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Sauerkraut chocolate cake recipe

Sauerkraut chocolate cake recipe

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A moist and rich chocolate cake with an ingredient that is best kept a secret. Don't be put off - you can't taste the sauerkraut, but it lends a lot of moisture to the cake, and can give the illusion of desiccated coconut, depending on how finely you chop it. Just as some chocolate cakes call for vinegar, this one calls for sauerkraut! Try a coconut icing for the top.

24 people made this

IngredientsServes: 24

  • 100g drained and chopped sauerkraut
  • 340ml buttermilk
  • 150g butter
  • 400g light brown soft sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 55g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 280g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:45min ›Ready in:1hr5min

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease and flour a 20x30cm baking dish.
  2. Sift cocoa, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together and set aside. In a separate small bowl, combine buttermilk with sauerkraut and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter, dark brown soft sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat in. Add flour mixture alternately with sauerkraut mixture. Beat only until blended.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared tin. Bake at 180 C / Gas 4 for about 45 minutes, or until skewer inserted into cake comes out clean. Cool cake and ice with your favourite icing.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(22)

Reviews in English (20)


Well, to be honest....I made this as a joke on my family. I know, but we have an evil streak when it comes to our humor! But let me tell is wonderful! The joke was on me!I used self rising flour and omitted the soda and salt. I didn't have any buttermilk, so I just used 2% instead.Other than that, I didn't change a thing.Oh, I rinsed the kraut many many times, then I took kitchen sissors and cut it up very fine. My kids won't eat coconut because of the texture...I was trying to avoid that.It almost looked like a chocolate mousse when I poured it into the pan. I didn't know what to expect. But the house sure smelled good. It cooked for the full 45 minutes. Afterwards I trimmed the top so I would lay flat on my pan. I didn't tell one about the kraut and the kids went to town on it! You can see the kraut just a bit, but not too much. They loved it. Very moist and good, especially warm.We won't frost this one...and I'll be sure to make it again and again.This one is very much worth a try!-01 Dec 2006

by lovestohost

Do not be scared! Live a little and step outside the box; these are fantastic! I followed the recipe w/2 minor alterations: 1. I made as cupcakes (baked for right around 20 min a batch and the recipe made 30 cupcakes for me) and 2. I never have buttermilk so I used the milk (1% at our house) and vinegar substitution. I should probably make it known that I'm NOT a from scratch cake fan; I tend to prefer Duncan Hines box mixes, so I baked these more for the novelty of the sauerkraut w/low expectations...well, they certainly exceeded the low bar I had set! These are great! great flavor...I'm not sure what the sauerkraut does (some bites I felt I could get the barest hint of sauerkraut, but maybe it was all in my head), but these are def worth trying! I frosted w/butter cream (butter cream II from here, actually) but next time I think I'll try w/either a cinnamon-y or a caramel or a PB or a mint frosting (the possibilities are endless!) thanks to the suggestions of wonderful RE members.-30 Mar 2009


Hands down one of the best cakes I have ever made! I followed the recipe exactly as stated and the result was spectacular! Thanks for submitting!-31 Dec 2004

Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake

So you’re either thinking I’ve lost my mind and this must be gross, or your intrigued beyond belief and want to know what a chocolate cake with sauerkraut tastes like. Well, my friends, it’s delicious! Weird, I know! Even my husband enjoyed it and still has no clue there was sauerkraut in it. The kids haven’t tried it yet, but they tend to be afraid of anything with nuts or coconut on the outside, so i think that’s the only thing holding them back.

You’re still scratching your head… The sauerkraut is rinsed and drained, so most of the pickling flavor is washed away, and it adds a fabulous moist and chewy texture to the cake, much like coconut would.

What’s equally unusual is that the frosting has mayonnaise in it. Two ingredients really, mayonnaise and melted chocolate chips. And it’s wonderful! In fact, if you’re ever in a hurry and need a frosting pretty quickly, this would work great as a glaze, or if you have time to chill it for 20 minutes, it’s a great spreadable frosting.

Amanda’s Notes: There were only two issues I had with this.

1) When I made the frosting, the recipe said to reserve 4 cups of frosting and mix some coconut and pecans into the rest. Problem was I only had 3 cups total after following the instructions. So I reserved 2 cups instead and that is reflected in my adaptation below.

2) This didn’t cut very nicely, it was very moist and crumbled a bit. I think it’s because the recipe didn’t specify to chop the sauerkraut. So I have adjusted that as well. However, I also didn’t refrigerate my cake before cutting it, so that could have been a contributing factor.

3) I also changed the topping by toasting it in a skillet first.

Other than that, this is a really good chocolate cake. I was curious about the origin of sauerkraut cake, but I wasn’t able to turn up much, and what I did find didn’t really have any proof or backing. One source, a fun blog called The Old Foodie, says that it was developed on the 60’s as a result of a surplus supply of sauerkraut. Apparently the USDA Surplus Committee asked for ways to use up the extra canned kraut, and a lunch lady, of all people, named Geraldine Timms from Waller High School in Chicago, developed the recipe. Do you think that’s why lunch ladies have such a bad rap these days?? Now while I couldn’t really find anything else about Geraldine, there is in fact a Waller High School in Chicago.

Now, while the above story sounds legitimate enough, the recipe that I used was from the cookbook America’s Best Lost Recipes. In the book, it states that the recipe was actually a popular April Fool’s Day recipe in the 60’s. According to the book, it was submitted by a Tracey Duble of Ardmore, PA. She stated that her mom, of German/Polish decent, used to make sauerkraut cake for her and her siblings when they were kids. Hmm.

So who knows where it really came from, but if you think about it, adding sauerkraut to a cake really isn’t all that odd. Why, you ask? Because it was pretty common in earlier chocolate cake recipes to add vinegar, helping boost the moisture. There are other odd ingredients that we’ve already become accustomed to, such as carrots, zucchini, and beets. So why not sauerkraut?

Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake
adapted from America’s Best Lost Recipes

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, rinsed, drained and chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Frosting and Filling
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, melted
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2/3 cup sweetened, shredded coconut, divided
2/3 cup pecans, chopped, divided

Make the Cake
Adjust two oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans. Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk the water, eggs, and vanilla in a large measuring cup.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Reduce mixer speed and ddd the flour mixture and the water mixture alternately, beating after each addition until combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl and stir to combine.

Using a rubber spatula, fold in the sauerkraut and pecans. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating and switching the pan positions halfway through baking. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes then, remove from pan and peel off parchment paper. Cool completely on wire racks, at least 30 minutes.

Make the Frosting and Filling
Whisk the melted chocolate chips and mayonnaise in a medium bowl and reserve 2 cups. To the frosting remaining in the bowl, add 1/3 cup of the coconut and 1/3 cup of the chopped pecans (this is the filling).

Spread half the filling on one cake layer. Repeat with the second layer and the remaining filling. Top with the final layer and spread the top and sides of the cake with the reserved frosting.

Mix together the remaining coconut and pecans and toast them in a skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly until the start to turn light golden brown, then remove from heat immediately. Dump them out of the pan onto a piece of paper towel or a waiting plate to cool. Leaving them in the pan can cause them to burn, even if the pan is removed from the fire.

When topping has cooled, press it into the sides of the cake. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (The cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake

We know, chocolate cake with sauerkraut sounds crazy, but it's really quite good! As long as you follow a good sauerkraut recipe, like this one, your cake will turn out moist, chocolatey and delicious - and you won't even taste the sauerkraut.


  • 2 1 / 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1 / 2 cup sugar
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 / 3 cup shortening
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • 1 1 / 4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 / 2 cup sauerkraut, drained


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda,sugar, and salt with shortening.
  3. Add syrup, vanilla, eggs, water and sauerkraut.
  4. Beat on medium speed with mixer until smooth.
  5. Pour into 13x9-inch pan.
  6. Bake at 375°F for 35 minutes.
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Really Chop That Sauerkraut!

Since this cake is perfect for a potluck (especially a German themed event), keeping it portable was important. Plus serving it out of the pan made it easy to cut into moist and crumbly squares. The cake’s flavor and texture were excellent and I would definitely make it again, but next time I will really focus on chopping the sauerkraut into tinier bits. I thought I’d done a good job with the chopping, but there were still little strings. Other than that, the cake was terrific, and I was happy with my decision to incorporate coffee and miniature chocolate chips. Plus the frosting was surprisingly fabulous.

Sauerkraut And Chocolate Better Than Peanut Butter And Chocolate?

Just for the record, this is a dessert that it is best to say little about. When folks see it, then their eyes and nose and taste buds will answer all the most important questions. As soon as everyone starts saying “This is the best chocolate cake EVER!”… Well, that is when you want to let them know.

A moment sooner and you risk having to eat that whole dang cake yourself! (Not going to lie. It will be a challenge to decide every time which way is the best way to go. Tell all. Leave it a secret. The choice is yours!)

Chocolate-Sauerkraut Cake

Sure, people usually think of sauerkraut (it's cabbage that has been pickled) as something to put on hot dogs, but in this cake, it adds a nice moist texture without the sour taste. Yummy! Some people call it the "Don't Ask Cake" because people who eat it can't guess what the secret ingredient is -- and don't want to believe it when they find out.

Add your favorite chocolate frosting or sprinkle the cake with confectioners' sugar, if you'd like.

Servings: 15

Yield: Makes one 13-by-9-inch cake


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13-by-9 baking pan with butter, butter substitute or nonstick cooking oil spray.

Place the sauerkraut in a colander and rinse under cold running water for several minutes. Drain the sauerkraut, and squeeze until it is almost dry. Transfer to a food processor and finely chop, scraping down the sides of the work bowl as needed.

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Place the butter or butter substitute in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer beat on medium speed for several minutes, until it is fluffy. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, gradually add the sugar, eggs (one at a time) and the vanilla extract until well incorporated. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add half of the flour mixture beat on low speed to incorporate, then add the remaining flour mixture and the water, beating to form a smooth batter.

Stir in the sauerkraut by hand.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly into the corners. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

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Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake And Tower Kitchen Recipe Cookbooks

Well, it DOES because this week we have  Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake from Recipes from the Tower Kitchen!

Since 1933, when Tower Kitchen opened atop the Free Press Building, its food experts have been helping Michigan women make good things to eat.

Cooking methods have changed in the past 40 years and so has the location of Tower Kitchen – it’s now on the 4th floor.

But more than ever, homemakers are kept up to date on food innovations and Tower Kitchen recipes are tested and re-tested.

In 1943, when war rationing had housewives scrimping, Tower Kitchen told them how to make the most of the contents of a No.2 can. Fort decades later, home economist Toni Bettisworth shows cooks how to add personal touches to prepared foods.

We have cooked from  Recipes from the Tower Kitchen before (Party Casserole and Surprise Rhuberry Kuchen) with great success, so I was pretty excited for this one.

And then something a little strange happened. After I had already planned to make this cake for this week’s post, I received an email with a question from a reader about this very cookbook! No joke!

I have the Detroit Free Press book entitled: Recipes from the Tower Kitchen. the explanation About Tower Kitchen prefaces page 2. page 3 lists Table of Contents.
I’d like to know if there are any more of these Recipe Books anywhere or is this one the only one? I got this from my Mom years ago, so I have no info other than the contents of this book.
It look identical to the green one shown at your web page………thanks for you help…….Bobbie

Well Bobbie, thanks for the fun question! And I have good news for you.

Yes, there are other Tower Kitchen books out there! I think these little books were given out periodically (get it?) as free inserts, and there are at least two others that I know of. I saw a different one a few years ago in an antique store, but it was too expensive for me to add it to my collection. Sadly, I didn’t take a picture and I don’t remember the year or the contents.

However, a third one  is available on Flickr in its entirety, which I am very excited about. This one includes recipes AND reader questions answered by Kay Savage, who was an award-winning food critic that wrote for the Detroit Free Press.

If anyone else has copies of any Recipes from the Tower Kitchen cookbooks, let us know! Bobbie and I would like to hear about any other recipe books from this series.

But now, on to the most important thing:

“It tastes like chocolate cake.”

“Yeah. How much sauerkraut did you put in this?”

The Verdict: Very Good! And it makes sense, in a way. I have a lot of red velvet cake recipes that call for vinegar, so the vinegary taste of the sauerkraut wouldn’t be something that would make a cake taste awful, especially because it was rinsed well enough that not much of the “juice” remained. However, I wasn’t expecting the sauerkraut to disappear in the cake. I thought it would hang out and be chewy. But it just dissolved. Overall, a neat recipe.

Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake

I know, I know. You probably looked at the title of this post and are thinking "blechh" right about now. You might not even be reading this post because why on Earth would you want to know how to make a chocolate cake with sauerkraut?? Well. because it's good? And unique? Seriously. I saw the recipe a few months ago and instantly thought of my dad. He's a sauerkraut lover and not a huge dessert fan, so I figured this would be the perfect cake for his birthday.

Don't worry you don't actually taste the sauerkraut! It's main purpose is to add some moistness to the cake and while it pretty much tastes like a normal chocolate cake, the sauerkraut sure does make it unique!

Here's what you need for the cake and frosting:

  • ¾ C sauerkraut firmly packed
  • 2 ½ C flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • ½ C cocoa powder
  • 11 T unsalted butter (1 stick + 3 T)
  • 1 ½ C sugar
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 C cold coffee
  • 1 lb. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 2 T corn syrup
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T vanilla

First, you'll want to rinse the sauerkraut really well to get rid of the vinegary taste. Drain it and dry it a bit, but not too much. Chop it up so it's nice and fine.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa.

In a larger bowl, beat the butter until it's soft and then add the sugar and vanilla and continue beating so it's light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs at a high speed

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, alternating with the coffee and beat until it's all blended together. Now fold in the sauerkraut.

I put some sprinkles on top because I thought it needed a bit more pizazz and that's all I had in my kitchen (they were pink. sorry Dad!). The cake turned out to be quite good. It wasn't as amazingly moist as I was expecting , but it had a really good flavor to it and the frosting was fabulous. Next time I'd probably make sure my sauerkraut was a little more wet when I added it in. I'm happy I actually tried this recipe out and that my dad enjoyed it. You couldn't even tell there was sauerkraut in the cake unless you looked really closely. And even then it looked like coconut!

This recipe also reminded my sister and I of a beet cake our mom used to make that was incredible. In the meantime, Julia, a freelance writer for the Boston Globe who Chels and I met at the WBUR Public Radio Kitchen "eat-up", sent us her favorite beet cake recipe. I'll definitely be trying it soon and reporting back!

This Chocolate Cake Has The Most Insane Secret Ingredient

Few things fascinate me more than vintage recipes. I love digging through old Betty Crocker catalogues and finding recipes in old ads (just check out these INSANE Rice Krispie's recipes). There's something so intriguing about these relics, it's amazing how much our food culture differs from that of our grandparents. This fascination has led me to trying some pretty deplorable foods, most notably "guacamole salad" which I think has permanently ruined avocados for me.

Most recently I came across a chocolate cake recipe with an ingredient I'd never before seen in dessert: SAUERKRAUT. I thought I might have come across a weird one-off recipe, but the more Googling I did, the more sauerkraut cakes I found! Once it was established that this was "a thing" I knew I had to try it for myself.

Before I get into the taste test, I bet you're wondering why on earth someone would put sauerkraut into a chocolate cake. Via my research, it seems that this recipe was born out of necessity during some downtrodden time in American history. The decade? Up for debate. I happen to like this blog's explanation:

Fascinated, I NEEDED to taste this cake myself. I turned to this recipe by Spruce Eats to see what all the fuss was about. An hour and a half and 1 cup of sauerkraut later, I found myself staring at a very normal looking slice of chocolate cake:

To my surprise, there's nothing extraordinary about this cake. In fact, without the cream cheese frosting that topped it, it was actually quite bland! The kraut lost all sourness and seemed to offer nothing but texture to the cake. This texture, quite similar to coconut, gave the cake a German chocolate vibe, which I was into. Overall though, this cake was nothing to write home about. Sure, if I had a surplus of stockpiled sauerkraut I might feel differently. Until then, I'll stick to more decadent chocolate desserts, like this delicious Black Forest Cake.

Watch the video: Dylan Hollis - CHOCOLATE SAUERKRAUT CAKE TikTok Vintage Recipe (July 2022).


  1. Skyler

    I apologise, I too would like to express the opinion.

  2. Wa'il

    I believe that you are making a mistake. Let's discuss. Email me at PM, we will talk.

  3. Modig

    It is obvious in my opinion. Try searching for the answer to your question

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