Chocolate unites the world! So we’ll all be celebrating together on January 27, National Chocolate Cake Day, when you combine two of my favorite things: chocolate and cake.
Cake, according to the food timeline, had its first recorded recipe in 1615 in the New Book of Cookerie. The recipe was for coffee cake, however, not chocolate. Chocolate cake, at least in North America, came along a little later in 1765, according to the Dover Post.
The first chocolate cake recipe appeared in a cookbook written by Miss Eliza Leslie somewhat later, in 1837. Born in Philadelphia, Leslie trained at the famed Mrs. Elizabeth Goodfellow’s Cooking School in the early 1800s. Goodfellow’s recipes were developed to suit the “sweet tooth” of wealthy merchants in Philadelphia.
While Mrs. Goodfellow taught her students how to make delectable confections and pastries (called sweetmeats at the time), she didn’t write down her instructions or recipes. Eliza Leslie, however, used her extensive classroom notes to write and publish cookbooks starting with the information she acquired.
Best Place to Eat Chocolate Cake
So what’s the best place to eat chocolate cake? From my travels this year, I’d have to pick Stone Hill Winery Vintage Restaurant in Hermann, Missouri.
The Vintage Restaurant’s chocolate cake was everything it should be: moist with a velvety texture and the sublime taste of rich, dark chocolate. The juicy, sweet strawberry didn’t hurt either!
But an eating experience is rarely just about the food — a lot of our dining pleasure comes from the atmosphere around us at dinner time. And the Vintage Restaurant got my A+ in that department.
I have a great appreciation for all things in sustainable travel, and there’s nothing more sustainable than repurposing buildings like the Held family did with their Vintage Restaurant. We could all take a lesson or two from the Helds, since according the Globe and Mail, in Canada we send nearly seven million tonnes of construction materials from demolished and renovated buildings to landfills every year!
The most amazing thing, however, about the Vintage Restaurant’s building, is that it used to be a carriage house. That’s right. A barn. A stable for horses. Now, what used to be stalls make great partitions between diners and their tables.
And as to the dining, their menu offers some great German specialties in keeping with the local culture of Hermann. I’d ordered the Schweineschnitzel, otherwise known as breaded pork cutlet, which was served with a dill creme sauce. The potato salad came warm, German style, along with red cabbage. It was one of my favorite meals of my whole week-long trip to Missouri!
If you’re ever near Hermann, Missouri, I highly recommend you stop and enjoy a traditional German meal (and some amazing wine!) as well. But if you don’t get the chance, perhaps you’ll find one of these international destinations has an excellent chocolate cake too.
Infographic – Top 10 Best Places to Eat Chocolate Cake
First Published Recipe for Chocolate Cake in the United States
If you’d like to know what chocolate cake tasted like around 200 years ago, here’s the recipe from Miss Leslie’s Lady’s New Receipt-Book, 3rd ed. by Eliza Leslie, which is available free to download from Project Gutenberg.
Scrape down three ounces of the best and purest chocolate, or prepared cocoa. Cut up, into a deep pan, three-quarters of a pound of fresh butter; add to it a pound of powdered loaf-sugar; and stir the butter and sugar together till very light and white. Have ready fourteen ounces (two ounces less than a pound) of sifted flour; a powdered nutmeg; and a tea-spoonful of powdered cinnamon—mixed together. Beat the whites of ten eggs till they stand alone; then the yolks till they are very thick and smooth. Then mix the yolks and whites gradually together, beating very hard when they are all mixed. Add the eggs, by degrees, to the beaten butter and sugar, in turn with the flour and the scraped chocolate,—a little at a time of each; also the spice. Stir the whole very hard. Put the mixture into a buttered tin pan with straight sides, and bake it at least four hours. If nothing is to be baked afterwards, let it remain in till the oven becomes cool. When cold, ice it.
I dined at Stone Hill Winery Vintage Restaurant on a trip hosted by the State of Missouri for a week of traveling along the Katy Trail in Missouri–it was amazing! I’d also like to thank the Beenders-Walker group for organizing the trip and taking such awesome care of my needs along the way.
To find out more about planning your Missouri vacation see:https://www.visitmo.com/