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I mentioned in a previous post that our friend, Karen, was recently killed in a hit-and-run car accident in New York City.  At her memorial, we received a program that included a few of Karen’s favorite recipes.  Karen loved to cook and hold wonderful dinner parties.  I made her cake because, not only did it sound interesting, I wanted to honor her memory.

When Adam and I saw Karen’s recipe for chocolate surprise cake, we knew we had to try it.  I was intrigued and a bit shocked to find out that the surprise was sauerkraut.  Yes, sauerkraut.  The same sauerkraut that you enjoy on bratwurst and hot dogs.  That very same sauerkraut was in this lovely recipe for chocolate cake!  I was a little nervous about it, but Karen loved it & who knows, it might become a new favorite of ours.

I brought the cake over to our friend’s house for a small Oscar party.  I let them know what the “surprise” in Chocolate Surprise Cake was, and they, too, seemed excited and curious.  The first bite was taken a little tentatively, but after realizing that the frosting was amazing, and the sauerkraut really just added texture and not a bunch of salty flavor, they were game.  What a fun chocolate cake!

Karen’s Chocolate Sauerkraut Surprise Cake
by Karen Schmeer
Printable Recipe

Cake:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 salt
2 cups flour
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup water
1 cup sauerkraut (well rinsed, drained, and chopped).  Fresh or bagged is best, but Karen always said “from a jar works just fine.”

Frosting:
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour a Bundt cake pan.  (Karen used 2 round 9″ pans).

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then add vanilla.

Sift together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder).  Slowly beat these into the creamed mixture, alternating with 1 cup water.  Stir in sauerkraut.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan(s).  Bake 35 to 40 minutes.  (If using 2 round pans, only bake 15 to 20 minutes).  Cool completely in the pan.

Make the frosting.  In a double boiler (or  just carefully in a regular pan), melt both types of chocolate with the butter over low heat.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the sour cream, vanilla, and salt.  Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar, beating until frosting is spreadable.  When cake is cool, remove from the pans and frost.

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