Remember last week when I mentioned that I was in the process of making Herman the German Friendship cake? Well I made it (him) yesterday, and I’m here to tell you he is delicious!
For those who didn’t see my blog post last time, Herman the German is a cake that apparently originates with the Amish people. They would share this cake amongst themselves to help the sick and poor. I received it from my sister-in-law, Kelly, and while I was a little cynical at first, when I actually got to taste her finished cake, I was convinced!
~ Instructions ~
I received these instructions, along with the little bowl of mixture at the start of last week. As you can see, the instructions tell you that you can’t put the mixture in the fridge, or seal it, because otherwise it will die. As far as I can tell, the bowl of ‘stuff’ that you receive is a yeast mixture; it is therefore ‘alive’, and you keep it that way by feeding it flour, sugar and milk. You have to keep stirring the mixture throughout the ten days; it builds up bubbles on the top which is how you know it is still alive. It smells quite awful, like a brewery, which is almost enough to put you off, but luckily I knew how good the final product tasted!
~ Day 4 ~
This is how the mixture looked on the fourth day, when I had added the first lot of flour, sugar and milk to it. It seems a bit strange to add milk to a mixture and then keep it out in room temperature, but it is called a sourdough mix!
~ Day 9 ~
The ninth day is when you divide the mixture into four, keeping one batch for yourself, and giving three away. I gave one lot to my sister, one to my dad’s friends, and the other is still on my worktop! I am giving it away to my friend Anna, so I have to do the first few days for her, because otherwise Herman will die!
On day ten, you finally get to bake Herman. I didn’t actually do it on the tenth day, because I didn’t have the ingredients that I needed, so I left it until the eleventh day. I knew that it wouldn’t turn out to be a problem, and it wasn’t.
~ Cooking apples, cut into chunks ~
~ A cup of sultanas (the recipe calls for raisins, but sultanas are cheaper!) ~
~ The final mixture ~
To the mixture that has been developing for ten days, you add cooking apples, raisins, salt, flour, eggs, baking powder, vanilla essence, oil and cinnamon. You can also add nuts, but I’m not a huge fan of nuts in cakes, so I left them out. I suppose you could probably add whatever fruit you liked to it, really, but I decided to stick with the recipe!
~ Almost ready to bake… ~
~ … Just as soon as you add some butter and sugar on the top! ~
The mixture goes into a roasting tin and then you sprinkle melted butter and brown sugar onto the top. This gives it a lovely crispy top, so while it’s not the healthiest addition, it’s definitely tasty!
~ The finished product! ~
~ Perfect with a cup of tea ~
Ta da! There you have Herman the German friendship cake! it really is a delicious cake, and, as the name suggests, it is something you can share with your friends. It makes a lot of cake, so I am going to give some of mine away, otherwise it will just go to waste! If you do find yourself as part of a chain, you may find that you are making Hermans from now until eternity; I got mine from my sister-in-law in Bedford, and was offered one by my brother’s girlfriend in Essex the other day!
So that is three cakes down, and my aim is ten. I’m quite pleased with that – seven months (minus one day) until my birthday to make seven cakes. Easy! My next aim is this one, or a variation on it; I don’t like marzipan!