Tuesday, August 16, 2011

German Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake


Believe it or not, I don't have a sweet tooth.  I crave salty snacks.  Hickory smoked nuts, French fries and cheddar nachos are my weaknesses and calories of choice.  That's not to say I don't enjoy sweets, occasionally, like today.  I'm having friends over for afternoon coffee and tea, which is all the motivation I need to make a scrumptious cake.  The one I'm serving calls for two unusual ingredients: sauerkraut and mayonnaise.  But don't be fooled.  It's not how you start, but how you finish.  You end up with a moist and rich chocolate confection your guests will love!  Here's the easy recipe:

Tip before starting: Be sure all your ingredients are room temperature as you will get a flaky cake. At times I've made the mistake of using cold butter or eggs, which results in a dense cake texture. Live and learn!

German Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake

Ingredients for the batter:

¾ cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cups whole wheat flour (or half all purpose flour)
¾ cup real cocoa (plus blocks of dark chocolate)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups buttermilk
1 cup chopped sauerkraut – I pour the liquid off, but don't strain it.
½ cup flaked coconut
½  cup finely chopped pecans, oven roasted for 5 - 8 minutes
Extra skim milk, if needed, to get a not-too-dry (or runny) batter consistency – add a few drops at a time.  You want a thick, but liquid batter that you can stir and pour into a pan without difficulty.

Directions for the batter:

1. In a bowl, mix the 14 ingredients in order, adding one at a time.  Beat until smooth.
2. Pour into two greased 9 inch cake pans and bake at 350° for 25 minutes, or until the center is done.
3. Remove from the oven.  Cool
4. While the pans are still warm remove the cakes.
5. Set aside and cool completely.

Ingredients for the frosting:

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, melted
2/3 cup mayonnaise, regular or light (but not non-fat)
2/3 cup flaked coconut
2/3 cup finely chopped pecans, oven roasted for 5 - 8 minutes

Directions for the frosting:


1) Melt the chocolate by putting the chips in a mixing bowl and microwave it about 30-40 seconds.
2) Remove and stir in the mayonnaise.
3) Add about half of the coconut and pecans.
4) Spread the frosting on the inside layer, then frost the top and sides.
5) Sprinkle the top and sides with the remaining flaked coconut and chopped pecans.
I prefer this chocolate frosting, but click here for another choice.

And now a quiz: Name the country of origin. ??? Au contraire: German chocolate cake did not begin in Germany.  The name comes from the chocolate, not the country.  When Englishman Sam German created dark baking chocolate for his American employer, the Baker's Chocolate Company in 1852, the product was named after him.  According to several sources, the first recipe for German Chocolate Cake was submitted by a Texas housewife to a local Dallas newspaper in 1957.  It became an instant hit, driving up the sales of the chocolate.  I don't know who, later, added the sauerkraut, perhaps a crafty sauerkraut company.
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