Apple & sourdough discard ‘Haman’ (Friendship) cake

A happily adaptable way to use up apple gluts and sourdough ‘waste’. The origin of this recipe is a traditional cake made by the Amish people of North America. Originally from Germany, the Amish community hold religion at their core. Their philosophy is to live a simple life following the teachings of Christ and his apostles.

Haman cake is a friendship cake – it’s made from its own ‘starter’ which grows and needs dividing and feeding. The divided starter, as well as the finished Haman cake, is meant to be shared amongst friends and acquaintances within the community. This recipe uses sourdough starter rather than the traditional flour, milk, sugar & water Haman fermentation.

Variations: Depending on the fruit used, you could add cinnamon / mixed spice, vanilla, grated citrus rind… Top as you choose: sprinkled sugar, the sugar crunch suggested below, or a fruit glaze once cooled.


1 cup sugar
2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
200ml cooking oil or melted butter
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups Herman the German sourdough starter
Sliced apples, or other fruit to top
2 teaspoons baking powder

Topping (optional)

1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar


  1. Line cake tin/s with baking paper. Preheat oven to 160C.
  2. Combine the sugar, flour, salt and oil.  Stir in the eggs and vanilla, then gently fold in the starter.  
  3. Spoon into one large or two small pans.  Top with apple slices (I leave the skins on for fibre & colour) and drizzle with melted butter and brown sugar topping, or just sugar sprinkles, or leave plain and glaze once cold.
  4. Bake in your preheated oven for around 30 minutes or until cooked, as baking time will depend on size of baking tins used.
  5. Share and enjoy!

I remember as a young child, my mother was given a cake ‘starter’ by an American friend. My mother is hugely inventive; after eating daily cake in every form and giving away discard to everyone who would take it, she resorted to bartar; swapping pots of fermenting bubbliness for items that others had surplus’ of, that they couldn’t cope with. Among other things, this resulted in us having a considerable area of the kitchen taken over with stick insects. Watching the amazing insects, and deciphering which was stick and which insect, was just as wonderful as the mystery of the ever growing fermentation that was in danger of taking over the other half of our kitchen!

At least the insects were happily contained, which can not be said of ‘starter’, which, if healthy and not carefully watched, tends to be a rather messy escape artist!


Sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #335 as preparations are made for Thanksgiving sharing with friends and family – whether remote or near, friendship is what ties us together.

“Food is the ingredient that binds us together.”

11 thoughts on “Apple & sourdough discard ‘Haman’ (Friendship) cake

  1. This looks like a beautiful dessert. Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party. Wishing you a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.


    1. And you too, Helen. Difficult times, but still so much to be Thankful for.


  2. I’m not great in the bakery department so I tend to let those who are better at it go right ahead. But I’d be happy to hold out my plate for a portion. Please 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course, Jo –
      and an extra one for you to pass on,
      & share with your friends!


  3. Love it! Thank you for sharing it with us, and for remembering the stick insects…

    Lol. M xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure we all remember The Stick Insects! 🙂


  4. It makes me smile that this is also called friendship cake. It sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday party!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the stick insects story


    1. Thanks, Derrick
      🙂 Amazing creatures!

      Liked by 1 person

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