The Tale of Herman - A Friendship Cake

You may have noticed me mention Herman in a few posts lately. Herman is a German friendship cake. A colleague asked me if I'd like to take part a while back, I just agreed and thought nothing more of it. A few days later she handed me a plastic container full of cake mixture and a set of instructions. Exciting stuff!

herman the friendship cake

As soon as I got home I emptied my mixture into a metal bowl. Which I later found out was a mistake. Herman contains yeast and apparently metal can kill yeast, so metal is a big no, no! I transferred him into a glass mixing bowl and thankfully he had survived!

The instructions give you ten days to look after Herman before baking him, they are as follows:

Hello, my name is Hermon. I’m a sourdough cake, I am to be left on the worktop for 10 days without a lid on. Do not put me in the fridge or I will die. If I stop bubbling, I’m dead.


Day 1: Take the lid off Hermon and put him in a large mixing bowl. Cover loosely with a tea towel.
Day 2: Stir well with a wooden spoon.
Day 3: Stir well with a wooden spoon.
Day 4: Hermon is hungry! Add 1 cup each of plain flour, sugar and milk. Stir well. Don’t worry about small lumps – Hermon will eat them later.
Day 5: Stir well.
Day 6: Stir well.
Day 7: Stir well.
Day 8: Stir well.
Day 9: Hungry again. Add 1 cup each of plain flour, sugar and milk. Stir well.
Divide into 4 equal amounts and give 3 away to friends with a copy of these instructions.
Hermon 4 stays with you…
Day 10: Hermon is very hungry. Stir well and add the following:
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of plain flour
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
2 heaped tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2/3 cup of cooking oil
2 cooking apples, chopped into chunks
½ cup of walnuts / almonds / chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup of raisins (optional)

Mix everything together and pour into a large greased roasting tin. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of melted butter and ¼ cup of brown sugar. Bake for 45 minutes at gas mark 4 Check after 35 minutes. When cool, cut into fingers. The friendship cake freezes well.

I came home from work on about day 6 to find that Herman had taken over my kitchen, he had outgrown the bowl (he gets bigger everyday) and leaked all over the kitchen work top! Straight to Wilkinson's for a bigger mixing bowl!

I decided against adding the ingredients above. Instead I added one big bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk, one big bar of Cadbury Wholenut and a bag of plain chocolate chips.

finished herman friendship cake with chocolate added into mixture

He turned out deliciously!

hermon the friendship cake ready to be distributed to friends

Ready to start the chain again

As I was given Herman I'm not sure how you would start him off from scratch, but I have found a website that can tell you!

As Herman made his way to you yet?


  1. I made mine yesterday as I've been preparing one of these. I used apple and raisins in mine and it was yummy! It's a lovely moist cake :D xx

  2. I remember getting one of these when I was at school. I think it went round for about a year :D

  3. This is so random but sounds like a lot of fun!

  4. OMG That sounds nom. I WANT ONE xx

  5. This looks so fun, what a nice idea. I've never heard of this before.

    Really want to try a piece, looks so good. xx

  6. I've never heard of this but it's such a cute idea :)

    Frances x
    Twitter: @Francesss__

  7. When you mentioned Herman cake in your previous post.. I went and googled it! It's so fascinating! I really enjoyed reading this post, especially because you explained it all pretty well and it made me chuckle when you ignored the ingredient instead opting to just add chocolate! Hehe :) xx

  8. This sounds so nice, it seems like such a sweet idea especially at Christmas time. I've never heard anything about it before, I think I might attempt this next Christmas. x


  9. This looks yum, but 10 days?!? Id be dying to cook him and get it off my worktop :P


  10. Herman randomly turned up on my worktop and I didn't know what the hell it was lol!! Turned out pretty tasty though, and so it should be after 10 days waiting lol!

    The Deer Head


  11. Looks and sounds really delicious especially with the addition of chocolate. I remember doing something like this years ago when I was at school. I can't remember how it turned out though.

  12. I love this, such a cute idea! I love how it's called Herman too and it's like he's alive haha! xx

  13. I could eat another one now! Its crazy how its getting around everywhere x

  14. It seems to be making a revival! I'm shocked by the comments on this post how many people are doing it! x

  15. Very random indeed! I found it all quite amusing when I was first told about it! x

  16. It is a sweet idea and a very delicious one! x

  17. I'd never heard of it before but was super exciting to try it out x

  18. It really is fascinating!
    Lisa, I think you know me enough by now to have predicted that I would replace fruit with chocolate haha so naughty! x

  19. It is a lovely idea and seems to be spreading wide and far! You never know, one may make its way to you before you have to start your own x

  20. 10 days was a long time, especially with a tiny kitchen like mine! He was worth the wait though x

  21. haha yeah it is annoying waiting 10 days. I would have been so annoyed if it was horrible after taking 10 days and putting all that chocolate in it! x

  22. A few people have said they did it in school, funny how its coming back around now! x

  23. I didn't want to bake him as I didn't want to kill him haha xx


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