by Vesna Vuynovich Kovach
in Madison Magazine, May(?) 2001
German chocolate cake has nothing to do with Germany. It’s simply a recipe made with a sweet chocolate bar developed by Sam German in the 1840s.
Sam worked for Baker’s Chocolate, whose name has nothing to do with baking—Walter Baker, the Massachusetts physician who built America’s first chocolate mill in 1780, co-founded the company.
In 1957, a Dallas newspaper published a recipe for an unusual chocolate layer cake. Spectacularly soft and dense, it was leavened with buttermilk, baking soda, and stiffly beaten egg whites. It was topped and filled with a soft caramel frosting loaded with pecan bits and coconut flakes.
When sales of Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate skyrocketed in that city, General Foods went to Dallas to find out why—then sent the recipe to newspapers around the country.
Today, you’ll find a tear-off card with a scrumptious recipe for “German’s® Sweet Chocolate cake” inside each package of Kraft’s Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate. There’s even a photo of the cake on the front of the box.
Sometimes history hides in plain view.