Oh, the Story of the German Chocolate Cake. This is also the story of How I Landed My Husband.
Didn’t your momma ever tell you that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? 😉
Well, it worked for my mom… and it worked for me, exactly thirty years later.
If you know nothing about my family, let me tell you… we are serious about our food! I come from a long line of good German cooks. My grandma, her sister (my great-aunt) and my momma… legendary. I’m sure my foremothers were too, but I don’t have any personal memory of them, unfortunately.
Every single night, I hear from David, “Very good, dear.” (Of course, only on nights where he doesn’t cook… he does, on occasion. He makes a Chicken Frangelico that is to die for, and it’s his dish, I’ve never even attempted it.) There have been several nights where David will look at me and say, “I married a damn good cook.” Those make me smile. 🙂
Mom used to have her own catering business. That was fun. We did a wedding for 400, but also small events including boxed lunches for teacher in-services, and everything in between. She is very well known for her food. Desserts are probably more famous, such as our Brownies and White Chocolate Cheesecake… and a few weeks ago, she tried on a lark, a Tiramisu. I about fell out of my chair, and she had never made one before. She also makes wonderful everyday meals; my favorites growing up were rosemary chicken, spaghetti, spicy chicken spaghetti, roast beef, chili… you name it, my momma can knock it out of the park. (And no, we don’t give out our recipes!) Even if she has never made it… or even tasted it before. Have a birthday coming up? Tell my momma your favorite dessert, and she’ll make it for you. Having a baby? She’ll make you a month’s worth of freezer meals. Food is just what we do.
But, I digress.
My momma’s story is a very sweet one. She and Dad had been dating for a little while, and he made mention that German Chocolate Cake was his favorite. So of course, she just had to make one (with my Grandma’s help, no doubt… can’t let the good men slip away!). She didn’t have a German Chocolate Cake recipe on hand, so she had to find one.
Apparently it was pretty good, because my Dad will tell you, he knew right then she wasn’t going anywhere, and he proposed shortly thereafter.
January 2010, David and I had been dating only a few weeks or so. He just happened to come over for dinner one night, and my (lovely, ornery) Grandma (whom I love very much!) was also company for dinner. She was asking lots of questions (at least I had warned him beforehand!), when the question came up. “What’s your favorite dessert?”
I remember I was looking down when he answered. “My mom made a really good German Chocolate Cake once, and I haven’t had one since….” I remember smiling to myself and looking sideways to my momma, who was all smiles.
Valentine’s Day, 2010. Oh, the fun!
We made a weekend out of it, since he had to work on Sunday (the 14th). I had plans to go out to his place on Friday night, and he would come to my place on Saturday night. He had made a special dinner all by himself, opened a bottle of wine, had candles lit and Frank Sinatra playing (I was sold, hook, line and sinker!)… and had bought me flowers (the first time any guy had done that for me!). It was wonderful, but I’d already made up my mind that he was a keeper. Little did he know that I had something of my own up my sleeve.
The next morning, I asked Mom for help with the Cake. Mom had never made another German Chocolate Cake after that infamous one, so we had no recipe to go off of. Luckily, I had found one online that looked the way I had imagined it. This was quite the learning experience. Grandma even got involved. In fact, a lot of my family and extended family had gotten involved in this. We used my great-grandma’s hand mixer (it was so ancient we didn’t even know if it would work), and I used real vanilla that my best friend Carrie had brought me from her trip to Grenada in the Caribbean. This thing was huge. It was beautiful. I was so proud! But the real test would come later.
So that night for dinner I had made my own concoction… Chicken Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo, with garlic bread… opened a bottle of wine, laid out a movie, and had candles going… and the German Chocolate Cake was in the other dining room, on a cake stand, concealed from view.
Dinner was wonderful, but I warned him to save room for dessert. (Mom had also made and wrapped some of her amazing Sweetheart Cookies for him to take home with him.) He had that smile that I love so much on his face when I brought out the surprise dessert. I cut two slices and waited for his verdict. He was over the moon; the look on his face was priceless! Then I launched into the story about how three generations of my family had helped make it, plus my great-grandma’s mixer and my best friend’s vanilla… before I told him the story about Mom and Dad’s famous German Chocolate Cake.
He reached across the table and held my hand, and said, “I just may have to follow in your dad’s footsteps.”
Three short months later we picked out a ring, and less than two months after that he proposed (but that’s another story!).
I doubt anyone noticed, but at our wedding reception, the groom’s cake was…. a German Chocolate Cake. (I couldn’t help myself! I’m a sucker for a good story!) 🙂
So far, my family is 2 for 2 on German Chocolate Cakes. If my (future) daughter(s) ever find their Prince Charming, we’ll see if we can go 3 for 3! 😉