Going through the r / Old_Recipes subreddit, I learned that you really can’t go wrong resurrecting a proven recipe from years past.
So when I told my stepdad, who would come to my house on his 70th birthday, that he could ask for any type of birthday cake he wanted and that I would find the perfect recipe, I thought so.
The birthday guy’s request? German chocolate cake.
After diving into the rabbit hole r / Old_Recipes, I discovered that another user had appealed for the best German chocolate cake recipes a few months ago. The answer that caught my eye was from Redditor u / BestOfShow32569, Tony Thompson, who collects old recipe boxes and cookbooks and posts them on his website, Vintage Recipes.
Thompson told TODAY Food that he found his recommended German chocolate cake recipe from a collection acquired at an estate in Tennessee that he said belonged to a family named Adkins who lived in Alabama and then Tennessee.
“The name Adkins, as well as an address in Birmingham, appear on a letter stored in the collection. Of course, there is a recipe written on the back of the page,” Thompson said. “Once I started processing the recipes, I found indications that the owner also lived in Tullahoma, Tennessee… The recipe collection appears to contain recipes from the late ’60s to mid’ 80s. “
Although Thompson himself hadn’t tried Adkins’ German Chocolate Cake, I couldn’t wait to try it, so I gathered the ingredients and prepared my kitchen for a try. The recipe calls for shortening and buttermilk in the cake batter, so I expected a chewy and flavorful cake. And the frosting, which includes a stick of margarine and lots of coconut and pecans, seemed like the perfect complement.
When my mother-in-law and I started our prep work, we realized that we knew little about the history of German chocolate cake. After some research on my kitchen island, we learned that the cake is named after the chocolatier who created German chocolate, Samuel German. German created his special chocolate for the Baker’s Chocolate Company in 1852, and in 1957 the Dallas Morning News featured a cake using chocolate, created by a housewife in Texas, as the recipe of the day. Baker’s Chocolate started to circulate the recipe and the rest is chocolate history.
We baked our birthday cake in two round pans, stacking it in layers and frosting it with the coconut cream concoction when it was cold. Although not all German chocolate cakes are served with the sides glazed, I wanted to cover mine. The recipe only made enough frosting for the middle layer and top of the cake, so to save time I took some cream cheese frosting from my pantry to fill it where it was. necessary.
Next time, however, I would double the frosting recipe, both to consistently decorate the cake and because it was so incredibly tasty.
And there will be be next time: The Adkins’ cake was decadent, chewy, and perfectly sweet. My in-laws liked it so much they had it for lunch the next day and then again for dessert that night.
And, like my stepdad, this German chocolate cake only gets better with age.
In the days following our anniversary, the flavors of the cake only intensified, becoming more and more sweet, chewy and chocolatey over time.
Like most vintage recipes, the cake was a lot of work, but making a cake like this from scratch was a fun kitchen project to undertake.
Thompson, who has uploaded nearly 1,500 old recipes from various family collections to his blog, believes it’s this level of effort, combined with the beauty of an old handwritten recipe, that gets people to try vintage recipes. in their modern homes.
“I appreciate these collections as works of art,” said Thompson. “A housewife or housewife spent time writing, typing, or cutting these recipes and organizing them into the system that worked for them… A recipe found and used from a traditional website is handy and effective, but an old recipe that someone took the time to write down has a personality of its own.
“And the fact that someone took the time to write or type a recipe gives the recipe some credibility from the start,” he said.