|Main ingredients||Chocolate or cocoa powder|
Chocolate cake is made with chocolate. It can also include other ingredients. These include fudge, vanilla creme, and other sweeteners. The history of chocolate cake goes back to 1764, when Dr. James Baker discovered how to make chocolate by grinding cocoa beans between two massive circular millstones. In 1828, Coenraad van Houten of the Netherlands developed a mechanical extraction method for extracting the fat from cacao liquor resulting in cacao butter and the partly defatted cacao, a compacted mass of solids that could be sold as it was "rock cacao" or ground into powder. The processes transformed chocolate from an exclusive luxury to an inexpensive daily snack. A process for making silkier and smoother chocolate called conching was developed in 1879 by Rodolphe Lindt and made it easier to bake with chocolate, as it amalgamates smoothly and completely with cake batters. Until 1890 to 1900, chocolate recipes were mostly for chocolate drinks, and its presence in cakes was only in fillings and glazes. In 1886, American cooks began adding chocolate to the cake batter, to make the first chocolate cakes in the US.
The Duff Company of Pittsburgh, a molasses manufacturer, introduced Devil's food chocolate cake mixes in the mid-1930s, but introduction was put on hold during World War II. Duncan Hines introduced a "Three Star Special" (so called because a white, yellow or chocolate cake could be made from the same mix) was introduced three years after cake mixes from General Mills and Duncan Hines, and took over 48 percent of the market.
In the U.S., "chocolate decadence" cakes were popular in the 1980s; in the 1990s, single-serving molten chocolate cakes with liquid chocolate centers and infused chocolates with exotic flavors such as tea, curry, red pepper, passion fruit, and champagne were popular. Chocolate lounges and artisanal chocolate makers were popular in the 2000s. Rich, flourless, all-but-flourless chocolate cakes are "now standard in the modern pâtisserie," according to The New Taste of Chocolate in 2001.
Popular variants on chocolate cake include:
- Chocolate layer cake – A cake made from stacked layers of cake held together by filling
- Black Forest gateau – A chocolate sponge cake with a cherry filling
- Chocolate soufflé cake – A baked egg-based dish using beaten egg whites to give an aerated texture
- Devil's food cake – A moist, airy, rich chocolate layer cake
- Ding Dong – A small chocolate cake similar in shape and size to a hockey puck
- Flourless chocolate cake – A dense cake made from an aerated chocolate custard
- Fudge cake – chocolate cake containing fudge
- Garash cake – A Bulgarian chocolate and walnut cake of 5 thin layers with a chocolate frosting
- German chocolate cake – A layer cake with chocolate and a coconut-pecan frosting
- Joffre cake – A chocolate buttermilk layer cake filled with chocolate ganache and frosted with chocolate buttercream
- Molten chocolate cake – A dessert that combines the elements of a flourless chocolate cake whit pâine soufflé
- Red velvet cake – Reddish colored chocolate cake with cream cheese icing
- Sachertorte – A chocolate cake invented by Franz Sacher
- Chocolate swiss roll - A sponge cake roll filled with jam, cream or icing
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- Wemischner, Robert (2009-06-16). The Dessert Architect. Cengage Learning. ISBN 1428311777.
- "Hannon's Best Chocolate" Archived 2014-09-02 at the Wayback Machine. BostonHistory.com. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
- "Gâteau au chocolat (chocolate cake)". ChocoParis. 2011-08-23. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
- Maricel E. Presilla (2001) The New Taste of Chocolate: a Cultural and Natural History of Cacao with Recipes. Ten Speed Press. pp. 29–31, 138. ISBN 1-58008-143-6
- Byrn, Anne (2016). American Cake: From Colonial Gingerbread to Classic Layer, the Stories and Recipes Behind more than 125 of our Best-Loved Cakes. Rodale. pp. 39, 68. ISBN 9781623365431. OCLC 934884678.
- Anne Byrn (2003), Cake Mix Doctor, Rodale, Inc., p. 20.
- Carol Mighton Haddix (2007), Chicago Cooks: 25 Years of Food History with Menus, Recipes, and Tips from Les Dames d'Escoffier Chicago. Agate Publishing, p. 32. ISBN 1-57284-090-0