“Surprise” German Chocolate Cake | The Daily Dish

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“Surprise” German Chocolate Cake

12 Comments | Written on March 23, 2011 at 5:00 am , by

Take a good, hard look at that photo.  Just a typical German Chocolate Cake, right?  Think again…  This recipe has a top secret ingredient!  I recently made this cake for a party and didn’t tell anyone the surprise twist for dessert.  Everyone was wagering a guess:  from cinnamon to chopped apples to baby food!  I smirked, knowing all their jaws would drop when I revealed the secret….

german cake whole

The unique ingredient inside this German Chocolate Cake – sauerkraut!  To tell you the truth, after I made the cake I was a little nervous to take that first bite.  I had no idea if the fermented cabbage would ruin a perfectly good dessert.  You have to believe me when I tell you it was outstanding!  You couldn’t taste the sauerkraut at all and, in fact, it gave the cake a wonderful texture.  The key is to rinse the sauerkraut thoroughly and chop it finely.  All of the guests at the party were thrilled when the secret was revealed and couldn’t believe their taste buds.  I actually enjoyed this recipe so much it made me wonder why I would ever make a German Chocolate Cake without sauerkraut!  Give it a try and see if you can stump your friends and family too!

german cake slice

SURPRISE GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE  (click here to view and print recipe)


2/3 cup butter

1 1/3 cups white sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups water

2/3 cup rinsed, drained and chopped sauerkraut


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans or one 9 x 13 pan.

2.  Thoroughly cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

3.  Sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, soda, and salt, and add alternately with water to egg mixture. Stir in the sauerkraut. Pour batter into prepared pans.

4.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean.  Cool completely and frost (recipe follows).

German Chocolate Cake Frosting

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup brown sugar

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans

1 1/3 cups flaked coconut

In a large saucepan combine evaporated milk, brown sugar, egg yolks, butter and vanilla. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and stir in pecans and coconut. Let cool to room temperature before spreading on cake.

12 Responses to ““Surprise” German Chocolate Cake”

  • 1
    Martha Jones says:

    My mother made a cake with sauekraut which was labled “Sauekraut Cake”. It was great and everyone thought it was coconut instead of sauekraut. It is a great cake. Very moist. She just used a cream cheese frosting instead of the German Chocolate frosting.

  • 2
    peggy says:

    it is a original German chocolate cake! my family has been making them for over 100 yrs

  • 3
    Elizabeth says:

    Me encanto esta receta, espero hacerla pronto se me avecinan 2 cumpleaños.

  • 4
    Sabine says:

    Hey I’ve been living my whole life since 44 years in Germany and I’m sorry to tell you: this is not a german cake only becauae it is with sauerkraut. Noone in my family has ever heard of something like this. And by the way, we are not eating sauerkraut every second day anyway!!!

    • Kathleen Wood-Kaiser says:

      This isn’t a German recipe. German chocolate cake has that name because a man with the last name of “German” developed a special sort of chocolate in the USA. I don’t know what the difference is, but it’s milder tasting chocolate. The cake always has the coconut &pecan icing.

    • Pat says:

      I agree. I have spent my whole life in germany (except the last 10 years) and nobody I know of has ever heard of using sauerkraut in a cake recipe. We don’t eat hot potato salad either (well unless you count stealing it from the bowl while my mother is fixing it and getting our hands slapped for our trouble).

  • 5
    Sabine says:

    Hey I’ve been living my whole life since 44 years in Germany and I’m sorry to tell you: this is not a german cake only because it is with sauerkraut. Noone in my family has ever heard of something like this. And by the way, we are not eating sauerkraut every second day anyway!!!

  • 6
    Linda says:

    This recipe is almost identical to one I found and tried twenty-some years ago. That one was a hit with family and friends. I want to try this one, though, mainly because it also includes a recipe for the kind of frosting I most like with German chocolate cake. Thank you!

  • 7
    Starla says:

    I think if you want to label it as German Chocolate cake then that is your right to do so. I will be making this when we are able to on the Southbeach diet again.Thanks for sharing.

  • 8
    Mickey says:

    Kudos to the originator of this recipe for this site! Wooo Hooo. I did notice that 1 person said the German Chocolate cake was created by a man named German in the US. It went undisputed. So I am guessing that is correct. But think. Wouldn’t it be a boring world if we ate the same recipes our families created hundreds of years ago? So Kudos to those who create, improve to their tastes!!!! Insofar as hot potato salad? my friend of over 20 years married a man born in Germany and visited every other year…his mother passed several recipes to her, including…you guessed it! Hot potato salad. So not everyone eats the same dishes, families pass on their favorites, so just b/c your family didn’t, doesn’t mean the family in the next county over didn’t! Can’t wait to try it. Personally, I enjoy the German Chocolate Cheese Cake…sure it is NOT the original, but a fabulous variation of it. Wishing all the joys of cooking and creating…Try something new to tempt the palate. You might be suruprised!

  • 9
    Janice Spreng says:

    I would love to try this cake, but there are no directions for high altitude. Any suggestions?

  • 10

    i’ve had similar cake before and loved it:) I am also loving beetroots in chocolate bakes. Have you tried them?

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