German Chocolate Cake

Great grandpa with his mother and sister
Great grandpa with his mother and sister

My great grandfather immigrated alone to the United States from Germany between World Wars when he was just 14 years old. He settled in Brooklyn with his aunt and immediately went to work at his uncle’s bakery. It was there that he learned how to bake our family’s famous German chocolate cake, which he would later pass down to his daughter-in-law (my grandmother). He soon married my great grandmother, who became his partner in crime. They opened a bakery, worked at a war plant, and ran a boarding house together. He acted as the superintendent of several industrial projects (including the local mill where my grandfather met my grandmother). During his final years, he settled in Florida as a volunteer cub scout leader, Civil Air Patrol captain, and eventually mall security guy. My great grandfather’s multifaceted set of interests and skills have been passed down several generations. He was a kind, family-oriented, and hard-working individual; no job was below him. I can see these traits not only in my father and grandfather, but also in myself. 

This cake really does taste as good as it looks. I have tried several other similar recipes but none can compare to when my grandmother makes it. The smell of the rich chocolate mix and licking the creamy whipped icing off the beaters with my siblings bring thoughts of family to my mind. It is always a requested dessert of mine when visiting my grandparents’ house because its emotional value is insurmountable. Its importance originates from the fond memories it brings me, cultural pride, and connection to my great grandfather.

Place(s): New York, Germany
Year: 1929

– Vienna Buscher

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more