Barossa valley is known to be one of the early places that German settlers have ventured into (aside from Hunter Valley in NSW) and so, it's not a surprise that German heritage runs through the veins of some locals here. We are fortunate to have bakeries like Apex that still bake their goods in a traditional oven and butchers that houses a good variety of traditional German sausages.
I may have been to Germany in the past but that memory is a vaguely faint to me and so, living in the Barossa gave me an interesting opportunity to have a teaser of what to expect from the winner of FIFA 2014. When I first tasted Herman, I thought it was one of the best cakes I have tasted so far which prompted me to grab a box of it and get straight into the recipe, in an attempt to recreate this delicacy.
Although I did not start making Herman myself, here's the recipe for making the starter. It is a lengthy waiting process but it is well worth it. Trust me;)
Herman the German starter mix ingredients:
5oz plain flour
8 oz caster sugar
1 packet of active dry yeast
Half a pint of warm milk
2 fl oz of warm water
1. Dissolve yeast in warm water for 10 minutes before slowly mixing in the flour and sugar
2. Slowly stir in the warm milk. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave in a cool place for 1 day.
The next 10 days will be the waiting time:
Day 1- 3: stir well
Day 4: Add 1 cup of plain flour, sugar and milk each. Stir well
Day 5 - 8: Stir well
Day 9: Add 1 cup of plain flour, sugar and milk each. Stir well and divide into 4 equal portions (pass this on to someone!)
* I have shortened the days to 8 days as I got impatient and I halved the ingredients added for day 9. I NEED to bake the cake hehe.
Cake ingredients (for 2 round cake tins)
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of plain flour
Half tsp salt
2/3 cups of cooking oil (could substitute with melted butter)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 granny smith apples/ pears, chopped into smaller chunks
1 cup raisins (used my leftover soaked raisin mix as seen here)
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 portion of Herman starter mix
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
Mix cake ingredients together in a bowl and pour into a lined cake tin. Pour your topping mix over the top (or add a crumble mix if you like) and bake at 160C for 1 hour or until done.
Verdict: loved every bit of it and I thought that using leftover raisin mix that had been soaked for at least 6 months in rum made the cake a lil more fragrant. Herman mix already had a nice boozy aroma and I think its best served warm:)
And because I had "adopted" another box of Herman as nobody wanted it, let's call it Sherman and make him into a chocolate cake. Have read that Herman is a very forgiving type of cake to bake and can be used to create any cake varieties that you can imagine:)
Chocolate Sherman cake ingredients (makes 2 round cake tins or 1 long rectangle brownie tin):
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp salt
2 tsp kahlua (or vanilla if you prefer a non boozy option - I just had some in the fridge!:)
1 cup mix of dark and white chocolate chunks
1.5 cups of Herman starter mix
Mix everything together and pour into your lined baking tins. Bake at 160C for about 1 hour or until it appears almost done.
*as this is akin to a brownie recipe, I decided to bake it until it is about 90% done and left it to cool in the oven. I like my brownies to have a slightly fudge-y cake texture.
Do give this a try and let me know how you went. I am sure you won't be disappointed:)