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German recipes: Herman Apple Cake (Friendship cake)

Herman Friendship Apple cakeThe Herman Apple cake or Friendship cake, tastes amazing.  I’m fairly partial to a good German fruit cake, so I am a little biased due to my upbringing, but friends of mine (who are very important with this particular recipe) love it too.

To explain, if you have friends who LOVE baking or if you have children who perhaps would like to learn some baking skills (which includes growing something for a week) then this Herman the German Apple cake is for you!

In my family, Oma had an array of yeast based baking and true to form, this is another cake that requires a starter.  If you don’t receive a starter, then you can make one from scratch, grow it and either keep it all for yourself (that’s 4 cakes!) or give 1/4 of the starter to 3 of your friends.

Ingredients for the starter:

  • 140 gr plain flour
  • 225 gr castor sugar
  • 280 ml warm milk
  • 60 ml lukewarm water
  • 1 packet or 7 gr of active dry yeast

Method to make the starter

In a small bowl or cup, dissolve the yeast in the water.

In a large bowl (which you won’t miss for a couple of weeks!), mix together the flour and sugar.

Mix in the yeast.  Slowly stir in the warm milk.

Cover the bowl with a clean cloth or cling film.  Leave in a dry place for 1 day.  Then begin the process below.


Copy and paste the below and print or email to 3 of your friends, along with their starter once you have completed the steps (after 10 days)…..


Hello, my name is Herman.
I am a sourdough cake. I’m supposed to sit on your kitchen bench for 10 days without a lid.
You CANNOT put me in the fridge or I will die. If I stop bubbling, I am dead.
  1. You get Herman and put him in a large mixing bowl and cover loosely with a tea towel.
  2. Stir well
  3. Stir well
  4. Herman is hungry. Add 1 cup each of plain flour, sugar and milk. Stir well.
  5. Stir well
  6. Stir well
  7. Stir well
  8. Stir well
  9. Hungry again. 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 4th one.
  10. Herman is very hungry. Stir well and prepare following:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2/3 cup of cooking oil (vegetable or sunflower.  Not olive oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 cooking apples cut into chunks
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 heaped teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (add at the end)
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter (add at the end)
Turn the oven on to 180 C / 350 F.  Grease and line a large baking tin.
Mix everything except the brown sugar and butter together put into the prepared tin.
Sprinkle with the brown sugar and melted butter.
Bake for 45 minutes. When cold cut into square pieces.
The Herman Apple cake can be frozen (which is great if you made 4 cakes!) and is also delicious warm with cream.

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