Herman the (Second) German Friendship Cake

I made my second Herman last night.

I wanted to try a different recipe and my husband voted for a ginger Herman over a chocolate one.  There’s a recipe for a ginger Herman on the Herman website but it didn’t sound quite like the type of cake I was looking for.

So, being me, I decided to play with the ingredients!  I took the ginger flavouring mix from the All Recipes Big Soft Ginger Cookies recipe and decided to add rhubarb as the fruit.

The resulting cake batter was more liquid than the last one I made, possibly because of the molasses/treacle, possibly because I ran out of oil and had to guesstimate how much soft margarine to use to top up the oil I had.  I added about a third of a cup more flour to help but the batter still took quite a while to cook, hence this Herman being a bit darker in colour than the last.  I definitely needed the foil again!

rhubarb & ginger herman

It turned out well.  The ginger flavouring is very subtle, so if you like a stronger ginger flavour, then you might want to up the spices, or add some decent crystalized ginger to the mix.  I wanted to add crystalized ginger this time, but could only find a brand that I already know to be extremely wussy when it comes to flavour.

Here are the ingredients I used:

  • 1 portion of Herman
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of plain flour (plus a little extra that may not be needed if you use oil rather than estimated quantites of margerine!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 60ml (approx two tablespoons) of treacle/molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup cooking oil
  • 4 medium sticks of rhubarb, washed & cut into small chunks

Plus of course, the yummy (yet calorie laden) topping of 1/4 cup of brown sugar & 1/4 cup melted butter.

As before, I lined my tin with greaseproof paper & baked Herman on a low shelf in a 170-180 degrees celsius oven.  After the initial 45 minutes I covered him with foil and kept baking until a skewer inserted into the middle came out clean.

I think he turned out very well.  I like both the Hermans I’ve made so far.  My preference is probably for the apple version, but my husband prefers this one.  🙂

Herman the German Friendship Cake

We visited some friends the other weekend and came home with a Herman. http://www.hermanthegermanfriendshipcake.com/

Having tasted the one they cooked, I knew he’d be worth it.  When I first got him, it seemed very odd to be talking about a sour dough starter/cake as if it were sentient.  However, if you try it, you’ll probably find that by the time you bake the cake, you’re calling him Herman too!

I went with the basic recipe but I left out the raisins and added an extra half a cooking apple, chopped up to raisin size.  He took a long time to cook.  Nearly two hours due to the extra moisture from the extra apple & the fact I had him on a low shelf.  Still, the end result was very yummy!


I gave away two of the three spare starters & have kept the third so that I can try one of the other recipes and pass a starter on to my mother-in-law.  My husband has voted for the ginger cake!