Herman is dead! Long live Herman!

Herman the German friendship cake

What an apt title (for those who have followed the story)! I bet you are all curious to see a) whether Herman the German friendship cake was a success and b) what my venerable Italian friends thought of it. If you recall, the day I “gave birth” to Herman was tactical as I wanted his demise (read: the cake making) to coincide with the discussion of the book which took place at my house today. And by the way if you are curious to know what we discussed it was Il fu Mattia Pascal by Pirandello. Wonderful , thought provoking book! Anyway, back to the cake.  I confess I was a bit apprehensive about it. I very nearly baked some scones as a  reserve, JUST IN CASE. The truth is I have a reputation to uphold: I can’t fail in front of an audience!  Anyway in the end I decided to place my faith in Herman and decided not to have a back up. WEEEEELLLLLL…… I needn’t have worried. I am not one for blowing my own trumpet but trust me when I say it was scrumptious: really lovely and moist!  Definitely a cake worth waiting for which I would make again . In fact I WILL make it again as I have already booked a baby Herman from the friend I passed one of the pieces to. SOOOO weird, I know! If she manages to feed him properly and keeps him alive I should get back some to bake with in approx. 10 days. There are many different Herman recipes out there, by the way. Check them out here. I might attempt a carrot version, or a banana one. By the way: Herman is good for those people who can’t have dairy products. It doesn’t contain any butter: only vegetable oil. Well…you can put some butter and demerara sugar on top (which I did) but it’s optional.

So here’s the standard, traditional recipe I used, albeit with a few variations. I put a lot less sugar than the recipe asked for, for example, and added some lemon zest.

a bubbly Herman waiting to be used







1 quantity of Herman (remember: you will have divided your mixture in 4: you keep one , you give 3 away )

 100 gr. sugar (the original recipe called for 225 gr.   which I reckon is far too much. The dough is already very sweet!)

300 gr. plain flour

half tsp. (teaspoon) salt

160 ml. sunflower oil (or you can use olive oil, if you wish)

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla essence

grated zest of a lemon (this is my addition)

2 large apples cut into chunks or 4 small ones

200 gr. sultanas or raisins or a combination of the two. I also used some cranberries. In truth any dried fruit will do.

2 heaped tsp. cinnamon

2 heaped tsp. baking powder

Optional (for the topping:

40 gr. demerara sugar

40 gr. melted butter


Mix everything together and put into a large greased baking tin. Sprinkle with the melted butter and demerara sugar. Bake for 1 hour at 180C. You may need to cover in tin foil after 40 minutes or so if you see it’s browning too much. Make sure Herman is cooked properly in the middle by testing the middle with a clean knife..

When baked, Herman can be frozen.



And here you see a baby Herman ready to be given away, complete with instructions. I gave one to Monica, one to Carmelita (who is going to kill him already tomorrow by making a cake with it) and one to Cairine. Let’s take good care of him, girls, shall we? ..;-)


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5 Responses to “Herman is dead! Long live Herman!”

  • La bandiera della tua reputazione sventola in alto.
    Herman the german,buonanima, giace nelle nostre pance felicemente satolle. R.I.P. :-)

  • Secondo le mie recenti ricerche sul web, Herman e’ norvegese e non tedesco. Il suo nome tradotto in italiano vuol dire errante. Nella nostra penisola la torta che Lucina ha preparato viene chiamata ” Torta dell’amicizia “.
    Qualsiasi sia la nazionalita’d’appartenenza,la sostanza non cambia. Il sapore e’ indubbiamente paradisiaco! :-)

  • Quindi non bisogna fare lo spelling tedesco con le due N. Ma allora perché mai si chiama la torta dell’amicizia tedesca se è norvegese? Un giallo! :-)

  • insisto: e la pista spagnola, visto che c’è solo una n? Vien voglia di provarci… dopo la Russia, chissà…

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