Tuesday, 31 January 2012


Almost a fortnight ago my lovely friend Jess (or The Baking Queen as I like to label her, just ask A&D who makes the best cake and they will always tell you Auntie Jess) gave me a starter mix for a Herman Cake along with some instructions on how to take care of Herman.  This was "day one".

As I understand it Herman Cake is a German friendship cake and is basically the cake version of a chain letter.  They are super easy to make into a lush cake and even baking novices like my little ones and I can make a delicious cake with very little effort.

So basically the starter mix is a sour dough base I think, in fact I don't actually know the exact content.

...goes away to look it up...

Ok so the starter mix consists of active dry yeast, sugar, flour, milk and warm water, but I didn't need to worry about that. 

On day one you transfer Herman from the container he came in to a new home that gives him plenty of room to grow.  In our house the new house was actually a big bowl and the roof a tea towel.  Like me, Herman likes to be nice and warm so there is no putting him in the fridge.  We just left him on the side in the kitchen.
On days two and three you simply uncover Herman, give him a good stir and cover him back up.  Not exactly complicated even for a baking novice like me.

Day four does require a little more effort as Herman is hungry.  I personally can't believe that it takes him a whole four days to get hungry.  It barely takes me four minutes.  Ha ha!  Anyway back to Herman.  On day four you add one cup of plain flour, one cup of sugar and one cup of milk and stir well.  Yes that's it, not exactly brain surgery.  I am sure that these quantities will vary between individual recipes, but I think that as long as you are consistent with whichever recipe you use it doesn't really matter.

All Herman needs on days six, seven and eight is to be stirred well on each day.  Yes it really is that simple.

This time it takes Herman until day nine to get hungry again and at this point you simply add the same as you did on day four and stir well except at this point you divide the mixture into four equal parts.  You then keep one part to cook on day ten and pass the other three on to friends with a copy of the instructions.  If you are greedy like me you just give two away and keep two for yourself; one to cook on day ten and one to start the cycle all over again. 

Day ten is the day that requires the most effort, but even so it is not exactly rocket science.  This is because Herman is very hungry by day ten so you need to add the following:-                          

1 cup sugar 
1 cup plain flour                                              
2 eggs                                                             
Two thirds of a cup of cooking oil (not olive oil though)
2 teaspoons baking powder
Half a teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
2 heaped teaspoons cinnamon
2 chopped apples (optional)
1 cup raisins (optional)
Half cup walnuts (optional)

I have to admit though that we did away with the raisins, walnuts and apples and instead added dried cranberries, broken mandarins and dark chocolate chips.  All you have to do is literally mix everything together with a wooden spoon.  There is no beating or creaming or any of that nonsense.  Great for the kids, especially my son who likes to bake, but whose concentration span is just not long enough to do a whole recipe from scratch so Herman was especially perfect for him as he got to do a bit each day and they both loved the fact that they had to take care of Herman and mix him every day.

Once everything is mixed together you just pour it into a large, well greased tin or, if you are me, the wonder that is the silicone alternative and pop in the oven at between 170 and 180 degrees for between 45 minutes and an hour and voila.

The lovely Jess tells me that you can sprinkle with equal parts brown sugar and melted butter, but I just went for the brown sugar option.

I should admit that I think that my combo of orange, cranberry and choc was too heavy as it seemed to sink  to the bottom when cooked even though I coated it in flour as suggested by my baking guru.  To be honest though we didn't really care about that minor mishap as it still tasted lush and we don't often have home baked cake in our house so it is being devoured very quickly.

I am an absolute beginner when it comes to baking, but even I managed this and I definitely recommend it for something to do with the tiddlers as they really enjoyed the fact that they got to do something everyday and were really excited for day ten.  They also got to go to the supermarket with me purely to chose what we were going to feed Herman on day ten. 

Go on give it a go, you know you want to!

Monday, 16 January 2012


It really is about time that Teeny made another appearance on this blog as I seem to be lacking in bump pictures so here they are yesterday on our trip to the park.  Granted it really is not the most flattering picture of me and I look huge as well as needing a good haircut, but hey ho Teeny is doing well so who am I to complain?

Sunday, 15 January 2012


So I have been somewhat poor in updating my blog of late.  Annoyingly this isn't because I don't have anything to report,  to the contrary in fact; I have so many half written and unfinished blog posts in the "posting" section of my blog that it is getting ridiculous, but I really want them published in the blog at the point that they should be as opposed to deleting them because they are mostly about lovely memories that I do not want to forget.  Although because they will be in the correct place they are unlikely to even get read because nobody will even know they are there.   I am just really struggling to find the time energy to blog at the moment which I find extremely frustrating as I really enjoy it.  I used to do it when I came home from work as my little wind down before bed, but I am finding myself having to go straight to bed now.  Boooo!

Anyway I do have a little bit of time now so I must write about today. 

I am not one of those people who objects to winter, what I do object to are those miserable damp wet winters days which make it impossible to really do anything and we have had far too many of those of late.  Today however was different, it was beautiful; cold, sunny and crisp and has been for a couple of days meaning that the ground was hard and not squelchy and muddy.  Today was a perfect day for hats and gloves and letting the children run around in the park and for me to take some photos as I seem to have been lacking in that area of late too.  I have been feeling a little like I have lost my mojo and what little bit of flair I have.

A&D love being outside so there was no element of persuasion needed at all when it came to them and seeing them run around in the sunshine all wrapped up and having fun with red noses and rosy cheeks is one of my most favourite sights ever possibly even slightly more than in the warm sunshine of the summer.   I have been feeling slightly guilty hormonal irrational of late about how Teeny's arrival may affect the lovely little settled life that A&D have so this beautiful day with them and my lovely husband was just the tonic that I needed too. 

I don't think that I really need to write much more about the fun they had, what's that saying?  A picture (or in this case pictures) paints a thousand words.

So grown up
Obviously we headed straight for the big slide Mommy



I love my Daddy

Ha ha Mommy!  You can't catch me.