German chocolate cake was invented in Texas

It may surprise you to learn that German Chocolate Cake is not actually German. (But don’t worry, it’s still very much chocolate and still very much cake.) And it’s also very Texan.

Pecans aren’t historically found in the German diet, but Texans sure love them. Buttermilk — which is mixed with chocolate in the cake — is also a Southern staple. As it turns out, the cake is an American creation, not brought to us from German immigrants as many have thought.

After researching the origins of the cake, every bite and nibble took us back to a recipe that ran in The Dallas Morning News in June 1957 called German Sweet Chocolate Cake.

Mrs. George Clay of Southeast Dallas submitted her recipe to the food pages of our newspaper — Julie Benell’s Recipe of the Day column — using Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate, which still exists today. It was called “German’s” chocolate after Samuel German, who invented the sweetened chocolate while working for Baker’s Chocolate, which was then owned by General Foods. (It’s now owned by Kraft). It’s a chocolate that includes sugar, which provides a shortcut for bakers.

According to What’s Cooking America, the 1957 recipe was picked up by other newspapers across the country, and sales of Baker’s chocolate soared along with the popularity of the cake.

Confusion about the origins of the cake have persisted. In 1963, according to a story in The Dallas Morning News, even President Lyndon B. Johnson served the cake at his Johnson City ranch for a luncheon with German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard. We can’t seem to find any reports on if Chancellor Erhard liked the cake, or if he realized it was erroneously made in honor of his home country.

References:

125 Interesting Facts About Practically Everything – Reader’s Digest. Elizabeth Yuko July 1 2022

https://www.rd.com/list/interesting-facts/

Did you know? The German Chocolate Cake is not actually German, it’s Texan – The Dallas Morning News. Erin Booke May 7th 2018

https://www.dallasnews.com/food/cooking/2018/05/07/did-you-know-the-german-chocolate-cake-is-not-actually-german-it-s-texan/

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