On the tenth day we solemnly divided Herman into four portions and I carried one of them home, worried that too much shaking around might kill him.
Opening up the container, however, he was still frothing at the mouth, which is a good sign for yeast-based starters, less good for humans/dogs etc.
I left Herman watching football while I weighed out the ingredients and lined his coffin, I mean baking tin.
The cake – was it still Herman? – was risen and browned with nice lumps of apple visible from above. But what did it taste like?
It was very nice, I hadn't used all the suggested butter and sugar in the final glaze and I'd say that was a good judgement call as I don't like my cakes too sweet. It was fairly full-bodied – not terribly light.
If I were to make it again I might make it more traditionally, beating the oil with the sugar, then the eggs, to try and get a bit more air into the sponge.
There was also a slightly yeasty taste about the cake but most of all it reminded me of Mr Kipling's Manor House cake, which isn't such a bad thing.
Anyway, I took the cake into the office the next morning, where it was quickly scoffed within about 5 minutes. Proof of the pudding and all that... Alas the portion of Herman that was meant to be fed once more and carry on the dynasty was left out and we think the cleaner may have disposed of it. RIP Herman