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Friendship Cake  (2)

Starter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 pkg. (.25 oz.) active dry yeast
1 jar (10 oz.) maraschino cherries, undrained
2 cups raisins
1 pkg. (7 oz.; 1-1/4 cups) dried apricots, chopped
1 can (15-1/4 oz.) crushed pineapple packed in juice, undrained
Cake
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, room temperature
1 pkg. yellow cake mix with pudding
1 jar fruit and juice from the starter (about 2 cups)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs

  Day 1: Place apple juice in a medium saucepan over low heat and warm to about 110 degrees. Pour into a 2-quart glass jar with a lid or into a glass bowl. Add the sugar, lemon juice, yeast, and cherries. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Cover the mixture with the jar lid or with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature, stirring twice more that day. Day 2: Stir the mixture twice during the day. Day 3: Stir in the raisins. Day 4: Stir in the apricots. Day 5: Stir in the pineapple with its juice and drain the mixture, reserving the juice. Divide both the fruit and the juice into 4 equal parts (about 1-1/4 cups fruit and 3/4 cup juice in each part). Place one part fruit and one part juice into each of four clean 2-cup jars with lids. Refrigerate until ready to use. The starter will keep for up to 2 weeks.

  Place brown sugar, nuts, and butter in a small bowl. Mix with a fork until well blended. Set aside. Place the cake mix, fruit, oil, eggs, and juice from the starter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2–3 minutes more. Pour the batter into 9x13-inch baking pan sprayed with vegetable oil, smoothing batter with the spatula. Sprinkle the cake batter with the brown sugar and nut mixture. Bake the cake at 350 degrees until it springs back when lightly pressed and just starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 40–45 minutes. Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely, about 40 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

 


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