Friday, February 22, 2008

Cake Day No.5

February 22

‘Sauerkraut Cake’ sounds like some sort of sick joke, but it is very real indeed. It came about in the 1960’s as a result of the USDA Surplus Committee’s request (specifically to school lunchroom managers) for ideas to use up a large quantity of stockpiled canned sauerkraut. You have to admit - to think of cake in the same context as fermented cabbage would take a particular type of mind. The honor apparently went to Mrs. Geraldine Timms, supervisor of the lunchroom at Waller High School in Chicago. There is not much variation between the versions in the newspapers of the time. Here is one of them:

Sauerkraut Cake.
2 ¼ cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
⅔ cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup water
2/3 cup rinsed, drained, and chopped sauerkraut.
Grease and flour two 8 inch round cake pans.
On wax paper sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa.
In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar. Thoroughly beat in eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients in 4 additions, alternately with water, until smooth each time; begin and end with dry ingredients. Stir in sauerkraut. Turn into prepared pans.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree F (180 C) oven until cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean – 30 minutes. Place on wire rack to cool completelty. Fill and frost with Mocha Whipped Cream. Store in refrigerator.

I guess that recipe just goes to prove that everything is better with chocolate!

By the 1970’s, a cake with beetroot sounded quite tame. There were many variations on this theme - many with chocolate, but this one brave enough to not include the brown wonder food, but amazingly brave enough to include cottage cheese.

Beet Cake.
1 cup oil
½ cup margarine
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup drained crushed pineapple
1 cup diced harvard beets, undrained
¼ cup cottage cheese
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup coconut
2 teaspoons vanilla
Melt together oil and margarine. Beat eggs and sugar, add oil. Mix and beat well. Add flour, cinnamon, soda, baking powder and salt which has been sifted together. Fold in pineapple, beets, cottage cheese, walnuts, coconut and vanilla. Bake in a greased and floured 9 x 13 inch pan at 350 degrees F (180 C) until cake tests done, about 45 to 50 minutes. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting.
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened.
¼ cup margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts.
Combine all ingredients, blend well.

P.S. Tomato soup cake is HERE.

P.P.S There are many more recipes, cakes and otherwise, in the Recipe Archive.

Monday’s Story ...

A Slave for Leftovers.

Quotation for the Day ...

An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. H.L. Mencken


Lidian said...

Oh, what a splendid blog you write! I found you via Culinary Types - I adore retro recipes and would love to participate in your week of retro cakes - I will post a cake recipe tomorrow and link you, too.

I am at

I look forward to catching up with your archives - Cheers, Lidian

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Ha! The grand finale to the Week of Cakes! Would you believe I just opened a package of sauerkraut this week - for dinner of course, not dessert. I guess I let the gumdrops cloud my vision ... this cake was just featured in America's Best Lost Recipes, but who knew a lunchroom administrator was the genius behind it all?

Lidian said...

I have done a retro cake post and linked you and T.W. as my inspirations -

The Old Foodie said...

Hello Lidian - thanks for visiting - now I have found your blog on Retro Food I'll be visiting often.