This cake is rich and dense; the sauerkraut gives it a slight bite. Serve it unfrosted, or spread it with a simple buttercream frosting.
Make Ahead: The cake can be cooled completely, then wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 1 month.
Yield: Makes two 8-inch, single-layer cakes
- 10 2/3 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 2/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
- 2 1/4 cups flour, plus more for the pans
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup homemade or store-bought sauerkraut, rinsed, drained and finely chopped
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Use a little butter to grease two 8-inch cake pans; then flour them, shaking out any excess flour. If desired, place 8-inch circles of parchment paper or wax paper in the bottom of each pan.
Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on medium speed for 5 minutes, until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition, and the vanilla extract.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.
Reduce the speed to low; add the flour mixture alternately with the water, beating until smooth.
Use a spatula to fold in the drained, chopped sauerkraut until well incorporated. Divide the thick batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans, leveling the surfaces.
Place both pans on the middle rack and bake for about 30 minutes or until the cakes spring back lightly when touched. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from a recipe by John Shields of Gertrude's in Baltimore.
Tested by Martha Thomas.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.