The competitive experiments gave birth to the delight called the ‘Devil Food Cake.’ Having twice the amount of chocolate than other cakes of the time, this delicious confection smothered in chocolate, grew to become the rage in the early 1900s. From its first ever published recipe in Mrs Rorers New Cook Book in 1902 to the annoyed customer who circulated a coffee shop’s recipe along with his story in the 1940s; many have claimed credit for the origin of this irresistible dessert. It remains a mystery as to which devilishly creative mind invented this sinfully tempting delight. But let’s be honest, whoever it was, did everyone a big favor.
Chocolate flirts with more flavors …
The 20th century saw a delectable range of flavors take form in chocolate cake. With abundant cocoa and technologically advanced ovens, the confectioners found the much needed space to experiment. During World War II when the Civilian Defense Corps performed a blackout in Brooklyn to enable the ships to sail off to safety, the Ebinger’s Bakery came up with the idea of a ‘Chocolate Blackout Cake.’ Frosted with dark fudge and dusted with crumbs, this cake had layers of chocolate within. The popularity of this cake in such dark times had other bakeries emulating the dessert leading to what we know today as ‘Chocolate Fudge Cake’ and ‘Chocolate Layer Cake.
From fudge to moose, black forest to molten, German to Joffre; every chocolate cake recipe over the years has turned out to be a treat for the taste buds. With plenty of benefits, chocolate was now seen being paired with fruits and nuts. These combinations were a huge success and paved the way for future experiments. Various forms of flours, leavening agents and other ingredients such as cheese and champagne brought about varied flavors that improved on this delicacy.
Customized Modern Day Cakes
Americans love their sweet treats, no question about that. But when it comes to cakes, it has to be chocolate. The flavor has a nostalgic connection with the taste buds. Chefs are however now being innovative and blending familiar notes with the exotic ones.
As people are more health conscious today, the trend of flourless cakes is on the rise. Prepared from aerated chocolate custard, it is particularly suitable for those on a gluten-free diet.
Other than bakery specific, chocolate cakes are now becoming brand specific as well. Famous chocolate brands such as Kit Kat, Cadburys, Mars and Twix now have their flavors and bars incorporated in cakes. Nowadays a chocolate cake has become a permanent fixture on the menu of a restaurant or a coffee-shop. Watching that luscious ‘Molten Lava Cake’ with hot chocolate ganache oozing from the center or that ‘Baked Alaska’ wrapped in thick meringue and lashings of chocolate sauce is definitely a sight for sore eyes.
The history of chocolate cakes is rich and the journey of this confection is a colorful and endless one. Over the years, it has welcomed every ingredient with open arms, blending beautifully.
In 1763, Francesco Arisi complained in his poem ‘Il cioccolato’ that chocolate was appearing everywhere in cooking, even in cakes. If he had lived a little longer to have savored the pleasure of what chocolate in cakes turned out to be, he would’ve definitely taken his words back. We are fortunate enough to live in a time where chocolate cake has evolved to its best and by the look of things, the best is yet to come.