Posts Tagged ‘sauerkraut’

TGRWT #13: Caraway and chocolate

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

According to Google trends searches for chocolate peak every December (plus that special day in February), and I assume that consumption of chocolate follows the same pattern. For this month’s They go really well together event (TGRWT #13) Erik Fooladi over at Fooducation has chosen to pair chocolate with caraway. So if you plan to cook or bake with chocolate (or cocoa) in December – why not add some caraway and see how it turns out? It’s time to spice up your Christmas desserts! Surprise your guests and let us all know how it worked out.

If you can’t figure out what to make, try the chocolate sauerkraut cake I blogged about last year. It was quite successful and I figured out that one possible reason for the success was the fact that sauerkraut contains caraway which goes well with chocolate (and cognac).

More information about how to participate can be found in Erik’s announcement post of TGRWT #13.

Chocolate sauerkraut cake

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

After giving a presentation about molecular gastronomy I was asked if I had ever heard about a chocolate cake baked with sauerkraut. I admitted that this was new for me, but that I would be very interested in the recipe. Could it be that this is a new flavor/flavour pairing? Remember, the hypothesis is: if the major volatile molecules of two foods are the same, they might taste (and smell) nice when eaten together. Perhaps there’s some one out there with access to a headspace gas chromatographer that could check this out? Or perhaps someone who has access to the Volatile Compounds in Foods database could do a quick search? If you’re unfamilier with such flavor pairings, another nice pairing with chocolate is the one with caramelized cauliflower and chocolate jelly.

I did get the recipe and it turned out that it was from a cookbook called “Food that really schmecks” by Edna Staebler. The book is a collection of recipes from the Mennonite community in Ontario. Many Mennonites came from Germany, hence the word “schmecks” in the title which is German (zu schmecken = to taste). According to the cookbook, leftover sauerkraut makes the cake moist and delicious – which I can certainly confirm! And the strange things is you can’t really taste the sauerkraut. Here is the recipe (the way I made it):

Sauerkraut chocolate cake
170 g butter (ca. 3/4 cup)
300 g white sugar – less than the 1 1/2 cups in the original recipe
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla (either essence or vanilla flavored sugar)
2.5 dL water (= 1 cup)
6 dL flour (= 2 1/2 cup)
1.3 dL unsweetened cocoa (= 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon soda (sauerkraut is sour, therefore the recipe calls for soda!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
330 g drained  sauerkraut (1 1/2 cup) – more than in the original recipe

Mix butter and sugar. Add eggs, water and dry ingredients. Stir in the sauerkraut and pour batter into greased pan. Bake at 350 F/180 C for 30-50 minutes.

chocolate-sauerkraut-cake

The cake was a little too moist in the center when I made it and could have needed a couple more minutes in the oven. Make sure you check if it’s all set by inserting a wooden match or a knitting pin in the center of the cake!

Interestingly, the cookbook “Food that really schmecks” was recently presented in the blog Cream Puffs in Venice, with the following statement attached: “There is no haute cuisine or molecular gastronomy to be found here”. But chocolate and sauerkraut might turn out to be another flavor pairing based on sound chemical reasoning.

Update: Read the followup on this post with more about chocolate and caraway (the main spice in sauerkraut)