German Chocolate Cake History


German Chocolate Cake is an American creation that contains the key ingredients of sweet baking chocolate, coconut, and pecans. This cake was not brought to the American Midwest by German immigrants. The cake took its name from an American with the last name of  “German.”  In most recipes and products today, the apostrophe and the “s” have been dropped, thus giving the false hint as for the chocolate’s origin.

June 11th is National German Chocolate Cake Day in America.


German Chocolate Cake

Photo from Carol’s Creative Confections


1852 – Sam German (1802-1888) created the mild dark baking chocolate bar for Baker’s Chocolate Company in 1852.  The company named the chocolate in his honor – “Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate.”


1957 -The first published recipe for German’s chocolate cake showed up in a Dallas Morning Star newspaper on June 13, 1957 as Recipe of the Day.  The recipe came from a Texas homemaker, Mrs. George Calay.  The cake quickly gained popularity and its recipe together with the mouth-watering photos were spread all over the country.  America fell in love with German Chocolate Cake.

The possessive form (German’s) was dropped in subsequent publications, thus creating the name German Chocolate Cake that we know today and giving the false impression of a German origin.




Food History    Historical Cakes   

Comments and Reviews

6 Responses to “German Chocolate Cake History”

  1. Diana

    My DIL favorite cake is German Chocolate cake. It would be so nice to see Mrs. Calay’s recipe added to this page, thank you!

  2. Anna M.

    This looks delicious, thanks for giving me details, Happy German Chocolate Cake Day to ALL!

  3. Diana Trimble

    Thanks so much for posting this information and links! I was asked to make a German Chocolate Cake for someone’s birthday and remarked that it was funny but I never saw such a cake in all the time I spent in Germany. I am a researcher by nature and so I decided to get to the bottom of the recipe’s origins before I baked it. I will now be able to dazzle my cake-eaters with not only a great cake, but an interesting story! Thank you!

  4. james averill

    My fav. cake and look for it every time I want cake. I always thought the name implied a German origin and was surprised a fellow with that last name conceived of it way back when.


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