The Best Types of Chocolate Cake from Around the World

May 2020

The Best Types of Chocolate Cake from Around the World

big chocolate cake

Chocolate has worldwide appeal. Its taste is variable from indulgently sweet to earthy bitterness. Its texture too can be velvety smooth as a ganache, light and airy like Chocolate Chantilly or crunchy and firm like a classic chocolate bar.

Chocolate has a history dating back to the ancient Mayans but its popularity has spread all over the world. And this is not better demonstrated than its various incarnations through cake. Countries from around the world have embraced the simple cocoa bean and turned them into patisserie marvels from simple yet delicious sponges, to delicate gateaux. Read on to discover the best chocolate cakes from around the globe. 

Sachertorte - Austria

Many myths and legends surround this cake with rumour suggesting the Sachertorte was Sigmund Frued's favourite. According to his son, the Sachetorte was invented by Franz Sache, who whilst working under the personal chef of Prince Metternich, Chancellor of the Austrian Empire, was required to make a novel cake whilst the chef was ill. The result, Sachertorte. The original Sachertorte contains two layers of apricot jam between the outer layer of chocolate icing and a chocolate sponge base. It is now one of the most famous Viennese gastronomic specialities and the ne plus ultra of desserts. 

Lava Cake - USA

This is a controversial cake, not because of its taste (who doesn't like a lava cake?) but because of its disputed invention. French chef Jacques Torres claims that the Lava Cake recipe had been established in France well before it was popularised in the U.S. by French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. According to Vongerichten it was accidentally invented when he pulled a chocolate sponge cake out from the oven even before it was ready and found that whilst the outside looked done, the inside was left runny. After Vongerichten's serendipitous finding in New York, it quickly spread in popularity and became quasi de rigeur as a dessert in high-end restaurants across the U.S. and world. 

Amandine - Romania

Not to be confused with the French term for an almond garnish which goes by the same name, Amandine is a Romanian chocolate layer cake filled with chocolate, caramel and fondant cream (sometimes almond cream is used too). This Romanian confectionary, can be cut to be served as 1-bite miniature or left as a big cake. These cakes are ubiquitous across cofetārie - Romanian patisseries - with the original recipe featuring layers of chocolate sponge cake soaked in rum. Often, they are traditionally decorated with a swirl of chocolate cream and a thin crust of chocolate. 

Black Forest Gateau - Germany

Black Forest Gateau, or in German, Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, consists of multiple layers of chocolate sponge cake with whipped cream, maraschino cherries and more chocolate shavings! According to German law, any cake labelling itself as a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte must have kirschwasser added to it - a colourless brandy made from Morello cherries that derives from the Black Forest region of Germany. Some sources however suggest that the name derives from the cake's similarity in colour scheme to the traditional dress of the Black Forest featuring a bonnet with red woollen pompoms.

Black Forest Gateau - Patisserie Valerie
Black Forest Gateau - Patisserie Valerie
Black Forest Gateau - Patisserie Valerie
Black Forest Gateau - Patisserie Valerie
Black Forest Gateau - Patisserie Valerie
Black Forest Gateau - Patisserie Valerie

Black Forest Gateau

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Kladdkaka - Sweden

Undoubtedly Sweden's best export since flatpack furniture and Gimme Gimme, Kladdkaka is the Swedish equivalent of a big chocolate brownie or lava cake. Kladdkaka literally translates to sticky cake. This chocolate cake has a crispy outside and a molten interior. The big difference between Kladdkaka and most other cakes is that it doesn't contain any baking powder, the reason being that its originated during World War Two when baking powder supplies were limited. This also causes its gooiness due to the absence of air bubbles in the dough. The cake is so popular in Sweden that it has its own day, KladdkakansDag, the day of Kladdkaka, celebrated annually on the 7th November.

Nanaimo Bars - Canada

The Nanaimo bar is a type of bar cake that requires no baking. Named after the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia, the Nanaimo bar consists of three layers including a nut and coconut crumb base, a custard icing middle finished with a chocolate ganache top. The earliest printed example of a Nanaimo bar recipe comes from a 1953 cookbook. Following extensive research, however, the same recipe was posted in a Vancouver daily newspaper earlier that year under a different name. Nanaimo bars took off in Canada when they were highlighted as a classic Canadian dessert at the 1986 World Exposition. Nanaimo bars even took centre stage at a U.S. State dinner hosted by then-US President Barack Obama for guest Justin Trudeau.

Nama Chocolate - Japan

Whilst it may be a stretch to call nama chocolate a cake, it is neither truly one thing or the other. Nama chocolate is lavishly rich and dense owing to its ganache construction. This is solid chocolate that is velvety smooth contained within blocks of chocolate that melt in your mouth and are sprinkled with cocoa powder. Nama means raw in Japanese and is a reference to the fresh cream used to make the ganache. The European equivalent of Nama would be French truffles. Nama chocolate was originally invented in the eighties by sweet shop owner and confectioner Masakazu Kobayashi who would later go on to produce MeltyKiss - a popular Japanese winter treat.

This post made you hungry? Check out our full collection of chocolate cakes.