Chef HERMAN FRIENDSHIP CAKE

Herman Friendship Cake

Home Baking

HERMAN FRIENDSHIP CAKE

Ingredients

The Herman Starter Mix

Ingredients:
5oz plain flour
8oz castor sugar
1 packet of active easy dry yeast
Half a pint of warm milk
2 fl oz. lukewarm water

The cake!

With a quarter of the starter mix add the following:
1/4 cup of sugar (2oz or 110g)
2 cups plain flour (10oz or 300g)
half tsp. (teaspoon) salt
2/3 (two thirds) cup of cooking oil (5.3oz or 160ml)
2 medium eggs
1 tsp. vanilla essence
2 cooking apples cut into small chunks (sultana size)
1 cup raisins (7oz or 200g)
50g toasted almond flakes
2 heaped tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 heaped tsp. baking powder

Optional Extra:

¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup melted butter

Preparation

Preparation Time 10 days!

Cooking Time 45-60min

Oven Temperature170‐ 180C.

Method

What is ‘Herman Friendship Cake’ or sometimes known as ‘Herman the German Friendship Cake’?

The origins of the Herman friendship cake apparently date back a few centuries ago from the Amish people. From what I have found out they would give out a type of sourdough bread that was passed among the needy and sick. I will happily post the correct origin if this is wrong; use the contact form to drop me a line if you know more.

Herman friendship cake is similar to an annoying chain letter that gets passed between a circle of friends and families but actually this isn’t quite as annoying. However, you must nurture Herman for 10 days before you can bake this yummy cake.

What you get given is usually a sourdough starter mix, which is a substitute for baking yeast. It can also be used for other types of yeast-based baking such as bread; it can be shared among friends and can even be frozen for use in the future.

When you make a starter, you keep one-quarter of the final mix and then pass on a quarter each to three others. At this stage the recipients of your starter can just use the starter to make a cake or as this recipe is designed they further nurture the mix, building it and then they too divide into four keeping a quarter to make a cake and pass the remaining on to three others….

When you give a starter to a friend you should also give them instructions on how to further build the starter and how to make the cake.

In the modern day, few will give the time to build the starter and continue the chain, however, they may make a cake as most of the recipients of my starter decided to do.

 

Notes:

This cake is great to make with kids as it is easy to do and you only need to do a little per day. However, I find the original recipe takes too long and tastes too sweet so I am showing both the original and my own way to make this cake which is quicker and healthier.

Herman (The German) Friendship Cake

Sourdough Original Version?

Some refer to the Herman cake as a sourdough cake yet most recipes including the one I show you below use a packet yeast starter so not really a true sourdough.

Sourdough bread is coming back into fashion and many artisan breads use a sourdough starter to make the bread rise rather than using a live yeast or instant yeast. However, unless you bake bread on a regular basis then you may find the upkeep of the starter a bit of a chore. Some bakers have starters that are years old, using part each day to make bread and then adding more ingredients back into the starter to keep it alive and to make more bread.

To make a sourdough starter you basically just need flour and water and leave it this mixture covered with a tea towel for several days until it starts to bubble. The mixture and the make its own natural yeast and start to foment. However, a little help can speed thing up.

The way I make mine is to first use apple peel taken from an organic apple, preferably a tart cooking apple such as a Bramley, (using the apple itself to make an apple pie!)

I place the peel in about a pint of lukewarm water and add a little sugar, some say no sugar but this does help it to work a little better. Leave this overnight and pour the water into a container such as a large plastic lidded sandwich box or a bit larger. Add to the water a couple of cups of bread flour sometimes known as strong flour, mix and leave until it bubbles, this usually takes a day. Stir and feed the starter with more flour, water over the following days to keep it alive.

For Sourdough bread, you want about 25% starter to 75% bread flour to make bread.

If using this type of starter for the Herman Cake use some of this starter in replacement of the packet yeast

 

The Herman Starter Mix

Ingredients:
5oz plain flour
8oz castor sugar
1 packet of active easy dry yeast
Half a pint of warm milk
2 fl oz. lukewarm water

Method:

In a large bowl add the flour and sugar then mix thoroughly.
Add the packet yeast and stir.
Slowly stir in the warm milk and water.
Cover the bowl with a clean cloth.
Leave in a cool dry place for 24 hours
Now proceed from day one of the 10-day cycle.

Notes Tips

Make sure the milk is at least room temperature do not use straight from the fridge. Never put this mixture in a fridge as it needs to stay in a warm environment. Do not use cling film with this recipe use a clean tea towel to cover your bowl. Cling film taps all the air and we want the mixture to breath.

Measures & Conversions

A ‘cup’ is a measure used in the USA for baking and cooking. Conversions to imperial or
Metric are as follows:
Liquid measures: Dry measures:

1 x cup = 8 fl oz. (or 240ml) 1 x packet of yeast = approx. 2 tsp.
1 x cup of flour = 5oz (150g)
1 x cup of sugar = 8oz (225g)
1 x cup of brown sugar = 6oz (175g)
1 x cup of raisins = 7oz (200g)

The original recipe takes 10 days to make but this can be speeded up! First of all, allow the starter mix to ferment and this is best done by leaving it a least a few hours if not overnight. Once this is done you can go to stage two

Stage Two.

The original recipe will ask you to stir the mixture every day for ten days. On day four to add further ingredients (as per My Stage Two) and after a further four days again add further ingredients (as per stage two / three) before dividing it on day ten.

My Stage Two:

Add 1 cup each of plain flour and warm milk and a ½ cup of sugar to the mixture then stir well. You should find after 5-10 min a few bubbles appearing i.e. the second fermentation is taking place if this seems slow of the mark just sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar on top and it will start the process. Cover again with a tea towel. Leave again for a few hours or if you wish you can leave it overnight. The mixture will double in size during the fermentation so make sure you use a big bowl.

Stage Three:

Repeat stage two and allow for a second fermentation. Now the starter mix is ready to use! Now divide this into four equal batches. If you wish as per the purpose of the cake use one to make a cake for yourself and give away the other three portions to others to use along with the cake recipe or just make four cakes which can be frozen for later consumption!

The recipient of a quarter starter should then build the start for further ten-day period again adding more ingredients as per stage two before again dividing the mixture further into four and so on…Or just make a cake!

The Cake!

With a quarter of the starter mix add the following:
1/4 cup of sugar (2oz or 110g)
2 cups plain flour (10oz or 300g)
half tsp. (teaspoon) salt
2/3 (two thirds) cup of cooking oil (5.3oz or 160ml)
2 medium eggs
1 tsp. vanilla essence
2 cooking apples cut into small chunks (sultana size)
1 cup raisins (7oz or 200g)
50g toasted almond flakes
2 heaped tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 heaped tsp. baking powder

Optional:

¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup melted butter

Mix everything together and put into a large greased baking tin. Sprinkle with a quarter of a cup of brown sugar and a quarter of a cup of melted butter. Bake for 45 minutes at 170‐ 180C. Test the middle with a clean knife; you may need to cover in tin foil and bake for a further 20 minutes to make sure your Herman is cooked properly in the middle.

Cooking Note:

If using a fan assisted oven cover loosely with foil for the first 40 min then remove foil and bake until brown.

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