German Friendship Cake

Herman the German Friendship Cake has been doing the rounds at work for a while now.  The instructions below may offer a little more explanation:

Day 1 You get Herman! Put him in a large mixing bowl.  Stir well and cover loosely with a tea towel.

My Herman on Day 1

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

My Herman on day 5…bubble bubble!

Day 6 Stir well

Day 7 Stir well

Day 8 Stir well

Day 9 Herman is hungry again. Add the same as day 4 and stir well. Divide into 4 equal portions and give 3 portions away to friends with a copy of these instructions. Keep the 4th one.

Day 10 Herman is very hungry. Stir well and add the following:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • half tsp (teaspoon) salt
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2/3 (two thirds) cup of cooking oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 cooking apples cut into chunks
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 heaped tsp cinnamon
  • 2 heaped tsp baking powder

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. When cold cut into finger pieces. Cake freezes well and is also delicious warm with cream or ice-cream.

At no point can Herman get chilly.  If it stops bubblin it’s dead and needs to start all over (see below).

I am now on Day 5 so in four days I will be splitting mine into four.  As my better half loathes raisins etc I will be modifying the above recipe slightly (perhaps with dried Blueberries or Cranberries).

If anyone reading this (UK based for obvious reasons) would like to continue this particular line of yeasty goodness and share the bubbly lovin then email me (  Unfortunately I don’t know exactly how long my Herman line has been going, I do know for certain that I got mine from one of the ladies at work who got hers from someone else at work and she got hers from a friend so its been going a while.  I love this idea and I have been unable to find any details on the history of this concept (lets face it its far more enjoyable than those pesky email chain letters and ten times as magical!).  Just remember that for 10 days someone has nurtured and taken care of their Herman culture…then someone else nurtures a piece of that for another 10 days….all that cumulative nurturing kitchen witchery IN A CAKE!!

If you would rather start a new line from the beginning here’s how to start


  • 5oz plain flour
  • 8oz castor sugar
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • Half a pint of warm milk
  • 2 fl oz lukewarm water

What to do:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in warm water for 10 minutes and 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.

Stay tuned for feedback on the finished Herman!!

This entry was posted in Crafts, Kitchen Witchery. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to German Friendship Cake

  1. Sìle says:

    Have you entered your pictures at the website?

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