Herman the German Friendship cake

A box of friendship

A box of friendship

A little while ago I was given a small box of a sour dough mix its name was Herman the German and he is a friendship cake, he is also delicious!

This is what you’ll need to START your own Herman the German cake – he becomes a friendship cake when you divide him into four and give three away with a set of instructions.

What You Need

Adding the sugar

Adding the sugar

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.

Ok so now you have your starting mix you embark on a ten day journey which will result in three happy friends and a yummy cake… here are the instructions that should be given away with the cake -

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.

You CANNOT put me in the fridge or I will die. If I stop bubbling, I am dead.

Day 1: Put me in a large mixing bowl and cover loosely with a tea towel.

Cover the bowl loosely with a tea towel

Cover the bowl loosely with a tea towel

Day 2 : Stir well
Day 3: Stir well
Day 4: Herman is hungry. Add 1 cup each of plain flour, sugar and milk. Stir well.

Day 5: Stir well
Day 6: Stir well
Day 7: Stir well

Day 8: Stir well

Day 9: Add the same as day 4 and stir well. Divide into 4 equal portions and give away to friends with a copy of these instructions. Keep the fourth portion.

Day 10: Now you are ready to make the cake. Stir well and add the following:

  •  1 cup of sugar (8oz or 225g)
  •  2 cups plain flour (10oz or 300g)
  • half tsp. (teaspoon) salt
  • 2/3 (two thirds) cup of cooking oil (5.3oz or 160ml)
  •   2 eggs
  •  2 tsp. vanilla essence
  •  2 cooking apples cut into chunks

    Adding my chosen variation to the mix

    Adding my chosen variation to the mix

  •  1 cup raisins (7oz or 200g)
  •  2 heaped tsp. cinnamon
  •  2 heaped tsp. baking powder


  • 1⁄4 cup brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 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.

    in the oven

    in the oven

    When baked, Herman can be frozen.

There are also quite a few variations on the above recipe each of them as wonderful and yummy as the next but I can personally vouch for the Banana and Chocolate chip version…

Apple, Walnut and Raisin

  • 2 cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 tsps cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

 Apple and Blackcurrant

  • 2 large tbsps blackcurrant conserve
  • 2 cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks

Banana Chocolate

  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 100g plain chocolate chips or well-chopped chocolate

Lemon Drizzle

  • the grated rind of two lemons
  • use some of the juice to dissolve sugar in to make a syrup
  • once the cake is cooked, poke holes in it with a skewer and pour the syrup over
  • use the remaining juice to make a glace icing with using icing sugar to drizzle over the top

    Finished mix ready for the oven

    Finished mix ready for the oven

Chocolate and Raspberry

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 100g chopped plain chocolate
  • Substitute 1 cup of flour for about 100g ground almonds
  • Fresh raspberries to press into the batter once it’s in the cake tin / cases

Double Chocolate 

  • 3/4cup butter at room temp,
  • 1 cup white sugar,
  • 1 cup brown sugar,
  • 4 eggs,
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa,
  • 1cup self raising flour,
  • tsp salt,
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract,
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips,
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts.


  • 150g self-raising flour,
  • 1½ tsp ground ginger,
  • ½ tsp cinnamon,
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate soda,
  • pinch of salt,
  • 125g golden syrup,
  • 60g finely chopped stem ginger,
  • 1 tbsp ginger syrup from stem ginger jar,
  • 2 heaped tbsp sultanas,
  • 75g dark muscovado sugar,
  • 2 eggs,
  • 150 ml milk,
  • 75 ml butter at room temp/softened in microwave.

No matter what mix you choose your Herman will taste great and hopefully make you a few new friends or make old ones friends for life!! :o )