Bring On The Chocolate Cake!

When it comes to celebrating, food plays a critical and cross-cultural role. While it may consist of different cuisine depending on where you go, the meal around which families and friends gather unites the world on common ground. Different food comes to mean different things – a holiday meal, a weekly favorite, or a family recipe. But when it comes to celebrating sweetly – especially in the United States – nothing beats a chocolate cake.

For chocolate cake connoisseurs the preferences are as unique as the people themselves – chocolate cake frosted with vanilla icing, chocolate icing, whip cream, you name it. Each family may have a special recipe handed down from generation to generation or a favorite bakery where the chocolate cake can’t be missed. Today’s ever-increasing popularity of chocolate cake would surely have been a surprise to those who first attempted its creation.

chocolate cranberry cake
Flickr Photo by Tim Pierce

The making of cakes in a general nature began shortly after flour was discovered. The recipe then was much less sweet than it is today – displaying more of a bread-like quality. Initially, added to the flour, were milk and yeast; honey or dried fruit were added to sweeten the mixture. Today, eggs are most often used in place of yeast, and, of course, sugar has become our sweetener of choice. Making cake prior to the Industrial Revolution was a complicated and pricey process. But with the advent of mass produced ingredients, cake making became affordable and easy for all levels of bakers.

Chocolate cake was first seen in the United States, the recipe for which was submitted to a Dallas, Texas newspaper in 1957. This particular recipe called for Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate which is how the chocolate cake received its name. The response to the printed recipe was immediate and astounding.

Today, the variations to this original recipe number into the thousands, with families adding their own special additions throughout the years. The advent of the boxed chocolate cake has given hope to elementary bakers everywhere whose only responsibility is to add egg and oil and bake. Even still, the most delicious of chocolate cake is that which originates in the homes of our families. And regardless of whether the recipe calls for icing, nuts, or a variety of other ingredients, the truth remains that chocolate cake is just as popular as ever, starring in birthday parties and celebrations throughout the world.

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