Quick Sourdough: Keep Your Friends Cake

  • Quickly turn extra ripe sourdough starter into delicious cake.
  • Update traditional German Friendship Cake for today’s healthier lifestyle.
quick sourdough German Friendship Cake
Sourdough Keep Your Friends Cake

Years ago, Friendship Cake was all the rage. Basically, it worked like this – you mixed yeast, flour and sugar together and put it in the fridge. Every day you stirred it, and on day 5 added more ingredients. Back to the fridge for five more days, then add more ingredients. Divide this starter into 4 equal portions, keep one portion for yourself to make a cake, and give the other three to friends. The whole idea being that they would then follow the same procedure. It was like a chain letter in a jar. And after a while your friends started to avoid you like the crazy zucchini lady.

Using Ripe Sourdough Starter

I guess we all had more time back then, or spent our time differently. Anyway, I remembered the actual cake fondly so went searching for the recipe. Since nothing would scare friends away faster than “sharing” another chore, and since I don’t have enough friends to go scaring any of them away, I set about adapting the recipe to use some of my already bubbling sourdough starter.

The original recipe was also a health disaster waiting to happen, full of way too much sugar and fat (about 700 calories per piece). This is an updated, quicker, sourdough, healthier version of the old German Friendship Cake. Still tastes great though!

Quick Sourdough: Keep Your Friends Cake

German Friendship Cake – made with leftover sourdough starter and lots of chewy fruits and nuts.
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 16


  • 1 cup ripe sourdough starter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup broken walnuts divided
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine all ingredients except the brown sugar and ¼ cup walnuts. Stir to combine. The combination of baking soda and sourdough starter will cause the dough to bubble up.
  • Grease a 10-12 cup Bundt pan.Sprinkle the bottom with the brown sugar and ¼ cup walnuts.
  • Spoon the batter into the pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven. Cool on a rack for10 minutes; then turn out of the pan and cool completely before slicing.

Note: This cake is more reminiscent of a light carrot cake or a zucchini bread than an actual cake. If you prefer a sweeter cake, it would be good frosted with cream cheese frosting.

Even though I severely cut back on the fat from the original recipe, the cake stayed moist all week.

I think this recipe could safely be halved and baked in an 8 x 8-inch pan. I would halve everything except the pineapple. It should still work using one 8-ounce can crushed pineapple.

Make Your Own Sourdough Starter

Sourdough is an easy, and rewarding, cooking project. Learn to make and tend your own starter with these additional posts:

Make Your Own Sourdough Starter

How to Keep Sourdough Starter Alive

What Happens When You Ignore Your Sourdough Starter

How to Make Rye and Other Specialty Sourdough Starters


by Renee Pottle

Renee Pottle, a freelance writer and Home Economist, is fanatic about all things food. She blogs about canning and food preservation at SeedToPantry.com. Find her professional food writing info at PenandProvisions.com.

March 9, 2020

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