The Dominion Post

Sharing the love

Jenny Garing responds to readers’ kitchen queries. This week: friendship cakes, or ‘Herman’.

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Day 1: Put me in a large mixing bowl and cover the bowl loosely with a tea towel. Day 2: Stir me well Day 3: Stir me well Day 4: Herman is hungry. Add 1 cup each of plain flour, sugar and milk. Stir me well. Day 5: Stir me well Day 6: Stir me well Day 7: Stir me well Day 8: Stir me well Day 9: Add the same ingredient­s as day 4 and stir me well. Divide me into 4 equal portions and give 3 away to friends with a copy of these instructio­ns. Keep the fourth portion. Day 10: Now you are ready to make the cake. 1 cup raisins 2 heaped teaspoons cinnamon 2 heaped teaspoons baking powder cup brown sugar cup melted butter Mix everything together except the brown sugar and butter. Put the mixture into a large greased baking tin. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and melted butter. Bake for 45 minutes at 170-180C. You may need to cover it with foil and bake for a further 20 minutes to make sure your Herman is done in the middle.

There are many variations of flavours that suit a Herman cake. Feel free to experiment, but here are some of the more traditiona­l flavours. A Herman cake is very forgiving, so don’t worry too much about being exact with the quantities. BANANA AND WALNUT 1 very ripe banana, mashed

cup chopped walnuts PLUM, PEAR AND NUTMEG 2 pears, peeled and finely sliced 4 plums, de-stoned and chopped about of a nutmeg, grated CHOCOLATE AND RASPBERRY

cup cocoa powder 100g chopped plain chocolate substitute 1 cup flour for about 100g ground almonds fresh raspberrie­s to press into the batter once it’s in the cake tin If you haven’t been given a Herman, you can start the tradition yourself by making the starter from scratch so that you can share it with your friends. HERMAN STARTER Makes about. 4 starters Preparatio­n: 15 minutes 2 teaspoons active dry yeast 1 cup plain flour 1 cup caster sugar 300ml warm milk Dissolve the yeast in 60ml warm water for 10 minutes then stir. Add the flour and sugar then mix thoroughly. Slowly stir in the warm milk.

Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave it in a sunny spot on your bench for 24 hours. Now start the 10-day fermentati­on.

 ?? Photos: DEAN KOZANIC/FAIRFAX NZ ?? Start me up: Herman cakes use a live starter as the base, much like a sourdough bread.
Photos: DEAN KOZANIC/FAIRFAX NZ Start me up: Herman cakes use a live starter as the base, much like a sourdough bread.

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