The Real Reason German Chocolate Cake Isn't Actually German

German Chocolate cake is a layered chocolate cake set apart from other cakes by its frosting and filling which is full of shaved coconut and pecans (via Betty Crocker). But does it have an origin story in some Bavarian village? What exactly makes it German? 

German chocolate cake actually has its origins in the United States, dating back to the middle of the 19th century. It turns out that the name is a misnomer and like so many other incidents, it can be attributed to a punctuation error. An employee of Baker's Chocolate Company named Sam German came up with a chocolate bar to be used for baking. In honor of the inventor, the product was called Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate — however, the double possessives don't really roll off the tongue and most publishers wound up dropping the "'s" when they wrote about it. 

Depending on what you read, German may have been American or he may have been British, but he was certainly not German — aside from the name on his birth certificate (via NPR).

The birth of German chocolate cake in Dallas

In 1957, a Dallas-area newspaper printed a recipe from a home cook for German chocolate cake, which called for the bars that Sam German invented. The cake was a hit and the recipe was reprinted in newspapers across the nation. Sales for the baking chocolate skyrocketed, and General Foods (which had bought out Baker's Chocolate) reported an increase of 73 percent in sales. 

More than 100 years after German's bars were invented, they became the talk of the town and were used in what would soon become a classic American dessert. The cake is so beloved in the United States that it even has its own holiday — June 11 is National German Chocolate Cake Day. And if that makes you hungry, then good news — it's sandwiched between two other delicious national holidays — National Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Day on June 9 and National Peanut Butter Cookie day on June 12 (via State Symbols USA).