Many of my friends and colleagues over the years have questioned the absence of “German Chocolate Cake” at the many German events they attend. I would like to once and for-all quell the misconception that this cake has anything to do with Germans.
In 1780 Dr. John Baker began producing solid cakes of chocolate, used for making sweetened chocolate drinks, in Massachusetts. By 1849, sales of Baker’s Chocolate had spread from the Northeastern United States all the way to California, during the United States Gold Rush. Only one kind of chocolate was sold until 1852 when employee Samuel German, an American, created a mild dark chocolate higher in sugar content. This chocolate was called “German’s Sweet Chocolate,” in honor of the inventor.
In 1957 the first published recipe for German’s chocolate cake, submitted by a Texas homemaker, showed up in a Dallas newspaper. It quickly gained popularity as Americans fell in love with this rich mouth-watering cake containing “German’s Sweet Chocolate” covered with a coconut and pecan frosting. In most recipes the apostrophe and the “s” have been dropped, thus giving a false illusion of the chocolate cake’s origin.
Cake image by Tracy Hunter