Eat This: Chocolate-Orange Kefir Cake (With Sauerkraut!)

Like chocolate oranges? I sure do – velvety chocolate with a whisper of orange is a divine pairing. How about in a dense, moist cake with the surprise players of milk kefir and sauerkraut?

This dessert is a variation on The Cultured Foodie’s Double Chocolate Kefir Cake recipe. I, of course, used my homemade purple sauerkraut (without caraway) and homemade milk kefir.

Key players in fabulous cake!

As I contemplated the cake, inspiration struck: why not add some orange zest to the chocolate goodness? Since I would be making orange cream-flavored water kefir later in the day, I just peeled the rind off the orange and chopped it finely for the cake. The peel-less orange was juiced and added to the finished water kefir 1F later. And the pigs enjoyed the spent rinds – no waste!

For the cake, the dry ingredients are mixed first, then the butter and sugar (I cut it back to just a little under 3/4 cup and it was plenty sweet – don’t forget that there are also chocolate chips in the recipe) were creamed. I should have allowed the butter to come to room temperature first because trying to cream the block of cold butter and the sugar took a long time, and nearly killed the poor, underpowered electric beater. I also ended up having to manually pull clumps of butter out of the beaters. Have noted the need to warm the butter for next time.

Once the creaming is complete, the eggs are added (and this helped fluff up the butter/sugar goop. Then, the dry ingredients and the milk kefir are added and beaten in. Finally, the drained, chopped sauerkraut, the cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and orange zest are mixed in.

But back to the sauerkraut…first, I tried using my Magic Bullet to chop it up. It chopped about the inch of sauerkraut closest to the blades, but couldn’t reach the rest of it. Rats. Once again, my mini food processor comes to the rescue: I transferred the partly-chopped sauerkraut into the food processor and with just a few pulses, it was finely, evenly chopped. Ironically, I purchased the blender many years ago and thought that the food processor attachment was gimmicky – I admit, I was wrong. I use it all the time, much more often than I use the blending jar!

Once the finished batter is poured into the lightly greased baking dish, it went into a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. After filling the baking dish, I had to “taste test” the batter, and just about fell onto the floor – it was so good, I seriously considered foregoing the baking step and eating it as is. I’m not kidding. But, since I’m committed to full follow through on experiments (and recipes), I popped it into the countertop oven and waited.

After 45 minutes, it was done, with light cracking across the top of the cake. It didn’t rise as evenly as I’d hoped, and I think I’d try baking this in a smaller dish next time so that it cuts into thicker pieces. The cake retained the flavors I’d tasted in the batter – rich chocolate and a pop of bright citrus – and appealing moistness. With a generous dollop of real whipped cream (sans carrageenan) on top, it’s incredible. And the sauerkraut? You wouldn’t even know it’s in there, but I think it did contribute to the moistness – and you get some extra fiber!

The next time you have a cup of leftover sauerkraut and you’re not sure what to do with it, whip up this easy cake. You’ll thank yourself for doing it.

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