Herman the German Friendship Cake (Part 3)

Last week it was finally time to bake and eat Herman – after all that faffing about! I have to confess that I didn’t do much of this bit – my boyfriend Mike did the baking while I was making dinner. Sorry for the lateness of this post – as you will see from the next one, I’m out of the country at the moment so my internet access has been a little sketchy.
By Day 9, Herman had swelled up to four times his original size – this is the point at which you have to divide him up and give him away to friends. The problem is that while Herman makes a lovely gift, it is a gift which comes with an obligation – so it’s a little bit difficult to choose who to give him to! I will name no names but of the two sets of Hermanparents that we could think of, one was decidedly more enthusiastic than the other. To be fair, when Herman is first presented to you, he’s no oil painting either – a Tupperware container of pale, bubbly liquid accompanied by a yeasty smell is not quite what you normally expect when someone tells you, ‘I’ve brought you a present’.
Anyway, having distributed our additional Hermans, we set about baking our own. The recipe is very straightforward – all in one go, you add 225g of sugar, 300g of plain flour, half a teaspoon of salt, 160ml vegetable oil, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence, 2 cooking apples cut into chunks, 200g of raisins, 2 heaped teaspoons of cinnamon and 2 heaped teaspoons of baking powder. You need to make sure it’s all well-mixed (the apples have a tendency to clump together), then pour the mixture into a large greased baking tin and spread it out. ‘Large’ is definitely the operative word – one Herman makes a lot of cake! To give the top a nice finish, sprinkle it with some brown sugar and brush with a bit of melted butter.
Start out by baking for 25 minutes at 180˚C – we found that Herman wasn’t done by this point, so we had to bake him for a further 15 minutes, but you’ll probably need to test him and work it out for yourself, as it will depend on your oven, how deep your baking tray is, etc.
To be completely honest, I’m not sure how much the sourdough process added to the final flavour – I’ve had sourdough bread before, and really liked the unique taste, but I couldn’t really identify it here. Nevertheless, we served Herman up warm, with some ice cream, and he was delicious.