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German chocolate cake

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
German chocolate cake
A German chocolate cake
Alternative namesGerman's chocolate cake
TypeLayer cake
Place of originUnited States
Region or stateTexas
Created byMrs. George Clay
Main ingredientsChocolate cake, icing (egg yolks, evaporated milk, coconut and pecan)

German chocolate cake, originally German's chocolate cake, is a layered chocolate cake filled and topped with a coconut-pecan frosting. Originating in the United States, it was named after English-American chocolate maker 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 cake's flavor, but few recipes call for it today. The filling and/or topping is a custard made with egg yolks and evaporated milk; once the custard 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.


In 1957, a recipe for "German's Chocolate Cake" appeared as the "Recipe of the Day" in The Dallas Morning News.[2] It was created by Mrs. George Clay, a homemaker from Dallas, Texas,[2] and used the "German's Sweet Chocolate" baking chocolate introduced in 1853 by American baker Samuel German for the Baker's Chocolate Company.[3] A similar recipe by food conservationist Jackie Huffines had previously been featured on television.[2] 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][3]


Chantilly cake in Hawaii

Popular throughout Hawaii is the Chantilly cake, a modified German chocolate cake without coconut or nuts in its frosting, although it is occasionally topped with macadamia nuts. Otherwise, recipes between German chocolate cake and Chantilly cake are nearly identical.[6][7] This frosting, also known as "Chantilly," can also be applied on cream puffs.[8] Despite its name, it does not contain Chantilly cream.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • "Celebrating Not-So-German Chocolate Cake" (Audio with transcript). NPR All Things Considered. 23 Jun 2007.


  1. ^ Elizabeth McWhorter. "German Chocolate Cake recipe". My Home Cooking. Archived from the original on 2010-05-15. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell (2009). The Baker Chocolate Company: A Sweet History. Charleston, SC: History Press. p. 81. ISBN 9781596293533. Retrieved 1 March 2013. george clay chocolate.
  3. ^ a b "Germanely Chocolate Cake". Snopes. February 21, 2007. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  4. ^ "Is German Chocolate Cake Really German?". Kitchen Project. 30 May 2007. Archived from the original on 12 November 2020. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  5. ^ Linda Stradley (2007). "German Chocolate Cake - History of German Chocolate Cake". Whats Cooking America. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  6. ^ Shimabukuro, Betty (6 June 2001). "Yummy chantilly frosting requires real butter and a double boiler". archives.starbulletin.com. Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 23 September 2023.
  7. ^ Tom, Lynette Lo (20 January 2021). "Back in the Day: A Maui baker has perfected the luscious, buttery frosting for chantilly cake". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 23 September 2023.
  8. ^ Chan, Kathy YL (25 October 2017). "9 Must Eat Hawai'i Desserts". Eater. Retrieved 23 September 2023.