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Herman Cake, you know the one that's like a chain letter cake? I've got questions...

(17 Posts)
cherryburton Mon 15-Aug-11 15:29:18

My gran used to make these all the time when I was young, and I'd forgotten all about them. She died nearly five years ago, and I was given a Herman starter thing the other day by my best mate and I really want to make it work. I have two questions though - first of all, do you have to do it over 10 days (as am going away in 5!) and secondly, if the starter has eggs and milk in it, does it not go funky if you leave it lying around for 9 days?

Anyone know what am on about? grin

Gumps Tue 16-Aug-11 04:14:52

I was given one by a friend but had to bin it as I am pregnant and the smell made me want to vomit! It wasn't a horrid smell as such just very yeasty.
As far as I am aware you've to do it over the 10 days to let it rise and do it's thing.
It's very clever and tastes lovely when cooked so I use I get a chance with another one.

cherryburton Fri 19-Aug-11 07:24:59

Hi Gumps -yeah, the smell is quite full on, the fruit flies are loving it! Plans have changed a bit now so am just going to have to leave it unstirred for three days and bake it when I get back I think...

BuongiornoPrincipessa Fri 19-Aug-11 07:28:20

You can make it after 5 days but you'll only have enough for one cake, don't split it into 4.

Meglet Fri 19-Aug-11 07:46:32

I don't think they have eggs in the 'starter' recipe. I think mine was just sugar, flour and milk. The eggs get added when you make the final herman.

Mine was on the work-surface for 12 days and was fine, despite having a hot kitchen and a heatwave.

StealthPolarBear Fri 19-Aug-11 07:57:20

so given you couldn'tt usually leave milk out for 10 days does the sugar act as some sort of preservative?

cherryburton Fri 19-Aug-11 16:35:18

This is what worries me - I don't understand how the milk doesn't go wrong?! And my mother was saying that sitting out for so long it would attract wild yeasts?

I dunno, my gran always used to make them and none of us died but just been pondering about the leaving milk out indefinitely...

cherryburton Fri 19-Aug-11 16:36:57

Although I guess the baking for an hour and a half would kill anything dodgy?

TheOriginalFAB Fri 19-Aug-11 16:36:59

I have made it but don 't understand why it doesn't need to go in the fridge. TBH it wasn't worth taking so long to make it. I have made a similar cake in one sitting.

cherryburton Fri 19-Aug-11 16:43:08

found this apparently there's not a risk. Might bake mine early tonight and see what happens. Will report back...

StealthPolarBear Fri 19-Aug-11 20:29:18

What exactly is in this cake?

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Fri 19-Aug-11 23:54:22

Sounds a lovely way of showing friends you care, I really want to do it... But what on earth does it taste like? Am worried by the yeast element & the time out of the fridge?

Meglet Sat 20-Aug-11 09:42:11

Mine ended up like a christmas cake. I added mixed fruit and cranberries. Will try and post the recipe later.

I've just started another one, I am fascinated by the way it doesn't go mouldy confused.

WhatsWrongWithYou Sat 20-Aug-11 09:59:38

I agree with Fab - it's quite nice as cake goes but not worth having it hanging around the kitchen for all that time. Much rather just use a good recipe and have done with it.
< misses the point of Herman cake >

BranchingOut Sat 20-Aug-11 10:02:23

I received a portion of this when I was a teenager, but unfortunately my mum put it in a very large sealed jar so when we opened it up however many days later it exploded all over the kitchen!

Taffeta Sat 20-Aug-11 10:05:57

I make cakes a lot, Herman isn't special as a cake in itself - but DD loved the idea of the sharing process, and especially passing it on. The scientific bit about wild yeasts etc is also interesting and educational. [bores self to death]

But as a cake its a bit meh.

cherryburton Thu 25-Aug-11 08:17:39

Well, persevered, did it properly (well, sort of, it sat around a bit longer without stirring than it should have) and now have a really lovely cake! Hope it doesn't kill us, apparently this particular starter has been going since the 70's... hmm

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