Memory foods that are not in fashion

Long ago my mother used to make a German Chocolate cake that I loved! But when I started going thru many of my cookbooks - I found next to nothing for what I thought?
was a famous cake. Nothing in Joy or Fanny Farmer or James beard or any others I checked. I ended up with a recipe from smitten kitchen that I changed a bit.

If I were to make again I’d use 8” tins as it was difficult to slice the rather thin layers horizontally. The filling is delicious!!


Is it the same as black forest cake? I used to love that, when I had more of a sweet tooth. A few foods I recall from my youth that I rarely (or never) see now: chicken a la king, chocolate mousse (unless as a component of another dessert), sloppy joe’s. Maybe they’re still around and I’m just not looking in the right place.


I don’t believe so- if memory serves, Black Forest Cake is based off a German dessert but German Chocolate Cake was based off someone’s name and well-publicized recipe as described below:

Interesting that German chocolate cake seems to have gone out of vogue. I also think of it as an old standard in the US but can’t recall the last time I’ve seen or heard about it.


Oh, yes, totally different. Black forest has cherries, I think. Yes, I could look it up, but why not just rely on my probably faulty memory?


It was definitely called a “German Chocolate Cake”. As I remember. it was a light chocolate cake, light in the chocolate aka maybe milk chocolate, but with coconut and an unctuous caramelly frosting, definitely not light. Here is what looks ike a reliable recipe. As I recall, it was from the '60s.


Sorry, @WireMonkey, Our posts overlapped and I missed your good one.

Ambrosia salad made with fruit cocktail mix . I loved it .


No worries, it’s not my area of expertise so additional input is certainly welcome. I probably wouldn’t have remembered at all except that’s I assumed German chocolate cake is actually a German recipe before hearing otherwise. How foolish!

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Just this weekend my d-i-l, three grandkids and I were talking about the cherries in canned “fruit cocktail”. I was joking that she had raised the kids so well that when, on a sleepover, I topped a tyke’s ice cream with a bought just for them marischino cherry, she removed it from her mouth and said, “It tastes like chemicals.” I gave her a high-5 and told her she was absolutely right.

This prompted mention of fruit cocktail. The kids had never heard of it, so their mom told them it was what essentially what they now called “fruit cup” and took occasionally in their lunches. “I LOVE fruit cup!” both chimed in.

Grab your sugar where you can!


Oh, gawd. And the mini-marshmallows. That stuff was vile.


It looks fabulous @Elsieb, and for some reason, I’ve been both craving and thinking about that cake. Yes, out of fashion, apparently, but hard to understand for what I do consider to be a true “American” classic. Growing up, it was everyone in the family’s favorite cake, and thus always a request at birthdays. So, we happily had it several times a year. My mom used a cake mix, but always made the frosting from scratch. I haven’t made it for a long time, but when I do, I always double the delicious frosting. Yum - will have to make one soon! Thanks for jogging my memories!


correct, black forest is chocolate cake with cherries and whipped cream


Memory foods are the best - and the worst, because of the whole living up to the memory thing!

Though I never thought of German chocolate cake as out of fashion, as I see it regularly on menus - at least here in nyc!

Even Magnolia has it - so it must sell!

I think they have a cookbook…

I was trying to find the magnolia recipe for you, and this one popped up which looks like it might be the original based on that paper clipping?

Here’s the Baker’s branded coconut-pecan frosting too.


How about City Chicken? We had it often in Pittsburgh in the 50s. It was breaded chunks of pork or veal on a small skewer. My mother would buy them ready made at the store, and then bake or fry them. I loved them. Seems like it might have been a western Pennsylvania/Ohio thing.


Yours has to be the most gorgeous German chocolate cake I have seen. Swoon.

One of my favorite cakes. Due for a comeback, especially because caramelly flavors seem to be so popular these days.


Never had the mini marshmallows in the salad.


Thanks for the old recipes. I think I like the smitten kitchen frosting bc of the browned butter and the use of half and half instead of canned milk. I also used unsweetened coconut. Seems like the condensed milk and the presweetened coconut would be overly sweet.
I’m glad to hear it’s still available at nyc bakeries!

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Being fiercely independent farmers meant mom did everything outside my father did while also tasked to every traditional wife, mothering, household role inside. And she did it all tirelessly and magnificently. That’s what angels do.

I never knew Mom was not a great cook but I loved her meals. Nothing fancy ever but always a complete meal with all the groups represented. Most meals were eaten in an eerie silence due to the chronic anger seeping from one end of table.

A strong food memory is a minute steak (inexpensive cube steak) she’d dredge in egg and cracker then sacrificed in a cast iron skillet. I’d drown it in Worcester Sauce and scarf it down - so delicious and sorely missed.

Another lasting memory was a boxed cherry turnover she’d make every Christmas morning and only on Christmas morning. An angel I tell you; an angel.


Ketchup steak is something I haven’t seen since I was a kid. In our house this was thin pieces of steak, braised in ketchup and sliced rings of onion until the ketchup turned into a savory sauce. Always served with mashed potatoes so that you could make a little pond in your serving for the sauce.

Haven’t attempted ketchup steak
even once as an adult because I doubt the dish could be as tasty as in my memory.


While it isn’t popular on restaurant menus, it’s still fairly easy to find bakeries selling German Chocolate Cakes in some parts of the States & Canada. I can get it by the slice at some grocery stores.

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