Have you ever heard of or tried Friendship Cake? Do you know the reason for the name and what it is made of? Today is November 13th, World Kindness Day, and according to the dictionary, kindness means, among other things, “that arouses empathy for the kindness of your feelings and/or the refinement of your behaviors”. Do you want something more gentle and refined in behavior than making a cake and sharing its essence with neighbors, co-workers and friends?
There is a tradition that is based precisely on sharing the ingredients of a cake, as a symbol of a continuous process of strengthening bonds of friendship. The “Friendship Cake”, or Friendship Cake in Portuguese, emerged in the United States in the 20th century. It gained popularity especially in the 1960s and 1970s.
Friendship Cake is a cake made from a fermented dough known as “starter” or “mother dough”. This dough, which contains ingredients such as flour, sugar and milk, is fed and maintained over time. It should be divided and shared with friends so that everyone can make their own friendship cakes and spread kindness around.
The tradition is based on the idea that sourdough is shared as a gesture of friendship and solidarity, and is passed on among friends and acquaintances. The person who receives the sourdough feeds it and uses it to make a cake, and then can share part of it with other people.
This practice was particularly popular in communities where exchanging recipes and foods between neighbors was common. Friendship Cake has become a way to strengthen friendship bonds and promote sharing between people.
Although the Friendship Cake tradition was most prominent in the 1960s and 1970s, you can still find variations of it being practiced in some communities around the world today.
One of these variations was brought from the United States in 1992 by housewife Elba Cavalcante de Albuquerque, who discovered the recipe on a trip to New York. When staying with her family at the house of Brazilian friends, she tried the cake, liked it, asked for the recipe and brought the sourdough in her luggage.
Since then, she has passed the tradition on by presenting her friends and relatives with the cake and yeast, and by adding personal touches to the recipe. “Just as cool or even cooler than making the friendship cake, which takes a longer process because of the yeast, is giving your friends a little bit of the yeast as a gift along with the cake. That’s the idea behind the cake, that it’s a way to reinforce friendship bonds with something tasty that can be shared many times,” she says.
See the recipe and learn how to prepare the Friendship Cake
Elba Cavalcante de Albuquerque
Preparation time35-40 minutes
- For the base yeast:
- 1 spoon of sugar
- 2 glasses of warm water
- 15 g of dry organic yeast
- 2 cups of wheat flour
Yeast preparation method
- Dissolve the sugar in half a glass of warm water and add the yeast, letting it rest for 10 minutes;
- Add the rest of the water, the flour and blend in a blender until smooth;
- Cover tightly with plastic and leave overnight;
- On the second day, feed with 1 glass of wheat flour, 1 glass of milk and half a glass of sugar. Beat well and close;
- On the 3rd and 4th days, stir and cover;
- On the 5th day, feed as on the 2nd day;
- On the 6th, 8th and 9th days, stir and cover;
- On the 10th day you will have 4 cups of yeast.
- 1st glass: save for next time, starting the work from the 5th day of the recipe;
- 2nd glass: give to a friend.
- 3rd and 4th glasses: use to make the cake
Important: always feed the yeast before starting the cake.
- To prepare the cake:
- 2/3 cup of oil;
- 3 eggs;
- 2 glasses of wheat flour;
- 1 glass of sugar;
- 1 plus ¼ spoon of cinnamon;
- 2 teaspoons of yeast;
- 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate;
- ¼ teaspoon of salt;
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla;
- 1 cup of ‘friendship’ yeast.
How to prepare the cake
- Beat well.
- Add 1 cup of grated apple. If you prefer, add 1 cup of raisins, 1 to 2 cups of nuts, or even chocolate chips, coconut, peanuts or banana. You can also replace 1 cup of wheat flour with breadcrumbs or cornmeal.
- To use the 2 cups of yeast, double the recipe or make 2 different cakes.