On January 27th, people around the country will celebrate National Chocolate Cake Day. Join in the fun and take advantage of the one day this year you can unabashedly eat your fill of every kind of chocolate cake. One of our favorite chocolate cakes here at Fill Your Plate is Farmer’s Mud Pie!
History of Chocolate Cake
Although people have been making cakes for thousands of years, the use of chocolate in baked goods of any kind is a recent development. Some food historians believe this is due in part to the relative scarcity of chocolate, which was generally reserved for religious ceremonies. The first mention of chocolate cake in cookbooks appears in the early 1800’s although they don’t actually feature any chocolate. The first chocolate cakes were actually yellow cakes or spice cakes made to accompany a chocolate beverage which is the reason they were called chocolate cakes.
In the mid 1800’s, chocolate cake began to include chocolate, but only in the icing. The cake underneath remained a yellow or white cake. Although the first mention of a chocolate cake that included chocolate as an ingredient comes from 1847, it would be almost 50 years before creating chocolate cake with chocolate would be a common occurrence. The increased use of chocolate in recipes in the latter half of the 19th century also coincides with the introduction of new extraction techniques that made it easier to create chocolate suitable for baking.
Around the turn of the century, recipes for Devil’s Food Cake begin to show up in the cookbooks of the time. Although there is no specific reference to the origin of the name for this sinfully delicious cake, some food historians believe it was so named because the dark chocolate was the opposite of the fluffy white color of Angel Food Cake. In the early part of the 20th century, Devil’s Food Cake was all the rage and the Modern Women of America Cookbook published in 1913 had 23 variations for making it.
Pre-made chocolate cake mixes made their appearance in the mid-1930’s when the Duff Company in Pittsburg began offering a Devil’s Food cake mix. It did not take long for Duncan Hines and General Mills to follow suit. Chocolate cake remained about the same until the 1980’s when cake mixes featuring decadent chocolate became popular. The 1990’s brought us the molten chocolate cake that featured a center of liquid chocolate.
According to Wilton, the best selling cake decorating company in the country, when Americans want to celebrate, the cake they want is a chocolate cake as demonstrated by their America’s Celebration Cake recipe.
A Cake by Any Other Name is Still as Sweet
Chocolate cake comes in many different varieties including the following:
- Chocolate layer cake – Made with two or more layers of cake held together with a delicious layer of icing.
- Black Forest cake – Similar to a chocolate layer cake, this version features whipped cream and maraschino cherries rather than frosting in between the layers. It is also frosted with whipped cream and then decorated with cherries and chocolate shavings.
- Devil’s food cake – A moist, light chocolate cake frosted with chocolate icing.
- Flourless chocolate cake – This dense chocolate cake is perfect for the gluten free diet.
- German chocolate cake – Another layered chocolate cake, this version features a coconut-pecan frosting.
- Molten chocolate cake – A small chocolate cake with a liquid chocolate center.
Great Recipes for Chocolate Cake
- Vegan Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Avocado Icing Recipe
- Classic Chocolate Layer Cake
- America’s Celebration Cake
- Black Forest Cake
- Devil’s Food Cake
- Flourless Chocolate Cake
- German Chocolate Cake
- Molten Chocolate Cake
Find fresh local ingredients for your chocolate cake creations in the “Find a Food Product” section of Fill Your Plate. Using local ingredients can help stretch your food dollar while supporting local ranchers and farmers.
Cake Recipes from Fill Your Plate:
- Applesauce Spice Cake (fillyourplate.org)
- Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cake (fillyourplate.org)
- Zucchini and Squash Cake (fillyourplate.org)