When you hear of a German chocolate, the 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 its 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 higher sugar content to it. This means that recipes that use it tend to be a little bit sweeter than ones that don’t.
German's Chocolate is a dark baking chocolate created by the Walter Baker & Company employee, Samuel German (hence the name), who developed the chocolate in 1852. He thought this type of chocolate would be convenient for bakers as the sugar is already added to it. It is sweeter than semi-sweet chocolate and contains a blend of chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, flavorings, and lecithin. Baker's sells this chocolate which can be found on the baking isle of most grocery stores.
Contrary to popular belief, German chocolate cake did not originate in Germany. Its roots can be traced back to 1852 when American Sam German developed a brand of dark baking chocolate for the American Baker's Chocolate Company. The product, Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate, was named in honor of him.
As you enjoy German chocolate, and German chocolate cake rest assured in your new found knowledge that German's Chocolate and German's Chocolate cake, the man who developed this chocolate was a Mr. German -- it has nothing to do with Germany.