Monthly Archives: March 2012

Meet Herman again, but this time, he’s a delicious sourdough cake

Ten days later and Herman has just come out of the oven (for those of you unfamiliar with Herman, take a look at my last post). He looks absolutely gorgeous with a golden brown crust of bubbling brown sugar. And the smell, mmm it’s delicious, aromas of cinnamon and apple mixed with that mouth watering freshly baked, just out of the oven smell have engulfed my kitchen.

Despite the distraction of work and a week of gorgeously balmy spring weather, I have diligently stirred and fed Herman over the past ten days and yesterday I divided him up into four pieces.  The fourth of which I baked this evening, adding a number of ingredients including apple chunks, cinnamon and vanilla extract into my original Herman mix.


Herman before going into the oven


Herman baked and smelling delicious

He’s still cooling, so I have been distractedly watching TV and drooling from afar all evening and tomorrow when I get home from work I’m going to give Herman a try. Until then, I’m just going to have to be patient!

For those of you who feel your missing out on Herman and don’t know anyone who can give you a piece, you can find a starter Herman recipe  online. And if you’re curious as to how to look after Herman and what to add, I’ve included the instructions below.

Herman is a German sourdough friendship cake. Herman is alive and grows slowly but surely because of a yeasting process. It takes ten days before you can eat him. You CANNOT put Herman in the fridge and if he stops bubbling , he’s dead.

DAY 1: Once you get your piece of Herman, pour him into a big bowl so he can grow and cover with a tea towel.

DAY 2: Stir well

DAY 3: Stir well

DAY 4: Herman is hungry! You must feed him with:

  • 200ml milk
  • 150g plain flour
  • 200g granulated sugar

DAY 5: Stir well

DAY 6: Stir well

DAY 7: Stir well

DAY 8: Stir well

DAY 9: Herman is hungry again! Feed him as Day 4.

Having been fed, he now needs to be split into four equal pieces. Give away three of these along with a copy of the instructions.

DAY 10: Your remaining piece of Herman is ready to be made into a cake.

I made an apple cake with my Herman adding the below ingredients:

  • 200g granulated sugar
  • half tsp salt
  • 250g plain flour
  • a bit of cooking or olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 diced cooking apples
  • raisins
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Mix everything in a large bowl. Place in a greased baking tray, sprinkle with brown sugar and melted butter and put into a pre heated oven at 170-180C for 45 minutes to an hour. When cold cut into slices. Herman can also be frozen.

After all this care, attention and nurturing … eat him and enjoy!!!


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Meet Herman, the bubbling container of goo

Hello, my name is Herman.

I am a sourdough cake. I’m supposed to sit on your worktop for 10 days without a lid on.

So began the letter accompanying a plastic container filled with a bubbling mix of goo that my boyfriend presented to me on Friday evening, under the assumption that I would do a better job than him of keeping Herman (which is the dough’s name) alive for 10 days!

Fortunately I had heard of Herman, the German Friendship cake before, oddly enough from my German aunt, otherwise I think I would have been somewhat baffled by the concept.

Basically, for those of you unfamiliar with Herman, he (not sure what gender a cake mixture is, but Herman’s a guys name so …) is a sourdough cake starter mix that you have to keep for 10 days, following the instructions accompanying the mixer.  Herman is decades old, at least the concept is not my piece of Herman, passing through circles of friends and multiplying, you get the gist.

After the 10 days you split Herman into four pieces and give away three of these with a set of instructions. You keep the fourth piece and make it into a sourdough cake or whatever other sourdough recipe you want.


Well three days in, one of those being a very boozy Paddy’s Day  (the match is not to be mentioned) and Herman is still alive and bubbling.

To be honest, the process is a lot less difficult than I imagined. Stirring well being the main daily requirement to keeping him alive, plus adding a little bit of food  in the form of flour, sugar and milk every few days to mix it up  a bit.

The only thing you don’t want is for Herman to stop bubbling, if he does he’s dead.  So far so good. I am under the strictest instructions not to let this happen, so provided I am successful, I will have to find three willing people to take a piece of Herman off my hands in seven days time.

I will check back in once the 10 days are up and report on the state of Herman, I’m hoping he’ll be a cake by then. In the meantime, anyone within reasonable distance of London who wants a piece of Herman to attempt to keep alive, please let me know.


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