American Chocolate Cake and German Influence

Kraft foods spokeswoman Patricia Riso said that the company had used a chocolate bar bearing the brand name “German’s” for its chocolate cake recipe. The bar was developed all the way back in 1952 by Sam German, a confectioner from England who worked for Baker’s Chocolate Company.

Enthusiastic reception

The cake was received enthusiastically, with request after request on where to buy the chocolate bar. In fact, the number of these requests were so great that General Foods (the owner of Baker’s Chocolate) sent pictures of its cake to news outlets up and down the country. The cake received feedback from everywhere the recipe went and sales of the bar skyrocketed so that chocolate lovers could make a particular chocolate cake.

The cake now regularly features in bakeries throughout the U.S. and pre-made mixes appear on grocery shelves. Texans and Southerners have been lapping up buttermilk chocolate cakes for over 100 years. Pecans are also popular in the region.

The perfect chocolate

A German chocolate cake was originally three layers of buttermilk cake with melted German chocolate flavour and with a cocoanut-pecan filling with plenty of evaporated milk and eggs. The cake is sometimes frosted, but sometimes not. It can also be garnished with maraschino cherries and toasted pecan halves.

German chocolate was chosen because before its existence a chocolate bar was very bitter and unsweetened. Chocolatiers wanted a bar that people would want to either eat by itself or use in a recipe to make a wonderfully rich and sweet pastry or cake. So, it’s a lighter and sweeter chocolate.

A solid chocolate bar

Pre-industrial revolution, chocolate was ground and roasted and made into a drink. Through various ways of pressing and fine grinding, individuals could squeeze out the cocoa butter and turn it into a solid bar of chocolate. Much of the chocolate’s bitterness could be removed by using alkali to treat it with. Further, a fine grinding and turning process known as conching would result in the chocolate being emulsified and developing a smooth, rather than gritty, texture.

A German gentleman named Henri Nestlé, who was known for developing a formula designed for babies intolerant of breast milk, assisted Daniel Peter in removing the water from the milk to ensure that the chocolate bar would remain unspoiled. The German cake bears an influence from Nestlé in that it used the entrepreneur’s evaporated milk within the filling.

A little history

As you step into the kitchen to make your very own German Chocolate Cake and begin by picking up your German’s Chocolate Bar, you may just be interested to know some history behind the company. The story is an inspiring one of how German immigrants worked hard in the U.S. to develop this product.

A factory was constructed in 1765 Boston for John Hannon, an Irish Chocolatier. Hannon didn’t have a penny to his name but came to an arrangement with Dr James Baker to finance him. Chocolate was only being made in Europe at that time. Hannon saw a demand and managed to convince Dr Baker that developing a chocolate factory in the new colony that was America would be a success. It turned out he was right.