Â 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.
AllisonJanuary 7, 2010
That is an interesting little fact! I never knew that about German chocolate. I love learning these little baking facts.
LindaJanuary 7, 2010
I learned that about German’s Chocolate Cake some time ago. I have several friends who love that one for a birthday cake. I have to say chocolate and coconut and pecans with some caramelized sugar has a hard time going wrong for me. I love those ingredients together. Even if the paper hadn’t done the misprint, I think it would have evolved to German Chocolate Cake. Just rolls off the tongue easier than German’s Chocolate Cake. I’ve used the semisweet in a pinch and it works fine but I think the sweet chocolate balances better if available. I’m not that crazy about most of Baker’s baking chocolate–it seems a little grainy or chalky to me but the german variety works great.
KathrynJanuary 7, 2010
I never knew that – very interesting and informative. Thanks for sharing this with us!
Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes)January 15, 2010
Thanks for this post! I’ve ALWAYS wondered about this!
JoanneFebruary 20, 2010
I have made the a German Sweet Chocolate cake that my grandmother made since I was born in 1942. She called it a Philadelphia Red Cake. She usedf the german chocolate in it. Bakers has a german choc. receipe in their box that is somewhat similar but not. My feeling is that the bar got smaller recently, and when I made it yesterday it was not as rich. Did this bar get smaller? and if so how big was the original bar? I remember it was also in a paper wrapper at one time instead of the box. This has been a huge family favorite for years.
Noreen EdgeDecember 14, 2012
Can German Chocolate be used in the truffle recipe or is it too sweet?
rosalind morganJuly 21, 2013
Recently I purchased a Bakers German Chocolate Baking Bar. The unique flavor has decreased and it almost taste like any other Baking bar. I am looking for another bar with more of the Sam German chocolate taste. Can anyone help me.
NatashaApril 20, 2014
I always thought “German Chocolate Cake” was from Germany! Sometimes you’ve got to dig deeper than the ground your given.
Barbara WensonOctober 3, 2016
Looking for Baker’s German sweet chocolate bars. What stores carry it because, Shaw’s & Stop & Shop don’t have it. What about Market Basket or Big Y, Roche Brothers?
Wayne RobeyDecember 13, 2016
To stop some confusion. The original Baker’s German’s sweet chocolate cake recipe from 40 or more years ago states that the size of the bar has not changed. The first item of ingredients is —- “1 bar (4 oz) Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate” —- The size of the bar has not changed!