It started with a journey of 2,500 kilometres. My sister gave it to me over 30 years ago. I was so touched. He, The Retired Husband, said there was no way we could take it. Of course I disagreed. We could. And we did. Three solid days of driving. Making sure it was safe. Making sure I followed the daily instructions
I’d never heard of it before. It was the starter dough for a Friendship Cake. Akin to making ginger ale, the process begins with a starter base that is fed for 10 days. Then it is divided into four portions on day 10. One you keep, the other three portions you pass on to friends as a friendship gift along with the recipe. They in turn do the same. On day 10 you make your cake. From what I recall the cake is really tasty, keeps well, and freezes well.
Tangible. Heart warming. Tasty. Far reaching. Creating a Circle of Friends that keeps on growing. Much as I’d love to, I can’t gift you with the real thing. So I figured this is the next best thing.
I want to share the original recipe with you as my gift of friendship, gratitude and thanks. I still have it in my folder of handwritten, stained and tatty recipes collected over the years.
‘In an ice-cream tin with a cover on the 1st and 5th day add to the starter 1 cup of plain flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of milk. Stir daily at the same time to the 10th day. Take out 3 cups and give 1 cup to 3 friends. To the remaining 1 cup add 1 cup sugar, 1 cup plain flour, 1 ½ tsp nutmeg, 2 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp vanilla, 3 eggs, 2/3 cup oil or melted butter. Beat well. For variety, fold in 1 cup mixed fruit or 1 grated apple or carrot. Bake in 8” cake tin approx. 1 hr. Ice with lemon icing or cinnamon and sugar.’
Out of interest I googled it. To my surprise there is a whole website : Herman the German Friendship Cake. It is dedicated to this cake, its traditions and variations, including gluten and allergen free versions.
Have you heard of this cake? Will you make it and create an ever enlarging circle of friends ? Let me know……..
A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.” Bernard Meltzer
© Raili Tanska