The Engel family German tradition meets the dry Irish humor of the Conroy family in this melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake recipe. We loved to watch our guests gape in surprise when the secret ingredient was revealed.

Grease and flour two 8-inch baking pans. Set aside. Set oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sift together:
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup rinsed, drained and chopped sauerkraut (do not be tempted to squeeze the sauerkraut dry)

(Photo: hepp/ Flickr)

Add to the sauerkraut:
  • 3 lightly beaten egg yolks
  • 1 cup water, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups refined sugar, or 3/4 cup fruit sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature
Rising agent mixture:
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (stirred together)

To the creamed mixture, beat through alternate additions of the yolk-sauerkraut-water mixture with the flour mixture. Do not allow water to come into direct contact with the flour. Do not overbeat. Carefully but thoroughly fold in the rising agent. Pour the batter into the pans, coasing it evenly into place with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes.

Mocha Whipped Cream Frosting

Whip 1 1/2 cups heavy cream with all of the following:

  • 3 tablespoons sugar (allow the sugar to completely dissolve into the cream before whipping)
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee (Medaglia D’Oro instant espresso is best but Folgers will do)
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons rum

You may wish to brush the cake with coffee liqueur before frosting.

From Carole Engel, a listener in Portland, Oregon