In 1852, an Anglo-American baker named Samuel German invented a baking chocolate that incorporated more sugar than traditional semi-sweet baking chocolates. The recipe was sold to the Baker’s Chocolate Company for $1,000.
A century later, German chocolate became the basis of Mrs. George Clay’s cake – German Chocolate Cake. Clay sent the recipe to the Dallas Morning News where it appeared as “the recipe of the day” on June 3, 1957.
General Foods, the parent company of the Baker’s Chocolate brand, distributed the recipe to other newspapers across America. Sales of German chocolate are up 73% at Baker’s Chocolate Company, according to NPR.
The German’s chocolate cake recipe became an American staple and over time the possessive “s” in the name of the recipe was left out, creating a misconception about the national origin of the dessert.
Although German chocolate cake is a misleadingly titled American invention, Dr. Judith Martin of the Missouri State Department of Modern and Classical Languages has described authentic German confectionery.
Some popular cakes well known to Germans include apple cake or “Apfelkuchen”. The “Bienenstich” or “bee sting cake” is a cream-filled cake with a filling made from honey and almonds. Then finally, “Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte”, which means “Black Forest cake”.
“The last is really a classic German cake, although it tends to be found more in cafes that make fancy tortes than baked at home,” Martin said.
You can find more information about German desserts at GermanFoods.org. The original German chocolate cake recipe can be found on KitchenProject.com, along with the culinary history that may have inspired the popular dessert.
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