Posted in Life, Random

Have you met Herman the Friendship Cake? A recipe blog

Ellie's Chocolate Herman 🙂

My friend Ellie bought me a little gift last week, a Herman.  Herman is a friendship cake, he was delivered in a little pot with a letter of care instructions to nurture him and help him grow over 10 days before cooking him and sharing him with others! A fun little friendship chain with a great end result – CAKE! lol

I have been looking after my Herman for 5 days now, so we’re halfway through his growing time. I think I’m going to go for the Ginger cake version when I cook him.

Here are the care instructions for growing your own Herman if you are lucky enough to receive one – if you would like to start your own Herman, there are instructions below on how to start your own friendship chain…

Herman Care Instructions


Herman is a friendship cake which you can’t buy, but you can give him away. He grows slowly but surely because of the yeast in him. It is usually 10 days before you can eat him.
Herman doesn’t have to be kept in the fridge and doesn’t require a lid – just covering him with a tea towel is sufficient. Herman grows at room temperature.

If you would like to spread a little friendship follow through instructions below and at end of 10 days you will have a cake to eat and four starter kits to pass on.

If you cannot wait to have your cake and eat it, go straight to day 10, but you will forego the opportunity to pass on some friendship.

Day 1: Today Herman is given to you. Put him in a big bowl (At least 4pt capacity). Cover Herman loosely so he can breathe. A tea towel or loose lid is ideal.

Days 2 & 3: Stir Herman 2-3 times a day with a wooden spoon (do not use metal, and which you can leave in the bowl)

Day 4: Herman is hungry. Give him the following:-
200mls milk
200g self-raising flour
250g sugar

Days 5, 6, 7 & 8: Stir Herman 2-3 times a day.

Day 9: Herman is hungry again. Give him the same ingredients you gave him on Day 4. Stir well then divide him into 5 equal parts. Give 4 baby Hermans away with a copy of this sheet. (or keep one back for yourself to grow and redistribute to other friends) Keep the 5th portion to bake.

Day 10: Herman is absolutely starving. He needs a holiday. He likes to go to a hot resort. The oven is his favourite. Pre-heat oven to 170ºC (150ºC fan-assisted oven) and grease a cake tin generously. Prepare him for his holiday using one of the following:-

1. Fruit cake Recipe:
150g self-raising flour,
100g finely chopped nuts/raisins,
200mls oil,
half teaspoon of baking powder,
2 teaspoons cinnamon,
3 eggs, 2 grated apples,
Bake in loaf tin or 9” x 9“ cake tin

Other recipes:
Chocolate Cranberry Cake Recipe: 150g self raising flour, 250g sugar,100ml oil, 1/2tsp salt, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1tsp ground cinnamon, 1½ tsp baking powder, 2 eggs, 3 oz melted semi-sweet chocolate, 100g semi-dried cranberries. Bake 30-35 mins in loaf tin or 20-25 mins in two 8-inch sandwich tins, and sandwich together with cream &/ thick cooked cranberries sauce .

Double chocolate Cake: ¾ cup butter at room temp,1 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 4 eggs, ½ cup unsweetened cocoa, 1½ cup self raising flour, ½ tsp salt, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, ½ cup chopped nuts. Bake in 9 inch square pan.

Ginger Cake :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 muscavado suger, 2 eggs, 150 ml milk, 75 ml butter at room temp/softened in microwave

Mix everything together and pour into a very well greased cake tin. Bake for 40 mins to one hour, depending on your tin. Cool in tin for 10 mins then turn out.

If you would like to satrt your own Herman heres how…

Herman Sour Dough Starter

2 cups flour
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup warm water
2 Tbsp or 2 packets active dry yeast

Today is day 0. Record the date/day on calendar. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of the sugar over the warm water. Sprinkle yeast over this and let stand in warm place to double in size. (approx. 10 min.)
Mix milk, remaining sugar, flour and yeast mixture in a large plastic or glass container, (metal objects ****** Herman’s natural growth.) Stir, using only a wooden spoon or paddle.
Cover loosely or place plate over top of container so Herman can breathe.
Herman doubles, even triples at times of vigorous rising.
Place Herman in a warm place. Next day is Day 1 and you now proceed following instructions below as if you’d been given a friendship cake mixture to grow. Try to stir at least once each day.

Enjoy your Herman, if you live near me and would like a Herman to get you started I will have 4 available in a few days time – let me know if you would like one 🙂

Thank you for reading!  If you have enjoyed reading this post please share it with others who may be interested and I always enjoy receiving feedback and comments 🙂

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Self-published author whose first book Coffee Break Companion, a collection of short stories and poems is now available on Amazon. S.L.Grigg lives in Bromsgrove with her family. Working in the NHS and enjoying reading, Pilates and travel, amongst other things when she isn't too busy writing.

50 thoughts on “Have you met Herman the Friendship Cake? A recipe blog

  1. Ahhh awsome…my taste buds are already giving off water.
    well i am food freak and love trying out new cakes and bakery stuff.
    Being from chandigarh , used to always get cakes home delivered from various bakeries- thanks to but now i want to try things on my own. Thanks for such a recipie.
    Would share the pic of same once i make it….


  2. Thank you for this. I have just mixed my beginner Herman. As I have a full mixture, do I still add the ingredients as described if I had only received a quarter portion of mixture? I am concerned I will end up with enough mixture to hand out to the whole neighbourhood. 🙂


    1. From the beginning mixture you then start adding as in the instructions above when you reach teh end you will have enough to divide it up into 5 equal portions, 4 to give away and 1 to keep and use for your cake 🙂


  3. hi could you please tell me if im already doing my herman, but would also like to make one straight away for the inlaws this sunday do i do step 1 then go to step 10, or just do step 10 please help ty….


    1. I guess you could do that because the day 1 mix is part of a previous day 10 so it is ready to add the ingredients immediately for making the cake 🙂


  4. On getting to a very excited day 9 and starting to distribute Herman to friends, I learned of a problem with using milk in the starter mix. Any words of wisdom before I tip him down the sink? Thanks


    1. Ohh no, sorry to hear you had a problem. I don’t know of any way to salvage Herman when things go wrong I’m afraid 😦


  5. oooh, tempting: did you subsequently try any of the other variations? I’m wondering particularly if you went off-piste, and whether being a sour-dough base means it could be adapted for a sweet bread recipe (ie using the full-grown herman ‘as is’ but eg swirled through with praline or something).


    1. 🙂 I’ve only done the Ginger Cake variety so far – which was delicious! I guess you should be able to do the sweet bread recipe sounds good swirling though some praline! 🙂


  6. The first time I made the double chocolate cake It came out lookinf and tasting like chocolate brownies, great because I love chocolate brownies, but the next two times it came out more like cake. Which one is it supposed to be.
    Next I made the fruit cake, this turned out like bread pudding and nothing at all like cake. I googled other recipes for Herman cake and found a similar one, the only difference was that it had a cup of sugar aswell. Did you by any chance miss this from your recipe. I do not know whether a cup of sugar would make the difference. I will try it out when I have nearly finished this bread pudding.


    1. I wonder if it may be the consistency of the original Herman mix you start with that affected the finished result with the chocolate cake? As a sour dough sstyle mix I would expect most recipes to produce a cake like result over a brownie style. I used the ginger cake recipe myself and it was really nice! 🙂 A cup of sugar may well make the difference, I was given the recipe here so if it sugar missing from it I am not sure, but it could well be!


  7. Thanks for this! I just got ‘Herman’ yesterday…the instructions were a bit vague so thank you for being much more specific. Haven’t made a friendship cake since I was a teen!


    1. No problem, I’m glad you found it helpful – good luck with Herman, I did the Ginger cake recipe – it was DELICIOUS! 🙂


  8. Wow! I LOVE this idea! I wish more of the recipes were in a conversion that I understand! (I live is the U.S.A and we measue things in the worst way- I will need to hit up the Internet for conversions!) I cannot wait to get going and share “Herman” with my girlfriends! Thank you for this idea!


    1. No problem Riki, glad you like it. I think if you goggle ‘herman the friendship cake’ you will probably find tons of variations on the recipe (and ones you won’t need to convert!) Enjoy! 🙂


  9. Friends have shared sourdough bread and other friendship cakes with me as an adult, but this is the first time I’ve heard of someone outside of my family who knows Herman since my childhood. My sisters and I got curious and spilled the plastic container (maybe a cool whip carton) and dumped Herman in our van. That van smelled like Herman for years. Mamma must have asked her friend for more, because I remember eating and sharing it, too. Thanks for bringing up the memories. I hope you continue enjoying it.


    1. I had never heard of it until my friend bought it round! She also hadn’t heard of it until a customer at her hair salon gave her one! I’m looking forward to the end result – hope it turns out ok! lol


  10. Oh, gosh – thanks – next time, could you just give me a plant? Or a chocolate cake with lots of chocolate and NO personality? How can I eat HERMAN? And geez, you just gave me food that needs to be FED… that’s just so wrong. But there’s a part of me that wants one. To think, I was just laughing about that Amish Friendship Bread the other day.


    1. lmao, I guess giving you a lot of ‘work’ to do to raise your Herman could be considered a not so pleasant gift by some! lol 😉


      1. Well it’s just guilt inducing for some of us. I like to cook, but this is one of those recipes I’d feel bad about if it flopped, y’know? And given I kill silk plants… let’s just say that a Pet Rock is probably the best choice of pets, if someone’s in the mood to give such gifts.

        A nice book, perhaps – a cookbook – like – “Chocolate cakes for Dummies”?


      2. lol, I would wince if someone gave me a plant, I’m useless with them! and agree a pet-rock is safest ‘living’ option for a gift for me too… – but a book, ahh then I would love you forever! hehehe 😀


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