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National Chocolate Cake Day

There is no shame in overindulging in dessert today, as long as it is chocolate cake! Made with melted chocolate, cocoa powder, or both, chocolate cakes were first baked in the late nineteenth century. There are an endless amount of types of them, which makes the day easy and fun to celebrate.

The roots of chocolate cake go back to 1764 when Dr. James Baker of Boston ground cocoa beans with a water-powered mill that had two large millstones, making chocolate. But it was over a century until chocolate cake as we know it today was made. During the first half of the nineteenth century, whenever something was called chocolate cake, it was a yellow or spice cake that went along with a chocolate drink. During the second quarter of the nineteenth century, white or yellow cake with chocolate icing became known as chocolate cake.

In 1828, Coenraad van Houten came up with a way to mechanically extract fat from cocoa liquor, which left him with cocoa butter and some lower fat cocoa, the latter of which was sold as "rock cocoa" or ground into powder. His mechanism, known as a cocoa press, made chocolate much cheaper and more readily available. By the mid-nineteenth century, chocolate was being used in baked goods on a normal basis, although the first print record of it happening dates all the way back to 1779.

At first, chocolate was only used with cake as a filling or glazing, but it became easier to bake with chocolate after Rodolphe Lindt came up with conching in 1879. In 1886, cooks in the United States added chocolate to cake batter to make the first chocolate cakes. By the beginning of the twentieth century, chocolate cakes became very popular.

Devil's food chocolate cake mix was introduced in the mid-1930s but stopped being made for a time during WWII. In the postwar years, Duncan Hines introduced a cake mix which controlled almost half of the market called the Three Star Special, so called because white, yellow, or chocolate cake could be made from it. In the 1980s, chocolate decadence cakes were big, and in the 1990s, molten chocolate cakes with liquid chocolate centers were a favorite. Today we celebrate chocolate cake no matter what type it is.

How to Observe

Celebrate the day by baking your own chocolate cake to eat, or buying one at a bakery or grocery store. Here are a few types of chocolate cakes you could try:

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