Should Seville’s barefoot nuns have faith in my cake-baking skills?

Just out of the oven

When I was in New Zealand earlier this year, I stayed with a lovely lady called Val, who introduced me to Herman the German Friendship cake.  Val was only part way through the 10-day cycle of making the cake, so I wasn’t able to join in with the fun.  Besides which, I was travelling at the time, so it wasn’t very convenient.

Herman the German is a sourdough cake, often received from a friend as a “starter mix” and which sits on your kitchen counter for ten days, bubbling away, covered with a tea towel.  Along with your starter mix, you also receive written instructions on how to proceed.  On the tenth day, you divide the mixture to share with your friends, and bake your cake.

To be honest, since returning home to Spain from New Zealand, I’d forgotten all about Herman.

A few weeks ago, Sue, a FB friend and fellow expat blogger from Extremadura in Spain, asked if anyone was interested in sharing some of her starter dough for Herman’s Spanish equivalent: Bizcocho de las Carmelitas Descalzas de Sevilla (The Barefoot Carmelite nuns of Seville cake).  I should imagine you were wondering where the nuns came into it!

Anyway, how could I refuse?

All we had to figure out now was how she would get the starter mix to me when we live about 500 kilometres apart!

Fate stepped in – in the form of The Open-Air Theatre Project, a small, rural community from the Alpujarra mountains in southern Spain with their dream of building an open-air theatre.  To cut a long story short, Sue was on her way to meet up with the group, and she kindly diverted from her route to deliver my starter cake-mix, together with a sheet of instructions in Spanish (of course).

She also brought me five jars of the most delicious home-made plum, cherry, fig and loquat jam.  YUMMY!

How lucky am I?

As soon as I got home from meeting Sue, I tipped the bubbling dough mix into a large pot bowl, covered it with a tea towel and, over the next ten days, followed the written instructions to the letter – sometimes adding ingredients, often doing nothing.

Today is the tenth day – so, this morning I set about dividing the mixture into four, in order to be able to give away three “starter mix” portions to friends and neighbours, added the extra ingredients and made my cake!

If you want to have a try yourself, you can get the recipe for Herman the German cake by CLICKING HERE.  Don’t worry if you don’t have any friends anyone to give you the starter mix.  You can always start the cake off, yourself, but I really liked the idea of the sharing bit.  If you live near me and would like one of my starter kits, let me know!

Herman’s Spanish sister cake can be found by Googling “Bizcocho de las Carmelitas Descalzas de Sevilla”, choose one of the links and click on “translate this page” and Bob’s your Uncle – so to speak!

MY TOP TIP: After cooking for 45 minutes, take the cake out of the oven, cover with foil to prevent the top from burning, and pop back into the oven for a further 15 – 20 minutes to make sure the middle is cooked well enough.

So – should Seville’s barefoot nuns have faith in my cake-baking skills?  

I think so – but I’d love to know what you think!

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78 thoughts on “Should Seville’s barefoot nuns have faith in my cake-baking skills?

  1. Pingback: Extremadura, Spain: Halfway stop to Portugal | Our Travels Around The Globe

  2. My dear cousin in Barcelona brought some starter dough with her when she visited last month. Yummy cake and fun to share. If you bake it in a Bundt pan, you do not need additonal baking time. We like to add almond or vanilla extract, brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts. Chocolate chips work nicely too!

    • Fantastic!

      I love the FUN element of sharing this cake mix. I guess half of the fun is that you can add whatever ingredients you like to make it truly YOURS 🙂

      Thanks for your comment, Annette. Much appreciated.

    • We are on our second jar of Sue’s jam – the plum was delicious and the loquat (what we call nispero in Spain) is equally tasty! She is the Queen of the Jam-Makers 🙂

  3. Judging from the pics … absolutely :D. It is a lovely idea, but to wait for 10 days – not my thing 🙂 I can only applaud your patience and enthusiasm Marianne, and your excellent shots too of course 🙂

  4. That looks so delicious Marianne and you took excellent shots! I am sure the Seville barefoot nuns can learn a thing or two from you hon. 😀 *hugs*

  5. The nuns surely should have faith in your cake baking skills, and your ability to share on the starter and the idea… not to mention a piece of the cake itself… that’s the good thing about cake, once it’s cut it’s best shared, and you don’t have to eat it all yourself 😉

    • OH I totally agree – cake is meant to be shared!

      Funnily enough, I’m not a huge cake-eater. I don’t mind an odd slice though, but the beauty of this particular delicacy is that it can be frozen, to be shared again on another day 🙂

  6. This is absolutely wonderful. Love the pics and LOVE the idea of shared sourdough. Yes, I clicked on the link and see I can start my own but I KNOW someone somewhere will pass it on to me and I will be able to pass it on to my pals. What a great idea! Thank you for blogging this.

I´d love to hear from you, and much appreciate your comments. Thank you.

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