A holiday legacy: Cherry Spice Cake



One of Bobby Friday’s favorite childhood memories is of sitting on a stool in his mother’s kitchen and watching her bake his favorite holiday dessert. He was one of four children who received a special homemade cake baked by his mother every year during the holiday season.

When she was finished, his mother, others called “Mama” Friday, ignored the flour splattered on her apron and turned her attention to decorating the four-layered Cherry Spice Cake, delicately placing each cherry and pecan on top of the deliciously creamy chocolate frosting.

“She was a great cook and baker,” said the 66-year-old Bobby, perched on a chair in his own light-filled kitchen in Hayden, a few miles away and nearly four decades later. “It was something she just loved to do and was very important to her.”

Sybil “Mama” Friday, wife of pastor M.L. Friday, was a compassionate, loving woman who had a passion to serve and help others. Before she passed away in 1992, she was known in the Black Creek, Blount Springs, and Mt. High community for her delicious homemade desserts. It was a signature of her hospitality and a symbol of her love for others. Mrs. Friday brightened the community for more than 60 years, baking for her family, friends, and members of her church. “Every year Mama would bake around 50 to 60 cakes each holiday season and give away to those she knew. If someone did not like a particular ingredient, she would substitute the ingredient with something that would complement the taste,” says Bobby. “Everyone felt so special to receive her cakes and looked forward to tasting them too.”

Her Cherry Spice Cake recipe was just one of her famous recipes enjoyed by family and friends. It was one of her trademarks, baked in her legendary cake pans and packaged with a holiday red ribbon. “When Mrs. Friday’s health began to fade, I sensed the responsibility to continue making my husband’s favorite cake,” says Frances. “After making this holiday favorite for nearly 19 years, it has become a special tradition in our family and personal to me to carry on her legacy,” she added.

At Christmastime, Frances can be found in her Hayden kitchen mixing the 21 ingredients of Mrs. Friday’s holiday traditional Cherry Spice Cake. “No matter how many cakes Mrs. Friday baked and how many baked gifts she shared, she always made everyone feel so special. This cake reminds me of how much she loved us all,” says Frances, as she prepares the ingredients. “What made her goodies so special were the special ingredients she used – a desire to serve God and others.”

Cherry Spice Cake by Mama Friday

2 sticks butter
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp allspice
3 cups plain flour (all-purpose)
1 cup dried apples
4 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocoa
1 cup pecans (chopped)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
1/4 cherry juice
1 cup buttermilk – stir in baking soda
1 cup maraschino cherries (chopped)

Cream butter, sugar, and eggs. Add cherries and pecans that have been rolled in 1/2 cup of the flour. Add cooked apples and remaining ingredients. Mix well. Bake at 300 degrees till done.

1/2 stick butter
1 tbsp vanilla
1 box confectioners sugar
1/2 cup milk
3 to 4 tbsp cocoa

Melt butter in milk, blend in sugar. Add vanilla and cocoa. Beat till smooth.