|Herman with his little friend Flat Stanley|
A couple of weeks ago my friend Judith sidled up to me at work with an odd look about her, as if she was about to say something quite covert which should have required a special handshake and a wink. She asked if I had ever heard if Herman the German Friendship Cake. I replied, 'yes, I have...' A rush of excitement followed. Jude had Herman. This was fantastic news.
The next day she appeared with a little tub of a frothy looking substance which smelled a bit like proving bread. It was alive.. ALIVE! He came with a list of instructions, which included how he liked to be treated and when to feed him. He was my new, yet strangely edible pet...
Herman the German Friendship Cake is rumoured to have started in the Amish community in America, and was a way of sharing food amongst those who needed it. Adding basic ingredients meant something simple could come blossom into something sweet and tasty. It's very similar to a sourdough starter, and has become like a modern cake chain letter. Each portion of Herman mix then blooms into four. You keep one and pass three on to your friends with a set of instructions.
It goes a little something like this...
Day 1: Take Herman home and decant him into a big bowl. Leave him on the worktop (not the fridge - it's chilly in there) covered with a tea towel.
|Herman bubbling away|
Day 4: Feed him with 200ml milk, 200g caster sugar and 250g self raising flour. Stir well.
Days 5-8: Stir well.
Day 9: Feed him with 200ml milk, 200g caster sugar and 250g self raising flour. Stir well and split into four equal portions. Keep one and give the other three away to friends with instructions.
Day 10: Feed him with 150g self raising flour, 3 beaten eggs, 150g caster sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp baking powder, 100g chopped apple, 100g sultanas and 100ml sunflower oil. You can substitute the combined 200g of fruit with your own favourite fillings! Spread him into a greased and lined tin. I used a 7 inch round tin which took an hour and a half on gas 4/180 C.
After receiving Herman from Judith (who received him from her daughter) I passed my Herman onto Emma, Sarah and Tom. And so it continues...
|Emma's Herman - this contained apple, apricots and pecans|
|Sarah's Herman - this one contains mixed, dried fruit|
|Tom's Herman - this one contained apple|