Is the German Chocolate Cake Actually German?

By Phineas Upham

The rich frosting, studded with coconut, and the deliciously moist cake. Is there anything better than German chocolate cake? To those who have not had this delicious piece of cake, it offers some interesting flavor you can’t get in a standard chocolate cake. Dark baking chocolate is often used, so the pecan coconut frosting helps to cut the bite of the dark cocoa.

Sometimes the cake is frosted only on the top, other times it receives a generous portion of chocolate frosting all around its edges. If this sounds uniquely American in sweetness, that’s because it is. The cake owes its namesake to the man who invented it, Sam German. At the time, he sold it as German’s Chocolate cake to try and brand it. The branding stuck, but perhaps not in the way he had intended.
German made the cake in 1852, and it appeared in the Dallas Star more than a century later as a “Recipe of the Day.” He worked with Baker’s brand chocolate, which manufactures baking chocolate, to make a special blend of dark chocolate that he used to make his cakes. He formed something of a partnership with Baker’s, and they named their German’s Sweet Chocolate after him to honor his contribution to dessert making.

Today, German chocolate cake is available in almost every bakery on any given street. It’s a popular recipe that inspired a national German Chocolate Cake Day, which occurs annually on June 11th. This June, order yourself a slice and indulge.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.

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