What’s the coolest food you made in 2012? For me, it is unquestionably this Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake with Coconut Kefir icing. It’s gluten and dairy free and amazingly delicious. Think I’m kidding? Ask my fellow NYC Ferments Meetup-ers.
As someone who used to cook professionally in restaurants it surprises me to now be one of the many people who have dietary restrictions because of various health issues. I used to eat everything! And have one of those stomachs of steel. Now, I sometimes feel like I’m coming out all over again – yes, I’m allergic to dairy, oh, and pork (yes, it’s a weird allergy), and also I don’t eat gluten anymore – thyroid issues. People feel bad for me – no cheese! no bacon! (at least not the pork kind) no more crusty artisanal breads! And sometimes when I walk through the Union Square market past the Martin’s Pretzel stand, I feel bad for myself. But usually I’m too busy making delicious, kick-ass, gluten free, dairy free, pork free food to worry about it.
So, when our NYC Ferments Meetup group had our December meeting and the theme was a holiday party, I knew I was going to try this cake recipe. My friend Meg gave me this recipe a couple of years ago in an awesome business class we were taking together. It’s a recipe from a Weight Watchers brochure for a dark chocolate cake with the secret ingredient of canned sauerkraut. So crazy intriguing, right?
So, being me, and the recipe being from Weight Watchers, I had to do some tweaking. Get rid of the gluten and the dairy, add an egg to give some lift that’s lost when we get rid of the gluten, and definitely not use canned sauerkraut. I also decided to console myself about baking the sauerkraut and killing all the good probiotics by adding a live ferment glaze using my newest fermentation love – coconut kefir.
My new wife, Jane, and I (married last September, woohoo!) discovered coconut kefir while honeymooning on Maui. We bought some at a farmers market there and I kept myself from eating it all so I could bring some home and try to replicate it. Thanks to my good friend, and Meetup co-host, Angela, I’ve found a happy recipe. It’s amazing. For someone who hasn’t eaten dairy in years, it’s like manna from heaven – creamy, tangy, with just a hint of coconut flavor. It’s kind of like sour cream, kind of like yogurt, kind of like clotted cream, all delicious.
Here’s the recipe for the cake as I made it.
Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake with Coconut Kefir Icing
2/3 cup white rice flour
2/3 cup millet flour
2/3 cup buckwheat flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 cups hot water
1/2 cup melted Earth Balance
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 cup sauerkraut, pureed smooth – I used a turmeric chili sauerkraut
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit and grease a bundt pan with the fat of your choice.
Mix together all your flours*, baking soda and cocoa and set aside. Mix the hot water, melted Earth Balance*, and vanilla together and set aside.
In a large mixing boil, beat together the sugar and eggs until they are pale yellow in color and fluffy. Add the wet and dry mixes to the sugar and egg mix, alternating and beginning and ending with wet ingredients.
Fold in the sauerkraut and pour cake mix in the prepared pan.
3 Tablespoons Coconut kefir (or coconut milk if you don’t have coconut kefir available)
1 cup powdered sugar
Mix the coconut kefir and the sugar together to make a glaze and drizzle over the cooled cake. You can make this glaze thicker or thinner by adding more sugar. I did a thinner glaze as a base on my cake and then a thicker glaze for more texture.
*Feel free to substitute a like amount of all purpose flour for the gluten free mix and a like amount of butter for the Earth Balance, and remove the egg for what amounts to the original recipe. I make no guarantees for that one though.