A couple of weeks ago the dog bell went and Herman arrived. In case you are wondering, he is a sourdough starter for a German apple cake - a friendship cake. It was quite lovely to be given something in friendship, and I duly took him (and the instructions) into the kitchen and started the 10 day nurturing process!
Actually, it was quite easy, he is left on the worktop in a large bowl and just covered with a tea towel. Every day for 10 days he needs a good stir, and on day five I had to add some sugar and flour. Around day seven I noticed Herman was definitely trying to make a bid for freedom, although he was diminished somewhat again after a good stir.
If I am truthful, the last thing I felt like doing at the end of the ten days was baking the cake, but I did, adding apples, raisins, cinnamon, flour, baking powder, eggs, butter and sugar. It looked absolutely disgusting when I put it into the tin and took much longer to cook than I expected. I used a 9½" tin and produced enough cake to feed an army! It didn't fit in my cake tin so I had to cut it in half and put it in two tins.
My goodness, it may look a bit rough and ready here but how delicious! Yummmmmm!
Now the reason it is called a friendship cake is because before you make the cake, you divide Herman into four portions and give three of them to friends. Great way to poison an entire nation actually!
I offered him to my daughter, feeling certain she would love him, but sadly it seems she had already baked him once and didn't have the time to do it again at the moment. Luckily, I had an unsuspecting friend coming for the evening, so she went away clutching one portion. The second one, I was going to give to my neighbour - I was going to put Herman on his doorstep, ring the bell and run away! Ha ha ha! As it turned out, he wasn't in, so I just left Herman on his doorstep. At least he couldn't refuse!
The third one is still sitting on my worktop waiting for the next visitor!