When you hear of a German chocolate cake, your first thought is that Germany is where the cake originated – hence the name. This is one of those food items where the name is a bit deceiving, however. German chocolate cake gets its name from an ingredient it uses: German’s Sweet Chocolate. This chocolate was originated by the Baker’s Chocolate Company (now a subsidiary of Kraft Foods) in the mid 1850s and was named after it’s creator, Sam German. The story of the chocolate says that a misprint in a newspaper that included the recipe for the first German Chocolate Cake simply left out the “s” on the name, and this is why the chocolate is often known simply as “German.” The chocolate is similar to a semisweet chocolate, but has a higher sugar content to it. This means that recipes that use it tend to be a little bit sweeter than ones that don’t.
If you’re making a recipe that calls for German’s chocolate, or German chocolate, don’t worry if you can’t find it. You can substitute semisweet chocolate and still have a great finished product.