Herman Coffee Cake Starter and Bread

"This delicious cake (and starter) should be shared with friends, who in turn share with their friends ... and on and on. Thus, often called a "Friendship Cake", it fills the house with an irresistible aroma and makes a lovely present for any Holiday. Although it takes about 3 weeks for the Starter to be ready to use, feeding Herman is very quick and easy. This recipe was given to me by a friend over 30 years ago, and I still enjoy sharing this Herman Cake & Starter (including recipe). Prep. time does not include making the Starter the very first time."
photo by a food.com user photo by a food.com user
Ready In:
1hr 15mins
1 bundt cake




  • STARTER: Stir Ingredients together, mixing well, in a gallon container.
  • Cover tightly and refrigerate.
  • Feed Herman the same 3 Starter ingredients (above) every 5 days for a total of 4 times (20 days).
  • Stir Herman daily.
  • When you are ready to bake a Herman Cake, you should have about eight cups of starter.
  • Bake Herman cake (recipe below) on the 25th day from the first feeding.
  • ***Keep your own starter growing, use some to bake a Herman Cake, and give some to friends.
  • ***SHARING YOUR STARTER: If someone gives you a cup of Herman Starter, you must feed it for 10 days before you bake with it.
  • Day 1: Feed Starter with 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, and 1 cup milk.
  • Stir, cover and refrigerate.
  • Day 2-4: Stir.
  • Leave in refrigerator.
  • Day 5: Feed Starter again with 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, and 1 cup milk.
  • Stir, cover and refrigerate.
  • Day 6-9: Stir.
  • Leave in refrigerator.
  • ***Herman should now be about 4 cups: use 2 cups to bake, give 1 cup to friend, and keep 1 cup to grow more Starter.
  • ***Day 10: MAKE HERMAN CAKE AS FOLLOWS: Mix all Herman Cake ingredients together, along with 2 cups of Herman Starter, and pour into a greased/floured bundt pan.
  • Sprinkle top with Topping mixture.
  • Bake 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.
  • Or use a 15x19-2" pan and bake 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
  • TOPPING MIXTURE: Mix together all Topping ingredients and sprinkle over cake BEFORE baking.
  • GLAZE: Mix all Glaze ingredients together and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Pour over top of hot baked Herman Cake.

Questions & Replies

  1. Is it possible to freeze Herman starter, and how would you proceed after having frozen? Please assist Scott


  1. I am so glad I found this long lost recipe. We use to pass this poor guy around in the early 70's. It's nice to know Herman is still alive. I'm starting my "starter" tonight. Thanks for sharing.Maryanne
  2. I tried this one at the request of my DH. His mum used to make it for him when he was younger. The flavour was phenominal but the cooking time didn't seem to be anywhere near long enough. I will try it again in the future though.


I am a retired computer programmer, teacher, and cookbook author. Hubby and I have a grown daughter & SIL, son & DIL and 2 grandgirls. My favorite hobbies: cooking, Silhouette crafting, sewing, embroidery and wearable art, quilting, genealogy research, reading,
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