The recipe and my first cup of starter were given to me by the retired WAVE who lived next to us in North Carolina (Doris would have been highly insulted had anyone ever referred to her as a sailor. When she enlisted in the forties, they were called WAVES, thank you very much, and they were still called WAVES when she retired).
1 c butter
1 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/2 c brandied fruit juice
2 c. brandied fruit
1 c. pecans
1/2 c flaked coconut
Cream the butter and sugar, and then beat in the eggs. Beat in the flour and spices alternately with the brandied fruit juice.
Fold in the fruit, pecans and flaked coconut. The batter will be stiff and very sticky. Spoon it into a thickly buttered 10 inch tube pan and tap the pan on the counter sharply to eliminate any air bubbles and to even out the batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes. Cool for about 15 minutes and then turn out onto a plate. This is best eaten at room temperature and needs no frosting although if you wish to gild the lily, you can make a powdered sugar/milk glaze and dribble it over the top.
You will note there is no baking powder and only two eggs in this cake; it will not rise very high. It is dense, rich, and very sweet (no comments on suitable husband material, if you please).
Young men like this cake. I brought it to Christmas potlucks at Camp Lejeune, and there would be not a crumb left. Doris used frozen coconut because she thought it was fresher and had more flavor, but I use Angel Flake with good results.
Once you have made your cake, take 2 cups of fruit and 2 cups of liquor and give them to a friend. He or she is to make a cake with the fruit and 1 cup of liquor, and use the other cup as a starter for her own Friendship Cake. Supposedly you will have enough starter left to begin the fruit maceration process all over again but that has never worked out for me. Maybe I need to start with more brandy?
I have seen this at bake sales and on the Internet referred to as Amish Friendship Cake, and also as Herman.