Herman – A Friendship Cake

It seems likely that if you’re into food and baking you’ll already have encountered the Herman, or at least the concept of a chain cake. Certainly a number of my friends have independently taken on a batch of this beige gloop into their possession and nursed it to full cakedom.

Herman is likely to come into your posession at a particularly humble point in his life cycle: a small quantity of goo, roughly enough to fill half a small tupperwear box, which you put in a bowl and are compelled to stir.

The pale brown mixture is best described as claggy: it will not come off anything it sticks too. I strongly suspect that this is part of Herman’s many survival adaptations to aid his proliferation during his weakest phase.

I am told that Herman is a sourdough: a species I intend to investigate further.

The Herman Lifecycle

His full life cycle lasts approximately ten days during which he is kept in a bowl covered by a tea towel.

  • Stirred for two days, during which time he bubbles and smells funny.
  • Fed on the fourth (a cup of flour, a cup of milk, and a cup of caster sugar)
  • Stirred for four days, during which time he bubbles from deep beneath his surface, grows considerably, and continues to smell funny.
  • On the ninth day he is fed again  (a cup of flour, a cup of milk, and a cup of caster sugar), and you are compelled to split herman into five equal parts. Four of which need to find their way to your friends along with some version of the instructions.

I’m told that these offspring can be frozen to be awoken from their dormant state later. Again, a very useful adaptation for any life form seeking to cling to its home world long enough to evolve a means of escape.

Instructions can be found on here: http://www.hermanthegermanfriendshipcake.com/

But What Of The Fifth Which Remains?

The Fifth Part awaits day ten when it is fed once more and takes on its ‘mature’ form.

I suspect that this final feed can vary when you know what you what you’re doing, but for me it was as follows:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 apples cut into as fine a chunks as you can manage
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
  • a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • a teaspoon of baking powder
  • half a teaspoon of salt.
This was all mixed up and piled into a cake tin, then I sprinkled a little melted butter and brown sugar on top and put it in the oven at about 180 degrees for half an hour or so. Once the top looked cooked I covered him with tin foil and left in the oven for another half our or so. Probably a little more as I was worried the interior wouldn’t cook.
Anyway, the result looked like this and was very good indeed – in my opinion was even better on day two having dried slightly. I suspect that this, being a fruit cake, could make friends with a nice piece of cheese at some point.

This post was originally written by Paul Thompson on our shared blog, Foody Finds.