Saturday, 6 September 2014

Herman The German Friendship Cake

A friendship cake? what is this nonsense?

It's wonderful nonsense! The wonders of natural fermentation, the slow food process which is fully self invested and the prize of a delicious cake at the end. Then you can share the fun adventure with a friend. When our friends Teresa and Ben offered us our very own Herman starter we were intrigued as we had a sourdough bread starter already and we love anything new that improves the quality of our menu through natural process.

Herman is a natural sourdough starter designed for cake and the concept of global friendship being tied together with a starter is not entirely new, but this was my first experience with it.

Herman comes to you as a cup of starter that you feed and grow and nurture and it is hard to contain the sheer joy of seeing the bubbles and froth when this little guy gets going.

The Instructions are clear and easy to follow and a basic cake recipe comes with Herman.

If you want to start your own Herman these instruction are freely available on the fun website dedicated to the friendship cake phenomenon, but I will include them here:

Our Herman starter

What You Need

Firstly, make sure you have the following:
  • 5oz plain flour
  • 8oz castor sugar
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • Half a pint of warm milk
  • 2 fl oz. of warm water

What You Do

  1. Dissolve the yeast in warm water for 10 minutes then stir.
  2. Add the flour and sugar then mix thoroughly.
  3. Slowly stir in the warm milk.
  4. Cover the bowl in a clean cloth.
  5. Leave in a cool dry place for 24 hours
  6. Now proceed from day one of the 10 day cycle.



Sourdough Fruitcake


1 cup
½ cup
4 cups
Wholemeal spelt flour
1 teaspoon
Baking soda
1½ cup
Dried currants
1 teaspoon
1 cup
Plus 2 tb Blackberry nip or other wine
1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon
1 cup
Sourdough Starter
½ teaspoon
Grated nutmeg
6 tablespoons
3 cups
Candied fruit; cherries, pineapple, orange, citron and ginger
1 cup
raw sugar
1 cup
Brown sugar
Eggs, well beaten
1 cup
Chopped nuts
2 tablespoons
Grated lemon rind

into the baking pan
Soak dried fruit in 1 cup wine overnight. Remove starter from refrigerator and set, tightly covered, in warm place overnight.

It should be in at least a two cup container as it will just about double its volume overnight. In the morning, cream butter with sugar and beat in eggs and lemon rind. Drain wine from raisins into creamed mixture. Stir in starter and 3 cups of the flour sifted with the soda, salt and spices. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of flour over the fruit and nuts in a large bowl. Toss and shake until well-coated.

Add to batter and mix thoroughly. Turn into loaf pans which have been generously buttered. Let stand in warm place for 30 minutes. Bake in oven preheated to 145degC with a pan of water on floor of oven and rack as near as possible in middle of oven. Bake about 2-½ hours for medium-sized loaves watching carefully to see that they do not brown to quickly. Test with toothpick. Remove from oven, turn pans on sides and allow to set for a few minutes before taking from pans. When cold drip 2 tbsp. of wine over each cake. As soon as it is absorbed, wrap tightly in cellophane freezer paper and store in refrigerator or freezer. They improve with age.

Sourdough Fruitcake

Dutch Hot Cakes

Dutch Hot Cakes
2 cups plain flour
pinch salt
1 egg
1.5 cup warm milk
3/4 cup of Sourdough starter
1 cup sultanas and currants
butter or oil for cooking

Place the flour and salt into a bowl, put in the egg and 1 cup of milk. Mix to a smooth batter, then add the rest of the milk and fruit. Oil or butter a skillet or griddle. Drop spoonfuls of the batter onto the hot surface and cook on both sides until browned. Butter and serve hot.

* With gratitude to Herman The German Friendship Cake

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