German chocolate cake

German chocolate cake

A German chocolate cake
Alternative names German's chocolate cake
Type Layer cake
Place of origin United States
Main ingredients Chocolate cake, icing (egg yolks, evaporated milk, coconut and pecan)

German chocolate cake, originally German's chocolate cake, is a layered chocolate cake from the United States filled and topped with a coconut-pecan frosting. It owes its name to an English-American chocolate maker named Samuel German, who developed a formulation of dark baking chocolate that came to be used in the cake recipe. Sweet baking chocolate is traditionally used for the chocolate flavor in the actual cake, but few recipes call for it today. The filling and/or topping is a caramel made with egg yolks and evaporated milk; once the caramel is cooked, coconut and pecans are stirred in.[1] Occasionally, a chocolate frosting is spread on the sides of the cake and piped around the circumference of the layers to hold in the filling. Maraschino cherries are occasionally added as a garnish.


Contrary to popular belief, German chocolate cake did not originate in Germany. Its roots can be traced back to 1852 when American Samuel German developed a type of dark baking chocolate for the American Baker's Chocolate Company. The brand name of the product, Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate, was named in honor of him.[2]

On June 3, 1957, a recipe for "German's Chocolate Cake" appeared as the "Recipe of the Day" in the Dallas Morning Star.[3] It was created by Mrs. George Clay, a homemaker from 3831 Academy Drive, Dallas, Texas.[3] This recipe used the baking chocolate introduced 105 years prior and became quite popular. General Foods, which owned the Baker's brand at the time, took notice and distributed the cake recipe to other newspapers in the country. Sales of Baker's Chocolate are said to have increased by as much as 73% and the cake would become a national staple. The possessive form (German's) was dropped in subsequent publications, forming the "German Chocolate Cake" identity and giving the false impression of a German origin.[4][5][2]

The recipe still remains popular to this day and has been adopted by baking companies.

June 11 is National German Chocolate Cake Day in America.[6]

See also


  1. Elizabeth McWhorter. "German Chocolate Cake recipe". My Home Cooking. Archived from the original on 2010-05-15. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  2. 1 2 "Germanely Chocolate Cake". Snopes. February 21, 2007. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  3. 1 2 Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell (2009). The Baker Chocolate Company: A Sweet History. Charleston, SC: History Press. ISBN 9781596293533. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  4. "Is German Chocolate Cake Really German?". Kitchen Project. 30 May 2007. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  5. Linda Stradley (2007). "German Chocolate Cake - History of German Chocolate Cake". Whats Cooking America. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  6. "American Food Holidays". State Symbols USA. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
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