flaked coconut
In a large glass jar or bowl, combine 2 cups of the starter with 1 can of the sliced peaches and their juice (each slice chopped into 4 pieces). Add 2½ cups of the white sugar and stir once every day for 10 days. When not stirring mixture, keep it covered with a paper towel, foil, or a loose lid. Let sit at room temperature. Don't refrigerate it or cover it airtight. A pan of water underneath the jar or bowl will keep the ants out.
Add 1 can of chunk pineapple and its juice. Cut each chunk of pineapple in half. Stir in ½ cup white sugar. Stir once every day for 10 days. The color should change, and the mixture should foam when stirred. (So far, this has not happened for me...but I'm still pressing onward!)
Slice each cherry in half, and stir in. Add 2 ½ cups of the white sugar. Stir once every day for the final 10 days. The cherries will give the juice back its pinkish color.
Drain the fruit and reserve it and the liquid. The fruit will be used to bake the cakes; the liquid is the starter for the next 30-day cycle. Pour the liquid into 3 glass or ceramic pint jars-one for you to keep & start the next cycle, and two to give away to friends. Cycle must be started within 3 days of 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.
Bake the cakes:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour two 9x13 inch baking pans or two Bundt pans (or one of each!).
It's best to mix the two cakes separately, unless you have a ginormous bowl. Combine 1 box of the cake mix, 1 box of the instant vanilla pudding, ⅔ cup of the vegetable oil, and 4 of the eggs. Stir, then add half of the drained reserved fruit from the starter (fruit only, not the starter liquid). Stir, then add 1 cup golden raisins, 1 cup chopped walnuts, and 1 cup flaked coconut. Stir until all ingredients are combined. The batter will be stiff. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan. Repeat for cake number two.
Bake cakes at 325°F for 55 to 65 minutes. Bundt pans may take 70 minutes or longer.