German Chocolate Cake
is a layered chocolate cake
filled and topped with a coconut
frosting. Sweet baking chocolate
is traditionally used for the chocolate flavor in the actual cake, but few recipes call for it today. The filling or topping is a caramel made with egg yolks and evaporated milk; once the caramel is cooked, coconut and pecans are stirred in.
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 an added touch.
This cake is actually not a traditional German
dessert. The original recipe, for German's Chocolate Cake, was sent by a homemaker in Dallas
to a newspaper in Texas
It used Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate, which was created in 1852
by an Englishman named Samuel German
for the Baker's chocolate brand
. Coconut is also a major baking product of the company.
The cake became quite popular and General Foods — which owned Baker's Chocolate at the time — sent the recipe to other newspapers in the country. Sales of the company are said to have increased by as much as 73%. The apostrophe and the "s" were accidentally dropped in subsequent publications, creating the "German Chocolate Cake" we know today.
It has been suggested that the cake didn't strictly originate from this recipe. Similar buttermilk and chocolate cakes have been popular in the South for over 70 years.
A German chocolate cake, with an outer layer of pecans, is seen in the credits of the video game Portal and a recipe is mentioned throughout the game itself.