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Strangest. Cake. Ever

Is it a cake or is it a salad? I had thought the title of this post was going to be “I’ve never met a chocolate cake I didn’t like…until now.” But having sampled the “fruits” of my labour I must say I am surprised. When making the icing I thought I’d ruined two perfectly good blocks of very good chocolate, but no. When it all comes together the flavours blend very well. And no one will know, unless you tell them, that this cake is made with sauerkraut and mayonnaise!

German Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 3/4 cup  cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sauerkraut, rinsed, drained, squeezed dry and finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Icing

  • 360 g chocolate, melted
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup flaked coconut
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans

Method

  • Cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; add to the creamed mixture alternately with water. Fold in sauerkraut, coconut and pecans. Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 180° for about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks; cool completely.
  • In a bowl, combine melted chocolate and mayonnaise. Set aside 1-1/4 cups for the icing. To the remaining chocolate mixture, add half of the coconut and pecans; spread between cake layers. Spread reserved chocolate mixture over top and sides of cake. Combine remaining coconut and pecans and sprinkle over the cake. Best stored in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Comfort for a Cold Winter

My grandmother was an excellent cook. Thin as a rake, she lived on lettuce and sherry. Perhaps that’s why her meals were works of art. She wouldn’t eat them but she could admire them. Christmas was picture perfect, Easter was a Baroque classic and afternoon teas were pastoral scenes. Every time she lit her gas stove with a long wax taper we knew we were in for  treat. Even something as simple as a self-saucing chocolate pudding turned out light on top, dense and rich below and with the special touch of being studded with walnuts.

My own cooking is much more purposeful. A blunt instrument compared to my grandmother’s finesse. In my early twenties when my best friend left town, I consoled myself by baking self-saucing chocolate puddings and eating them with tubs of ice cream. Everyday. I can still remember the recipe off by heart:

Mix 1 cup of self raising flour, 1 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of cocoa. Add 1 cup of milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Pour into a baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup of brown sugar mixed with another 2 tablespoons of cocoa and pour 2 cups of boiling water over the top. Bake for about 45 minutes, or less if you can’t wait that long. It’ll still taste the same.

No walnuts. No light touch. No oil painting. Just easy, quick, comfort food that’s meant to be eaten, not put on display.  A pudding to be your best friend on these cold winter days and nights.

When life gives you lemons…..

I made an emotional purchase. A  jar of home-made lemon butter made fresh the night before. It looked so enticing. I took it home and put it on the kitchen bench. There it stayed for a few days. The Hubby and I don’t eat lemon butter, no matter how enticing it looks. Then I was struck by  a bright idea. Lemon Coconut Slice. I doubled this recipe, to use up all the lemon butter, and took the slice to work. It disappeared in a cloud of “ooh”s “oh”s and “yum”s.

It’s lemon season. If life gives you lemons…. make Lemon Coconut Slice.

Ingredients

125g unsalted butter, melted, cooled

3/4 cup caster sugar

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour, sifted

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/3 cup lemon butter

Coconut topping 

1 egg white, lightly beaten

3/4 cup caster sugar

1 1/2 cups desiccated coconut

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease a 3cm-deep, 18cm x 28cm  pan. Line base and sides with baking paper.

2. Place butter, sugar, flour and egg in a bowl. Stir to combine. Press into prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until light golden.

3. Meanwhile, make coconut topping Place egg white, sugar and coconut in a bowl. Stir to combine.

4. Spread lemon butter evenly over slice base. Sprinkle with topping. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until coconut is golden brown. Cool in pan. Cut into squares. Serve. Accept praise and plenty of it.