Monday, 5 September 2016

Herman (Helga) The German Cake - Part 3

Remember Helga, my sourdough starter?  After I fed Helga (as I call her) for 9 days, divvied her up, and made one cake, I was left with 3 mini-Helgas, which I put in the freezer.  They have now been there for just over 3 months, so I thought it was high time I put them to good use.  I was a bit trepidatious to say the least, figuring her yeasty bubbles may have succumbed to hypothermia. But never fear, all was well.  Helga came up trumps with a plethora of bubbly goodness.  

see how yeasty and bubbly she still was after her trip to the Polar regions?   

You can apparently start the 10 day process all over again, thereby giving yourself another 4 mini-Helgas or you can just go ahead and bake with it, which is what I did. Helga did her thang and turned into another tasty cake.  I was telling our potter mate Miss B. about it on the weekend, and she said: "everyone knows you can freeze sourdough starter!"  Do they?  Was she joshing me, folks? :=) 

Don't forget to take your Helga out of the freezer the night before!!  Leave her with the lid slightly ajar, but still on.  Throw a teatowel loosely over her.  In the morning she will be bubbly and fragrant and ready to bake with.


3 eggs 

1 tbs of vanilla - yep a tablespoon folks

3/4 cup lightly flavoured vegetable oil - I used peanut but use what you have e.g. sunflower, safflower, canola

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup self-raising flour

1/4 tsp baking powder - optional if you have fresh flour - I didn't!

1 cup almond meal - or try a mix of almond and hazelnut as I did

1/2 cup (75g.) roasted hazelnuts, chopped

1/4 cup poppy seeds

3/4 cup (130g.) chocolate chips - dark or milk

zest of 2 lemons and juice of 1

1 tsp sea salt

1 portion of Helga, which is about 340g. or about 1.5 cups


Roast the hazelnuts at about 170C for 8-9 minutes till you can smell the difference - hot and toasty, then rub between 2 bits of kitchen paper or a tea towel till most of the skin comes off

Whisk the eggs and vanilla together 

Add the oil and whisk again

Now add the brown sugar, flour (and baking powder if using), almond meal, nuts, poppy seeds, choc chips, zest and juice, salt and Helga

Give it a good stir till combined

Line a deep 20cm cake tin

Bake @ 175C for 50 minutes

Take it out and cover with alfoil

Bake for another 45 minutes or till a skewer comes out clean from the middle of the cake

So all up, I baked it for 95 minutes tho the recipe says for 105 to 120 minutes.  If not done after 105 mins. turn off the oven and leave to finish in the residual heat. Surprisingly my ratty oven was a champ this time

ingredients gleaming in the sun

ready for mixing in  

all mixed and ready to go into the oven 

heading into the oven

okay you caught me out - it IS a bit burnt on the edges

Yep slightly burnt on the top and the sides but still delicious - honest!  The poppy seeds give it a great texture and a bit of crunch; the sourdough and lemon give it a fab tangy taste, and the chocolate and nuts are a nice little surprise.  Helga was a real trooper, and I am dying to try a couple of different cakes now that I know she survives anything.   

my hazelnuts doodle


  1. Helga lives!!! I reckon eating that cake with some butter on it would also go down a treat.

  2. Yay go Helga!! She's a fighter isn't she? :) This is a lovely rustic looking cake Sherry.

  3. Clever girl.... love the sound of this cake, Sherry.

    1. I wish I could take the credit but some other clever person thought of this first:)

  4. Wow! The cake turned out really nice ♥


I would love to hear from you. Please leave your comment and I will reply as soon as I can. If you have problems commenting, please try without your WordPress profile. You can try Anonymous (add your name in the text) or your Google account if you have one.