Friday, December 21, 2007

David Lebovitz's Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake with Chocolate Glaze

In every household there comes a time when one has 100 grams of finely shredded sauerkraut left (like after making some boozy sauerkraut) and needs to find a good home for that. Granted, one can just nibble the cabbage shreds (an excellent source of vitamin C). Or one can bake a chocolate cake.

Yes, you understood me correctly..

When I finally received David's book a few months ago, his version of Maida Heatter's chocolate sauerkraut cake immediately caught my eye. Sauerkraut, you see, is very common in Estonia - there are quite a few sauerkraut recipes on my blog to prove that. However, I had never encountered a cake recipe using sauerkraut before. So when I did end up with some extra sauerkraut and extra time earlier this week (K. had popped over to Finland for the night), I decided to give David's recipe a go. I finely chopped up the cabbage, creamed and mixed and poured the batter (which looks - as you can see on this photo - like your 'normal' chocolate cake batter), baked, waited, glazed, sliced and devoured. Mmmm... I must admit that I couldn't taste any sauerkraut in the cake - but it was incredibly moist, extremely light and very chocolatey.

NB! Note that the recipe is also the cover image of the US edition of the book. I think David is strongly suggesting you'll give this one a go :)

Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake with Chocolate Glaze
Source: The Great Book of Chocolate by David Lebovitz
Serves 12

There is no recipe for this cake on David's blog, so if you're after the US cup-and-buttersticks measurements, buy his book (US/UK), or check out the recipe on Leite's Culinaria. The measurements below are for the people cooking in metric Europe when butter tends to be sold in 50 gram increments and not in tablespoons or 113-gram sticks :)

For the bundt cake:
100 grams sauerkraut
50 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
280 grams plain/all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
0.25 tsp salt
150 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
300 g caster sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
250 ml milk, cold

For the chocolate glaze:
100 grams dark chocolate (I used Fazer's 71% chocolate)
50 grams unsalted butter
1 tsp light syrup (Dansukker) or light corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Butter a 3-litre Bundt or tube cake pan.

Rinse the sauerkraut in cold water, gently squeeze dry and chop finely.

Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add eggs, one by one, beating after each addition.

Stir in one-third of the dry ingredients, then half of the milk. Then stir in another third of the dry ingredients, then the remaining milk. Finally, mix in the remaining dry ingredients, vanilla extract and the chopped sauerkraut.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely then invert onto a serving plate.

To make the chocolate glaze, heat the chocolate, butter, and syrup together until melted and smooth. Let stand until room temperature, then spoon the glaze over the cooled cake, allowing it to run down the sides.

This recipe was also included in my second cookbook, Jõulud kodus ("Christmas at Home"), published in Estonian in November 2011.


K and S said...

I would have never thought to put sauerkraut into a cake and top it with chocolate! Very intriguing :)

Anonymous said...

So glad you like the cake! The idea is kinda goofy, but the results are very delicious. And isn't that all that matters? : )

Happy holidays & hope there's lot of chocolate for you in '08!

x dl

(btw: In the book, the recipe is in metric as well as cups-and-spoons.)

Evelin said...

oh, see näeb tõesti hea välja! hapukapsa-šokolaadikoogil olen ise ka silma peal hoidnud juba kevadest saati. et kui jõulud tulevad koos hapukapsaga...
ehk jõuan ise ka ikkagi ära proovida:)

Anonymous said...

That David... where on earth does he get these ideas? I admit, I probably would have run the other way upon seeing this recipe, but your review has me curious now. Maybe chocolate with sauerkraut is just crazy enough to work!

Merry Christmas, Pille!

Kerstin Klein said...

oh... i´ll have to try this one.

Kerstin Klein said...

btw: are there any substitues for the light syrup?

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I can't even imagine the taste of sauerkraut and chocolate -- so, obviously, I'm going to have to make this and find out. Happy holidays, Pille.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Love the cake!!I suppose the sauerkraut keeps it moist. Happy holidays.

Meeta K. Wolff said...

sauerkraut in a cake. I would never have even considered pairing it to a cake. But I so have to say the color looks awesome! You are so bold!

Helene said...

I would have never thought of that! Sounds very interesting! Yours turned out beautiful!
Happy holidays!

Rosa said...

Your picture is so beautiful, it makes me want to try this unlikely combination! I can't say sauerkraut is something I often have around the house, but I can buy it easily. Wait until I tell the charcutier it's for a cake!

Laurie Constantino said...

I've been contemplating making this ever since I read Maida Heatter's version, but haven't been able to suspend disbelief long enough to actually make it. Thanks for being the guinea pig -- next time I have sauerkraut, I'll try it!

swirlingnotions said...

Wow . . . I did a triple-take on the title of this. It looks unbelievable, and I'd imagine the tanginess of saurkraut makes an interesting addition to the cake. Did you use the beer saurkraut you made from the last post?

Merry Christmas!

Kerstin Klein said...

my chocolate sauerkraut cake is in the oven right now.
actually i wasn´t sure whether you really do use the SAUERKRAUT or the cabbage for this. i used the cabbage this time.

Kerstin Klein said...

well... i should have thought about the acid and baking soda thing!!! :(

but when i read this text: "Granted, one can just nibble the cabbage shreds (an excellent source of vitamin C). Or one can bake a chocolate cake."
i assumed it would be the fresh cabbage shreds.

well... next time!

Kerstin Klein said...

well, even though i used the raw cabbage. everybody was "oh"-ing and "ah"-ing how tasteful and moist the cake was. i guess i was the only one who could taste the hint of the baking soda.
the cake is definitely a keeper and next time i´ll try it with the REAL sauerkraut. ;)

Annemarie said...

What a very...odd..recipe! Still, I trust your taste buds and I can't say it's not tempting in a curious way. :) Hope you have a very happy holiday!

Anonymous said...

Sauerkraut in a chocolate cake? Who would have thought other than David! It looks amazing! Happy Holidays.

Pille said...

K&S – well, I must admit the idea seemed crazy to me, too. But I’m really glad I tried it!

David – goofy :) And yes, the resulting cake was excellent, really flavoursome and pretty, so I’ll be definitely making it again. (And I’ve pm-d you re: the ‘American metric’ measurements in the book:)

Evelin – mis konkreetsel retseptil Sa silma oled peal hoidnud? Enne Davidi raamatu sirvimist polnud ma sellist kombinatsiooni kohanud, aga nüüd leidsin internetist suuremal hulgal hapukapsa-šokolaadikooke. Väga põnev oli igatahes.

Melissa – well, you’ve met David personally, you should have a better idea :) Do give this a go!

Lydia – you need a lot of imagination here :) Happy holidays to you, too!

Anne – well, it was a very moist chocolate cake, so you might be right.

Meeta – carrot in a cake, beetroot in a cake, parsnip in a cake – I can imagine – and have tried - all those before. But yes, sauerkraut addition didn’t seem obvious to me until now..

Tartelette – it’s an excellent recipe from David, for sure!

Rosa – thank you! I can imagine the face on your charcutier’s face :)

Laurie Constantino – David’s recipe is based on Maida Heatter’s version, so you can pick either one of them.

Swirlingnotions – when I first saw the recipe, I pointed it out to my dear K, giggling. But then it kept ‘nagging’ me until I had to give it a go.. And yes, I used the same sauerkraut I had bought for beer sauerkraut (but ‘uncooked’, of course. I simply put a little aside).

Ksklein – well, I didn’t think there was any doubt about whether I used sauerkraut or just cabbage in the recipe :) Sorry you used the wrong type of cabbage this time, but hope it doesn’t deter you from trying the true version of the cake again!

Annemarie – odd indeed – but oh-so-good!

Cenk – thank you! And happy holidays to you, too!

kitty said...

ma tegin seda kooki ja see sai uskumatult hea. mina küll selle hapukapsa maitset ei tundnud seal sees, aga mu perekond väitis, et tunneb. igatahes neile ka maitses:)

Kerstin Klein said...

well, the cake was delicious anyway! :) and of course i´m going to try the true version.
but there is somekind of language problem for me here. actually here uncooked sauerkraut would be fresh cabbage. as you wrote you used uncooked fresh sauerkraut, is it maybe the cabbage which has been preserved or pickled, but that happens unheated?

Anonymous said...

To ksklein

Uncooked sauerkraut will be sauerkraut :-)))

Technically it is fermented cabbage. To make suaurkraut, you take (several) cabbage head(s), remove outer leaves and the core part, and cut/grate it to stripes. Then you put some amount of grated cabbage into some container (jar, bucket, osw.) add salt (the rough one), and tread it until it turns wet. Add next layer of grated cabbage and salt, and tread again, etc. When the container is nearly full (you have to leave some room there, otherwise you may have a problem later), cover the grated cabbage with some cabbage leaves,then with some plate, and place something heavy at top - the grated cabbage must remain covered with cabbage juice. Now leave the container somewhere by 10-20 degrees celsius to fermentize (With big container like a bucket, you have to prod it sometimes with something to avoid gases accumulating). After couple of weeks (depends on temperature, and lower is better) you'll have sauerkraut instead of cabbage.

When making saurekraut, little granberries or grated carrot is usually added too.
For best sauerkraut, special cabbage sorts are used. Other cabbage sorts may result in somewhat bitter flavour.

Kerstin Klein said...

thanks pille and anonymous ;) for your detailed answers. now i´m sure i´ll get it right the next time. sauerkraut is pretty common here in germany. i just wasn´t aware of it that the usual sauerkraut you buy is uncooked (just never thought about it) as we always eat is heated here at home.

bird's eye view said...

Just saw this - man does the cake look inviting. Thanks for the heads up on the 'stick of butter' measure - i have never understood what that meant and have been known to stand around in the kitchen thinking thin stick? thick stick?

Anonymous said...

Tänud hea retsepti eest! Katsetasin ära, oli tõesti maitsev šokolaadikook.

Glenna said...

What a lovely cake. I know the saurkraut sounds strange but any time we add fruits or veggies to baked goods they always come out so moist. You can tell from your photos just how moist that cake is. Very cool.

Thredahlia said...

Mul on selline kõhutunne, et me Eveliniga oleme samal blogil silma peal hoidnud :P
Mina nägin selist retsepti esmakordselt sellisel lingil. Ise algusest lõpuni proovida ei ole veel jõudnud, aga kamba peale oleme teinud küll ja jäi üllatavalt hea.

Meeleolukat aastavahetust!

Anonymous said...

Tõsiselt hea kook sai. Tänud laheda retsepti eest!

Pille said...

Kitty - tore, et kook maitses! Eks selle tundmisega on nii, et kui nad teadsid, et seal hapukapsas sees on, siis oskasid ehk aimata. Mina tainas tundsin maitset (või pigem vist tekstuuri?), aga valmis koogis küll mitte..

Ksklein – the sauerkraut I’m talking about is fermented shredded cabbage that only consists cabbage and salt. I’m actually not sure what type of sauerkraut Martha Haetter or David Lebovitz used :)

Anon. - thank you for elaborating on the topic!

Bird’s eye view – I was confused by this butter-stick thing forever myself!

Glenna – it was definitely a very moist chocolate cake, with a lovely dark colour! Must have been the sauerkraut indeed!

Thredahlia – ma seda retsepti ei olnudki näinud, aitäh!

Merle, Oravake - rõõm kuulda, et koogil nii palju uusi fänne on!

Anonymous said...

Mine is in the oven right now. The batter was delicious and it smells great, so I have my fingers crossed! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Anonymous said...

Mjam, I have to try this :)
I make a cake with beans as the main ingredient and nobody ever
guessed it, they usually think it's made of chestnut.


Anonymous said...

Delicious ;)

Kerstin Klein said...

I made the cake again, using real sauerkraut this time. Again it was delicious but it didn´t really rise a lot. The cake was a lot fluffier and lighter the last time I made it.
"Unsweetened cocoa powder" means the unsweetened unprocessed cocoa or the unsweetend but dutch processed cocoa?

Pille said...

Mik - hope it was a success!

Maja - care sharing a recipe? It sounds really intriguing!

Kerstin - Dutch-processed cocoa powder. Re: the cake not rising - did you put it straight in the oven after mixing all ingredients? The cake contains baking soda and it starts reacting with sauerkraut in the batter within 20 minutes or so. If you leave it out for too long, then it may not rise later in the oven. That's the only thing I can think of.

Also - you shouldn't over-mix cake batters (ever). Could either of those two have been the case?

Kerstin Klein said...

Thanks for the answer.
I´m not really sure what I did wrong. Anyway I made the cake again a day later (as it is always delicious) and this time it was perfect. Delicious and fluffy. :)

Pille said...

Great to hear that, Kerstin!