Bringing German Chocolate Cake to the Forefront

Back in August 2008, after mentioning that German Chocolate Cake wasn’t German but rather Texan in origin and named after a chocolate company executive, I went on a German Chocolate Cake baking spree.

First, I looked at the German Chocolate Cake recipe from Kraft – who now owns German’s Sweet chocolate. I could have done things the easy way and started with their back-of-the-box version, but they’ve changed it in the past 10 years and while it’s easier to make (no egg white folding), it’s different than the one my grandmother made. So rather than make the convenient version first, I looked for a recipe from someone who seemed informed on the subject (my grandma’s dead) and chose this recipe, which had a pictorial. It looked good and was almost identical to a recipe by an authority on the subject, Jean Anderson, who wrote about it in the American Century Cookbook.

The cake was delicious, but a little too sweet for my tastes, so I decided to try another recipe. Several people recommended a Cooks Illustrated version posted on David Leite’s site, so I tried that one next. It was excellent, but not really like the cake I grew up on in Texas. Along with missing the buttermilk flavor, I also wondered if a cake without German’s Chocolate could really be considered German Chocolate Cake. Well, sure it could. But it didn’t seem right even though the CI cake is terrifc.  Incidentally, the German Chocolate Cake served at Gramery Tavern is **INCREDIBLE**  but nothing like the original, either.  Sometimes I like to try to stay close to the original.

Cake number 3, my final version and one that turned out to be a hit at a potluck, was the traditional version (the one I made first from the site with the pictures), but with changes I thought would improve it such as

1. the subtraction of sugar
2. the addition of a little cocoa powder and
3. an increase in the amount of salt.

The third cake was wonderful, but I haven’t made it since and am posting this because a) I’ve been craving German Chocolate Cake and might try another one on Friday and b) I noticed all of my German Chocolate Cake recipe were never indexed here on Cookie Madness but rather buried in uncategorized archives where only the intrepid German Chocolate Cake web searchers  would find them.

So if you’re thinking about a holiday cake and German Chocolate sounds good, there are four links within this post to try – Kraft’s recipe, A traditional and Sweet version from a site with a pictorial, Cooks Illustrated’s version as posted on David Leite’s site, and my final version which was a reduced sugar, increased unsweetened chocolate (in the form of cocoa powder) version of the one from the pictorial.

I’m hoping by this weekend I have a new one.

Related posts:


  1. Louise says

    I have an upside down German Chocolate Cake recipe from the 27th Pillsbury Bake-Off. I’ve made it occasionally for almost 30 years. It’s a sheet cake and is great to take to office parties and the like. Since it’s upside down everything goes in one pan and when the cake is baked and cooled, you are done. I’ll probably have to scan the recipe or retype it but it has an excellent taste. Marshmallows and brown sugar with the coconut and chopped nuts make the appropriate goo on the bottom. And it uses German sweet chocolate and sour cream in the cake.

  2. says

    Can’t wait to read about what you come up with. When I was in h.s. (a long time ago) our German teacher used to make two German Chocolate Cakes for every bake sale at school. They always went for $12-$16 which was a lot in the seventies. They were the best, and I’ve never had German chocolate cake that good again. Mine are always a little disappointing to the point that I don’t even try anymore, although I did make the inside out German chocolate cake from Epicurious and it was fantastic although completely different.

  3. says

    Amazing timing! I am planning on a new version of German Chocolate Cake this weekend! My husband and I were standing at a checkout and I was flipping through a food magazine, and we saw a photo of Paula Deen’s German Chocolate Cake. She had added dark chocolate ganache frosting to the cake, and it looked fabulous. My husband not so subtly hinted that he would like some of that cake, but would prefer it less sweet (Paula’s desserts tend to be too sweet for our tastes). I’ve decided to create a vegan version, including using coconut milk instead of cream for the ganache. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with too!

  4. CindyD says

    How funny! I was just looking for German Chocolate cake mix at the grocery, because my daughter has a recipe for cream cheese cake mix cookies that she wants to try with GC cake mix – the Fry’s (Krogers here in AZ) didn’t have any.
    I also have a recipe for German Chocolate brownies somewhere in my recipe folders that I remember as being very good.

  5. says

    @Sue–I feel the same way about Black Forest cake–I had a favorite version as a kid, and never found one that was the same. I wonder if lots of these ‘name’ cakes with kind of undefined profiles (Black Forest cake, Hummingbird cake, GCC, even carrot cake) get tweaked so many times what we fall in love with first isn’t remotely like the ‘real’ thing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *