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Whether you’re running to the kitchen or store to snag your German chocolate cake on National German Chocolate Cake Day, June 11, we know you’re celebrating. The traditionally chocolate cake features rich chocolate layers coated in sweet and nutty pecan frosting — but the dessert isn’t actually German! German chocolate cake was named after an English-American named Sam German, creator of a specific baking chocolate at the Baker’s Chocolate Company.
History of National German Chocolate Cake Day
German chocolate cake — the fudge-y, nutty, and oh-so-sweet dessert that we all thought was German! The treat is defined by its rich chocolate cake layers, which are stuck together with coconut-pecan frosting and often topped with maraschino cherries. While many Americans think German chocolate originates from Germany, you’d be hard-pressed to find a German who knows of it.
Sam German, an English-American chocolate-maker for The Baker’s Chocolate Company, first created his distinct variety of dark baking chocolate in 1852. In his honor, the Baker’s Chocolate Company named the creation after him, dubbing it ‘Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate.’ This sets the stage for the culinary invention of German chocolate cake, and explains the origin misnomer!
German chocolate cake wasn’t actually born until around a century later, in 1957. In Dallas, Texas, housewife Mrs. George Clay sent in her cake recipe to be featured as ‘Recipe of the Day’ on “The Dallas Morning News.” She had called it ‘German’s Chocolate Cake’ after the baking chocolate she used. Over time, however, the ‘s’ has been dropped from the recipe.
Unsurprisingly, the recipe took off, spreading mostly through word of mouth. Sales of Baker’s Chocolate reportedly increased 73% in a year as bakers scrambled to make more German chocolate cake. The owner of Baker’s brand, General Foods, began to distribute the cake recipe to other bakers nationwide. Today, many baking companies still make the decadent dessert!
National German Chocolate Cake Day timeline
An essential ingredient for German chocolate cake, chocolate, is invented by Dr. James Baker.
Sam German, a baker at the Baker’s Chocolate Company, first develops a type of dark-chocolate baking chocolate.
A cousin of German chocolate cake, Devil’s food is a kind of chocolate cake created in this year.
After Mrs. George Clay sends her homemade recipe for German chocolate cake to “The Dallas Morning News” and the dessert catches on like wildfire!
While not German chocolate, the world’s longest cake measures over 17,000 feet and is achieved in India in 2020.
National German Chocolate Cake Day FAQs
What is special about German chocolate cake?
German chocolate cake is popular for its distinct, creamy pecan and coconut icing layered between rich, sweet chocolate cake.
Where did German chocolate cake get its name?
German chocolate cake gets its name from a man named Sam German.
Does Walmart have German chocolate cake?
Yes, Walmart sells its own German chocolate cake
How to Observe National German Chocolate Cake Day
Whip up your own German chocolate cake
While it can taste gourmet, inexperienced bakers should have no fear - German chocolate cake isn’t hard to make! Round up friends or family to share the kitchen space with you, and cobble together your own homemade German chocolate cake.
Hold a German chocolate cake taste test
Since your friends are already over to help you bake, employ their taste buds as well! After you make your own, hold a blind taste test with some store-bought ones. The homemade one has got to be the best but, really, you’re all winners because you’re eating German chocolate cake.
Post #GermanChocolateCakeDay on social media
After you’ve created your pecan frosting-drenched masterpiece, be sure to snap a pic for the gram. Your creation might just inspire someone on your feed to make their own version of the dessert!
5 Fun Facts About German Chocolate Cake
German-American or English?
Depending on who you ask, German chocolate cake forefather Sam German was either American or English.
It was once German’s Chocolate Cake
Originally named for the man who created the kind of baking chocolate, ‘German’s Chocolate Cake’ gradually lost the ‘s’ since its invention in the 1950s.
It’s more complicated than average
While regular cake can be simple to make, German chocolate requires eggs to be specifically separated and beaten — the process is a lot more intense!
Germans don’t even know it!
If you order German chocolate cake in Germany, you’re likely to be served little more than a blank stare — an American invention through and through, German chocolate cake isn’t well-known anywhere outside the country.
It took off in Dallas
German chocolate cake isn’t just American, it’s Texan — the recipe for German chocolate cake was an original concoction by a Texas housewife.
Why We Love National German Chocolate Cake Day
It’s chocolate - what’s not to love
Who doesn’t love chocolate? In our opinion, rich, fudgy cake layers are only improved by nutty & sweet pecan and coconut frosting. German chocolate cake is the ultimate indulgence, and we’re grateful there’s a whole holiday to excuse the overeating we plan to do.
It’s an American classic
Contrary to popular belief, German chocolate cake is a great American classic — so much so that it doesn’t even exist in Germany! Celebrate the spirit of American culinary invention, ironically, with a big slice of German chocolate cake.
It gets us in the kitchen!
Of course, it’s easy to just buy a German chocolate cake, but it’s so much more fun to whip one up from scratch! Enlisting some friends or family to help craft the perfect cake is a delicious way to spend the afternoon.
National German Chocolate Cake Day dates