Sunday, February 5, 2017
Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake by George Toma - from "Royals Recipes" (1969)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup water
1/2 cup sauerkraut, drained and chopped
Sift flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda together. Set aside.
Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, water, and flour mixture. Mix well. Fold in sauerkraut.
Bake in greased and floured tube pan for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. While still warm, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Sauerkraut and chocolate. Two things you would not imagine using together in the kitchen -- not unless you are some kind of dangerous maniac.
But if you google the two words together, up pops a slew of mid-20th century recipes for "German Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake". So this was a thing back in the day. It still makes the online rounds in the present, although more as a novelty.
There seem to be two general responses to the inevitable question: "why use sauerkraut"?
First, it functions as a stand-in for shredded coconut, an ingredient that may have been harder to find back in the day.
Second, it supposedly helps keep the cake moist inside, which doesn't seem necessary since I think the cake would have been moist enough without it.
Whatever the history of this recipe, longtime groundskeeper George Toma served it up for Royals Recipes.
While mixing everything together, I noticed that it was definitely the most "liquidy" cake batter I have ever made. The resulting cake was amazingly soft and moist, with just enough outer crust to handle the powdered sugar. Winner!