1886 Chocolate Cake Is More Famous Than The Hotel That Created It

If you love rich, moist chocolate cake, then you've got to try 1886 Chocolate Cake. 1886 Chocolate Cake is a silky smooth, decadent chocolate cake that was first created by a woman named Helen Corbitt for the Driskill Hotel in Texas.

Pastry chef Kristen Groth explained to Fox that Helen Corbitt was "the curator of all culinary aspects of the Driskill" back when it was first opened in the 19th century. Although Austin Monthly cites the Driskill Hotel as being famous thanks to its numerous rumored hauntings, the Driskill's chocolate cake may actually be more well-known than the hotel itself, thanks to the delicious recipe that the hotel is still cooking up today.

To get a better feel for what makes 1886 Chocolate Cake so special, it pays to know a bit more about the history behind this cake. And, if you want to taste some for yourself without making a trip out to Texas, you can also try your hand at an easy at-home recipe for this cake.

The history of 1886 Chocolate Cake

The origins of 1886 Chocolate Cake go all the way back to, as you can probably guess, 1886. This was the year that the Driskill Hotel opened in Austin, Texas. At the time, the aforementioned Helen Corbitt took over managing the culinary aspects of the hotel and as part of her menu, created the 1886 Chocolate Cake.

The cake, along with many other popular dishes, was a hit among guests. Later, to enable those other than guests to enjoy the hotel's meals, the Heritage Society created a restaurant in the hotel called the 1886 Lunchroom. There, they sold a number of the hotel's staples so that locals and non-guests could enjoy their meals, as well.

Eventually, the 1886 Lunchroom became a Victorian-style café called the 1886 Café & Bakery. Ever since 2002, this bakery continues to serve locals tasty treats that date back to the hotel's opening. Besides the 1886 Chocolate Cake, diners can also enjoy brunch, desserts, coffee, and savory items and carry on an Austin tradition that's been around for hundreds of years.

How to make your own 1886 Chocolate Cake

The recipe for 1886 Chocolate Cake is quite involved, but that doesn't mean that you can't recreate it at home anyway! According to Good Taste TV, to make the cake batter, you'll need 2 cups each of flour and sugar, 2 large eggs, a teaspoon of baking soda, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, ½ cup of cocoa, ⅔ cup of water, and 1 cup each of butter and buttermilk. If you don't have buttermilk on hand, you can also use a homemade buttermilk substitute.

With your ingredients in hand, you'll start by mixing the eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, and baking soda together. Set this aside, and then melt the butter, water, and cocoa in a double boiler. Mix the butter mix into the egg mixture and add the flour and sugar. Stir the batter well and then pour it into a greased baking pan. Bake the cake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes.

Next, it's time to make the signature chocolate glaze to go on this cake. For this step, you'll need ½ cup each of butter and cocoa powder, ¼ cup of buttermilk, 2 cups of powdered sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla. Melt the butter, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract together in a saucepan. Then, add the powdered sugar and buttermilk. Whisk the mixture until it's smooth.

Last but not least, cut your cake into squares. Pour the chocolate glaze over the squares and enjoy your very own 1886 Chocolate Cake!