Featured Ingredient: Sauerkraut
That spoiled cabbage dish the Germans adore turns out to be downright good for you. It’s a love or hate it type of victual and I’m in the former camp.
As a finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by bacteria, vinegary sauerkraut is a source of probiotics. Most often we are told to dread bacteria, but probiotics are beneficial critters that once consumed populate the gut to improve digestive and immune health. Now you see why the Germans have foist this dish on the rest of the culinary world. Here is Waterloo, Ontario there is a strong German heritage so finding fresh sauerkraut is not a problem. And you definitely want to hunt down the fresh stuff as this will provide the biggest probiotic punch.
I had some sauerkraut left over from a recipe I developed for Men’s Journal magazine so I decided to toss it into the batter for these cakes and see what happened. Tuth be told, you can’t really taste the sauerkraut in these. It’s really just there to add delicious moistness to the cakes which turned out really well. So, yes, sauerkraut and chocolate can co-exist – go figure! I used brewed coffee as a liquid, but you can probably use milk or just water instead if desired. Like the sauerkraut, you can't really detect the java. I served these with my signature cashew chocolate sauce.
Anyone else try to sneak leftover sauerkraut into baked goods?
Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake
¾ cup finely chopped sauerkraut
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne powder (optional)
½ cup coconut oil (liquefied) or other vegetable oil of choice
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup brewed coffee, room temperature
½ cup raw, unsalted cashews
4 oz chopped dark chocolate or a little more than ½ cup dark chocolate chips
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350°F. Rinse sauerkraut well to remove some of the vinegary taste and set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cayenne. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs and mix with oil, sugar, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix gently. Mix in coffee, a quarter cup at a time. Fold in sauerkraut. If the batter looks too dry, add more coffee. Divide mixture among 12 muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool before unmolding.
To make the sauce, place cashews in a bowl with water and soak for a couple hours. Drain cashews and place in a blender. Add just enough water to cover them. Process until smooth. In a small saucepan, combine cashew cream, chocolate and maple syrup. Cook over low heat until chocolate is melted, stirring often.