History And Recipes For National Chocolate Cake Day
Chocolate, once the ‘Food of the Gods,’ is now for mortals.
Yes, here I am with another holiday for you all to sink your teeth into. Last year, I wrote about National Brownies Day. Now, I am writing about one of our favorite confectionaries, chocolate. Yes, chocolate. But, in what form? How does chocolate cake sound to you? Yes, everyone, there is a chocolate cake day, and it is national. January 27, is National Chocolate Cake Day, hope you have your fork and a glass of milk ready.
What is chocolate? Per United States Department of Agriculture, chocolate comes from a plant. This plant is a tree named Theobroma Cacao. In other words, chocolate comes from the kingdom of plants. From the sub-kingdom of vascular plants. It is a super division of a seed plant, which is a division of a flowering plant. Its class is a dicotyledon, and the subclass is Dilleniidae. The order is Malvales, from the cacao family in the genus of theobroma. From the species of cacao. Wow, that is a lot to say, chocolate comes from a tree, which is a plant.
Britannica backs up the United States Department of Agriculture but simplifies it. Per Britannica, cocoa is a tropical evergreen tree (Malvales). The tree grows edible seeds (super division). The tree blooms (division), and its leather leaves (vascular) can grow up to 12 inches long. After four years, the tree matures and produces fruit in the form of pods. Within six months the pods ripen. Inside the pods are the wonderful seeds called cocoa beans, ‘Food of the Gods.’
We owe a debt of gratitude to the following people. Without them, we may not have the chocolate cake.Per International Cocoa Organization, the Aztec cultures were the first to cultivate the Theobroma Cacao tree. They used the cacao beans as a beverage. The Aztecs believed drinking the chocolate would give them Quetzalcoatl’s wisdom, God of learning and wind.
Per Dot News, back in 1764, Dr. James Baker and his friend John Hannon brought from the West Indies, cocoa beans. They grind the beans using a mortar and pestle or hand mills. In 1765, they used two big circular millstones to grind the cocoa beans, not into powder, but a thick syrup.
Per Cornell University, Coenraad Van Houten, a Dutch chemist, invented the process that brought us powdered hot chocolate, creamy chocolate, and the solid chocolate. He patented his method in 1828. He removed most of the cocoa butter from the processed cacao, in doing so he brought us the powdered hot chocolate. He then invented a hydraulic press machine which reduced the amount of cocoa butter from 53 percent to 37 percent. He improved upon his invention by treating the powder cocoa with alkaline salts, known as ‘Dutching.’
In 1879, a Swiss named, Rodolphe Lindt, redefined the production of chocolate. His machines were left running all weekend. He returned Monday morning to find that he created chocolate that would mix well with cake batters and other recipes.
Some Fun Facts:
The term “chocolate cake” means a white or yellow cake with a side order of a chocolate beverage.
A chocolate cake is a Mahogany Cake.
German Chocolate Cake is not from Germany. Sam German worked for Baker’s chocolate company. He invented a style of sweet baking chocolate. Baker gave credit, where credit was due and named the new bar German’s Chocolate. It was in 1957, when a woman in Texas sent her recipe to the Dallas newspaper using German’s Chocolate in her recipe.
Thanks to the United States for being a ‘melting pot,’ full of diverse cultures, the chocolate cake became America’s favorite cake. Now we have many recipes to indulge our taste buds in. Here are a few from my co-writers:
Jessica’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey’s Cocoa
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Heat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour into pans.
Bake 30-35 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. 12 servings.
Submitted by Jessica Penhorwood.
My chocolate cake recipe:
1 1⁄2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1⁄3 cup cocoa
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup water
1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1⁄3 cup of softened butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1⁄3 cup baking cocoa
3 -4 tablespoons heavy cream
Mix all your dry ingredients together using a sifter.
Combine wet ingredients in separate bowl.
Make a well in dry ingredients and slowly mix the wet into it.
Transfer to greased cake pan*
Bake at 350 for approx. 30min
Set aside to cool before putting the frosting on.
*A trick I learned from my mom, is to add a tiny bit of butter to your pan and have it melt in the oven while it is preheating.
Beat powdered sugar and butter together on low speed.
Fold in your vanilla and cocoa
Very slowly, beat in your heavy cream. You want it to be the consistency of frosting, smooth and easy to spread. If you mix this too fast, it will be too thin. Add more powdered sugar to correct.
Submitted by Jessica Willing.
How will you celebrate National Chocolate Cake Day?
Use #nationalchocolatecakeday in your social media posts.