German chocolate cake

December 16th, 2004  |  Tags:  |  3 Comments

I made a German chocolate cake tonight for some shindig that Andrea is throwing down tomorrow; here’s a grainy picture:

Clearly, my icing skills still need some work. (The state of my icing/glazing ability is a particular thorn in my side when making Sachertorte.) The Joy of Cooking informs me that German chocolate cake has nothing to do with the much-maligned northern European nation; rather, it is an American dessert named after a confectioner named German. His primary claim to fame in his day was sweetened baking chocolate; now, I guess it would be that chocolate’s application in the eponymous cake.

The etymological trivia was news to me, but it wouldn’t have been had I found the recipe on the internet instead of using a physical cookbook like a Luddite. Googling for “german chocolate” will produce a massive queue of sites virtually tripping over each other to explain breathlessly that the German chocolate cake is not Teutonic in the least; some “German culture” sites even argue that the dessert should really be called “German’s chocolate cake.”

I wonder if you can order a slice of German chocolate cake in Berlin? (Almost certainly, one could do so at the Hard Rock Café — “when in Germany,” right?) I can only remember three meals from my weekend in Berlin some years ago: an utterly inferior Döner Kebab, a small ice-cream cake purchased from a grocery store, and an absurdly overpriced sandwich at some pseudo-Brazilian-steakhouse. I do remember that Andrea and I, while on our way to a performance of Götterdämmerung, witnessed a man on the U-Bahn snorting some powder from a cigarette paper and then obsessively licking it clean. (That’s not the end of that story, unfortunately, but that’s where it ends for now.)

I’m currently listening to Superstition from the album “Talking Book” by Stevie Wonder