Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake And Tower Kitchen Recipe Cookbooks

Posted on Nov 16 2011 - 6:00am by RetroRuth

So, you have to tell me the truth.

Does this piece of cake:


Look like it has sauerkraut in it?

Does it?

Well, it DOES because this week we have  Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake from Recipes from the Tower Kitchen!

Recipes From The Tower Kitchen

Since 1933, when Tower Kitchen opened atop the Free Press Building, its food experts have been helping Michigan women make good things to eat.

Cooking methods have changed in the past 40 years and so has the location of Tower Kitchen – it’s now on the 4th floor.

But more than ever, homemakers are kept up to date on food innovations and Tower Kitchen recipes are tested and re-tested.

In 1943, when war rationing had housewives scrimping, Tower Kitchen told them how to make the most of the contents of a No.2 can. Fort decades later, home economist Toni Bettisworth shows cooks how to add personal touches to prepared foods.

We have cooked from Recipes from the Tower Kitchen before (Party Casserole and Surprise Rhuberry Kuchen) with great success, so I was pretty excited for this one.

Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake001

And then something a little strange happened. After I had already planned to make this cake for this week’s post, I received an email with a question from a reader about this very cookbook! No joke!

Bobbie writes:

I have the Detroit Free Press book entitled: Recipes from the Tower Kitchen. the explanation About Tower Kitchen prefaces page 2. page 3 lists Table of Contents.
I’d like to know if there are any more of these Recipe Books anywhere or is this one the only one? I got this from my Mom years ago, so I have no info other than the contents of this book.
It look identical to the green one shown at your web page………thanks for you help…….Bobbie


Well Bobbie, thanks for the fun question! And I have good news for you.

Yes, there are other Tower Kitchen books out there! I think these little books were given out periodically (get it?) as free inserts, and there are at least two others that I know of. I saw a different one a few years ago in an antique store, but it was too expensive for me to add it to my collection. Sadly, I didn’t take a picture and I don’t remember the year or the contents.


However, a third one  is available on Flickr in its entirety, which I am very excited about. This one includes recipes AND reader questions answered by Kay Savage, who was an award-winning food critic that wrote for the Detroit Free Press.


If anyone else has copies of any Recipes from the Tower Kitchen cookbooks, let us know! Bobbie and I would like to hear about any other recipe books from this series.

But now, on to the most important thing:


Tasting the cake!


“It tastes like chocolate cake.”


“Yeah. How much sauerkraut did you put in this?”

“A half a cup.”


The Verdict: Very Good! And it makes sense, in a way. I have a lot of red velvet cake recipes that call for vinegar, so the vinegary taste of the sauerkraut wouldn’t be something that would make a cake taste awful, especially because it was rinsed well enough that not much of the “juice” remained. However, I wasn’t expecting the sauerkraut to disappear in the cake. I thought it would hang out and be chewy. But it just dissolved. Overall, a neat recipe.

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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10 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. ae November 16, 2011 at 8:42 am - Reply

    Brings back memories. Had this years ago and remember it being very moist and good. Of course, all that chocolate frosting on top helps, too!

    • RetroRuth November 16, 2011 at 9:01 am - Reply

      Yup! Totallly!

  2. Desirae November 16, 2011 at 9:30 am - Reply

    Though not as strange sounding, I have a carrot cake recipe that calls for crush pineapple. I was a bit hesitant at first, but made it anyway. It was the best carrot cake I had. The pineapple made it very moist. I couldn’t taste the “extra” ingredient at all. I would assume that the saurkraut in your recipe had the same similar effect. : )

  3. Sara In AZ November 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    Wow, awesome! I will totally have to put this one on the ‘to do’ list! 🙂

  4. Megan November 16, 2011 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    Wow, I really wish someone would make a downloadable font from the wonderful lettering on the cover! The contrast is so great.

  5. Retrochef November 17, 2011 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    I’m not surprised either that the vinegar worked well, but I didn’t expect the cabbage to dissolve! Awesome discovery. And chockfull of vegetal vitamin goodness 😉

    • RetroRuth November 21, 2011 at 4:15 pm - Reply

      Yep! Gotta work in that vegetal vitamin goodness wherever we can!

  6. aruvqan February 16, 2012 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    Uncle Phaedrus [ ] might have the other Tower booklets, or perhaps even other variants of the recipes you play with. His site is my go to for old recipes from the 1900-2000 century.

  7. Donna September 23, 2017 at 10:20 am - Reply

    I remember when I was learning how to bake and came across this recipe. I’ve since lost it but will make it again now! Thanks for posting it.

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