The benefits of old school cooking are many. First, many of these old-fashioned chocolate desserts are very easy to make. Second, they are usually cost effective because, as you will see, many were developed during shortages caused by war or the Great Depression. Third, they are tried and tested. Translation: Everyone will love them.
Browse through this list of some of the most beloved old fashioned chocolate desserts and make one tonight!
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This chocolate cake is made without eggs, milk or butter—ingredients that were hard to come by during the Great Depression. It still manages to be delicious and decadent, so give it a try!
Try this great Depression Cake recipe from A Cookie Named Desire.
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Black Forest Cake
Often confused with German chocolate cake, Black Forest Cake is actually from Germany. And this cake is really old fashioned, like late 16th century old fashioned. This cake has multiple layers of chocolate sponge cake, whipped cream and cherries that are said to represent the traditional clothing worn by dancers in the Black Forest. Also, the cake is traditionally smeared with Kirschwasser, or cherry brandy, so leave it out unless you want an alcohol-free cake.
Try this decadent Black Forest Cake recipe from Flour on My Face.
Mississippi Mud Pie
Named after the dark mud found on the banks of the Mississippi River, this dessert, as its name suggests, is not fancy. This layered dessert is thrown together in a cookie crust and can contain cake, cookies, pudding, ice cream and marshmallows and is topped with chocolate curls, more whipped cream and nuts.
Try these Mississippi Mud Pies from Lil’ Luna.
Here’s another dessert that pays homage to the mighty Mississippi. According to traditions, the crude layer resting on the graham cracker bark was thought to resemble the mud at the bottom of the river. These days there are so many different ways to make this delicious dessert. After all, what chocolate lover doesn’t love a layer of fudge under almost nothing?
Try this Low Carb Keto Black Bottom Pie from Low Carb Maven.
German chocolate cake
Surprise, this amazing cake with coconut curls, pecan filling and heaps of sweet chocolate frosting is not German at all. It was first made by a baker in Texas, according to Culinary Lore, and contained a type of chocolate developed by Samuel German. In the Dallas Morning Star. The “‘s” were dropped in later years. However you slice it, if you like a sweet chocolate and coconut cake, this is for you.
Try this amazing German Chocolate Cake recipe from Lil’ Luna.
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This layered chocolate cake with apricot jam or cherries covered in chocolate ganache was the creation of Austrian chef Franz Sacher in 1832. Interestingly, there are only a few places in the world where you can experience a real Sachertorte. The recipe is trademarked and the cake is stamped with it in chocolate. You can, of course, make a version, but it wouldn’t be an authentic Sachertorte.
Try this recipe for the Original Sachertorte.
Texas Sheet Cake
The traditional Texas Sheet Cake is a thin, chocolate cake made with buttermilk and unsweetened cocoa, baked on a sheet pan. The killer frosting is poured over the still-warm cake and then sprinkled with chopped pecans, says Simply Recipes. Of course, you can add your own twist and toppings. One thing is for sure, this cake is more enjoyable.
Try this Texas Sheet Cake recipe from Bigger Bolder Baking.
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Red Velvet Cake
Yes, even though it’s red, this cake is actually chocolate. The flour was much coarser in the 1800s, and when sour cocoa was used in this recipe, the cocoa broke down the flour, making the cake fluffy. The cocoa would also react with the other ingredients that make the cake red, although these days food coloring is often used to achieve a more vibrant red. Cream cheese frosting has become the defacto frosting for a delicious red velvet cake.
Try this Red Velvet Cake recipe from Cooking Classy.
The origin of this sandwich cake cookie creation with vanilla frosting in the center is debated, but most sources credit the Amish in Pennsylvania. These sandwiches started out as leftover cake batter cut into rounds that were then baked and filled with frosting. The first commercially produced pies were sold in Maine.
Try these Chocolate Biscoff Whoopie Pies from Gimme Some Oven.
Sources attribute the rise of the use of mayonnaise in chocolate cake to the Great Depression or during World War II, when eggs and dairy were scarce, after all, mayonnaise is just an emulsion of eggs and oil—common ingredients in cake. According to Epicurious, the first mention in print is in 1927 in Oakland Tribune. Taste tests since then have proven that the favorite spice does indeed make a delicious and moist chocolate cake, so keep this hack on the table.
Try this Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake from Spend with Pennies.
Mississippi Mud Cake
Mississippi Mud Cake and Mississippi Mud Pie are two different, though both favorite desserts. The cake version features a chocolate cake topped with marshmallows that are then drizzled with chocolate frosting.
Try this Mississippi Mud Cake from Lil’ Luna.
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Not surprisingly, buckeye candy comes from Ohio, the Buckeye State. Apparently, these little balls of peanut butter partially covered in chocolate look like buckeye nuts from Ohio’s state tree.
Try this easy Buckeyes recipe from Spend with Pennies.
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The origins of fudge, as with almost all previous desserts, remain murky. In 1921, a student at Vassar College was the first to officially write about the treat that came from Baltimore in 1886. This was the first known documentation of an American-style fudge. The chocolate confection created a frenzy on campus and has been a beach holiday favorite for a long time. Now, of course, it comes in all sorts of flavors and varieties.
Try this quick and easy chocolate fudge from Life, Love and Sugar
Most people are familiar with fruit cobblers. Whether made from summer peaches or fall apples, the fruit tastes better and is finished with a crisp, butter-speckled crust. But have you ever heard of a chocolate cobbler? Southern Life she says this basic dessert becomes two desserts in one with layers of cake and layers of fudge all over, and it’s ridiculously easy to make.
Try this Ultimate Chocolate Cobbler from Bigger Bolder Baking.
Coke makes sense in a cake, it adds sweetness and the carbonation adds a bit of kick to the cake. The origin of the Coca Cola cake is unclear, but a recipe was first published in the Charleston Gazette in 1952, says What’s Cooking America. The cake enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the 90s when Cracker Barrel added one to its menu. The Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake became a permanent offering in 2009. So if you don’t want to make one, head to Cracker Barrel and get one.
Try this amazing recipe from Averie Cooks.
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French silk pie
This cake of smooth chocolate mousse and a cloud of whipped cream is not French. An American baker named Betty Cooper made it to the Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1951 and won. The name refers to the silky texture of the luscious pie mousse and it 100% deserves a place in your dessert rotation.
Try this recipe for Deep Dish French Silk Pie with Hazelnut Oreo Cookie Crust from Ambitious Kitchen.
Chocolate is one of those ingredients that will stand the test of time. Make one of these old-fashioned favorites your next party and see what memories it brings back.
An earlier version of this recipe was originally published on May 12, 2022.