For anyone outside of the baking community, you may not have heard of the Herman phenomenon.  It’s the cake equivalent of a chain letter. You keep some, you pass some on.  We’ve already sampled Sharon’s traditional apple and sultana and chocolate versions of Herman.  She passed on the Herman baton to Jennifer Crowther, who has been growing her own Herman for the past 10 days, and this weekend, she decided to see just how versatile the Herman mixture is…

Right from the beginning I decided I was going to take Herman to the dark side and started feeding him dark muscovado sugar, instead of white granulated to give him a deeper flavour.  The result is my mega-Herman experiment of five alternative Herman recipes.

I made:

Herman Cinnamon Chelsea Buns

Herman Oatmeal, raisin and pecan cookies Herman Chocolate biscuits Herman Chocolate walnut Brownies Ultimate Herman sticky Carrot, Apple and Pecan cake

I won’t bore you with the recipes for each of them, but I am most proud of the latter, it’s moist, full of flavour and even people who claim they don’t like Herman cake have devoured it!

So here it is for all of you Herman lovers, who are looking for an alternative to the traditional German cake. If you want to reduce the sugar – why not try Maple syrup or Honey instead?

Jenni’s Ultimate Herman Sticky Carrot, Apple and Pecan Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 measure of Herman (1 cup, approx. 200g)

(Ideally you’ve been feeding Herman with dark muscovado sugar)

  • 125g white self-raising flour
  • 125g wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 125g dark brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 80ml walnut oil (or sunflower)
  • 100g finely chopped pecans,
  • 50g sultanas, dates or flame raisins (boil them up with orange or apple juice then leave overnight to soak)
  • 1 large grated carrot (use the fine grater)
  • 1 grated apple (again use the fine grater)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Line a deep 25 x 30cm baking tin with greaseproof parchment.
  3. Sieve the dry ingredients into a large bowl, make a dent in the centre.
  4. Mix together the oil, eggs and the mini Herman, put in the well and mix all together.
  5. Drain the sultanas and mix in, along with the grated carrots, apple and nuts.
  6. Pour into the lined tin.

Ingredients for the sticky topping

  • 50g dark muscovado sugar
  • 50g salted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 25 pecan halves
  1. Place the 25 pecan halves in 5 rows and 5 columns on the batter, so you’ll have one nut on each slice of Herman.
  2. Heat the butter, sugar and cinnamon gently in a pan until they make syrup.  Drizzle all over the cake top, quickly before it cools.
  3. Bake for 35-45 minutes (keep checking he’s not burning).  He’s ready when the middle is firm to the touch.
  4. Cool him in the pan (refrigerate for an hour if you want to get really clean slices) cut into 5×5 pieces.

And if you really want to go to town with it – mix equal parts cream cheese and mascarpone with a spoonful of sugar to make cream cheese frosting… or is that a step too far!?