Chocolate Cherry Almond Amish Friendship Bread Cake with Home made Pudding mix

This post has been a long time pending. I had recieved a Amish friendship bread starter from one of my friends at office. His wife had been kind enough to share a portion of friendship bread starter with me, and I have made this recipe twice since then. The Amish Friendship bread starter is like a chain letter.It comes with a printed instruction like the one below. Each portion of starter shared with you, is multiplied into five portions, 4 of which you give away and 1 you keep for yourself. Feeding, maintaining and growing the friendship bread starter itself is a fun experience, kind of like a science experiment, and is great to do with kids during the summer holidays.

Amish Frienship Bread 1

The taste of a Frienship Bread Cake is unique and has a yeasty taste and flavor to it, due to the fermentation of the dough. I found this recipe in the Friendship Bread Kitchen and have tweaked it to suit what I had on hand. I have also substituted whole wheat flour for part of the all purpose flour to make it a bit healthy. It results in a tender airy and not so sweet cake which is perfect with a cup of coffee for breakfast, or as a snack.

Ingredients:
For the pudding Mix:
1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp nonfat dry milk
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

To add to Starter:
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups milk

For the Chocolate Cherry Almond Amish Friendship bread Cake:
1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup of above chocolate pudding mix
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup sliced almonds
1 tbsp instant coffee powder
1 cup hot water
butter, for greasing a pan.

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Method:
First make the pudding mix by whisking together the non fat dry milk, cornstarch, sugar, salt and cocoa.

Add the ingredients to the bag of starter and mash to combine. Measure out 1 cup of the mixture. You can continue feeding the starter and multiplying it if you wish, or give away the remaining to your friends.

Add the tbsp of coffee powder to the hot water. Stir to combine. Soak the cherries in the warm coffee. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9 X 13 pan with butter. You can also use two loaf pans for the same quantity as well.

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In a medium bowl, beat together the sugar and oil using an electric mixer. Add in the eggs one by one and beat to combine. Add vanilla and almond extracts. Stir in the starter to the mix.

In another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and the pudding mix. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix to combine. Stir in the soaked cherries and the almonds, reserving a couple of tablespoons of almonds for topping the cake.

Scoop the batter into the prepared pans and bake for one hour until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Slice and serve.

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Verdict: This is not a very sweet cake, which is perfect for me, as I love my cakes to be this way. It is perfect with a cup of coffee or as to satisfy a 3 o clock craving for something sweet. The coffee flavor gets steeped into the cherries and when combined with the chocolate adds a great depth of flavor to the cake. The almonds add a crunchy bite.

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