Posts Tagged ‘Cake history’

Is German Chocolate Cake Really German?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

German Chocolate CakeNo. But the real reason for its name may surprise you.

There’s no getting around it — German Chocolate Cake did not originate in Germany. This is a common misconception. But the real story is actually pretty interesting.

Here’s what happened…

In 1852, an American named Sam German developed a sweet baking chocolate for Baker’s Chocolate Company. Neither Sam nor Baker’s were German. The company went on to name the product Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate, after its creator.

It wasn’t until over a hundred years later that the next part of the story developed.

On June 3, 1957, the Dallas Morning Star printed a “Recipe of the Day,” created by a homemaker named Mrs. George Clay, called “German’s Chocolate Cake.” The recipe called for the chocolate Sam German developed 105 years prior, and it became a huge hit.

The making of a national staple

The recipe for German’s Chocolate Cake was so popular that General Foods, which owned the Baker’s brand at the time, took notice. The company distributed the recipe to other newspapers in the US and sales for the chocolate skyrocketed!

Over the years, the cake became a national staple and today even has its own national holiday on June 11.

Eventually the possessive form (German’s) was dropped, making it “German Chocolate Cake.”

And there you have it — German Chocolate Cake isn’t German at all. It’s just named after the guy who developed the chocolate that was later used in a popular recipe.

Now, to complete your research, might we suggest ordering a German Chocolate Cake? You should always check your sources ;)

Who Made the First Cake?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

It’s no secret that we LOVE cake! But we were pretty surprised when we found out where cake actually came from.

The truth is, nobody really knows who invented the first cake. Bummer, right? It would be nice to know exactly who to thank for humankind’s tastiest achievement.

But that’s history for you. Most foods weren’t invented spontaneously but grew out of need, desire, the availability of resources, cultural attitudes, and other countless factors.

What we do know is that cake, as we know it today, probably evolved from bread. The two share a lot of overlapping history, which makes it tough to pinpoint any specific origin.

Bake Like an Egyptian

As far as food historians know, the Egyptians were likely one of the first cultures to sweeten bread with honey. These honey-sweetened loaves were flat and dense and were most likely served as a treat. But really it was still just bread.

The modern cake is light and airy thanks to leavening agents, which the Egyptians still didn’t have.

Not until the Romans did we start adding yeast to sweetened bread to make it more tender and soft.

Roman Colosseum Whip It Good

We can thank the Italians in the 16th century for ditching the yeast for whipped eggs and butter as a leavening agent — now we’re talking cake!

The problem was, while whipped eggs and butter made for a lighter cake, it was an extremely time-consuming process.

The introduction of bicarbonate soda and baking powder in the 1800s is what really pushed cake production into full gear.

And the Winner Is…

As much as we’d like to crown a hero for the invention of cake, we can see that cake has a complicated past. We know it started as bread and evolved out of hundreds of years of trial and error. And, as far as we can tell, the Egyptians, Romans, and Italians played significant roles in its creation.

But, ultimately, there is no one person or culture to thank for that scrumptious treat we call cake.

And, you know what? That’s okay. We’re just glad we have it!

Photo Credit: CC Images Courtesy of upyernoz and Ton Nolleos