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Michigan Item: Bumpy Cake

Issue #9

Audio file

Fred Sanders was born to make sweet treats. His father, a baker, noticed Fred’s ability to make good things to eat when Fred was a young boy. Fred’s father sent him to Germany to learn from some of the best confectioners (con-feck-shen-ers), or candymakers, in Europe. In 1875, Fred opened his first candy shop in Detroit. 

One of Fred’s most famous sweet treats was made by mistake! It started with a chocolate (chawk-let) cake, his father’s favorite. Fred decided to make the cake even better by adding a buttery frosting and a chocolate ganache (gah-nawsh). Ganache is a sweet creamy chocolate mixture.

Fred tested different ways to make his new cake. During one of his tests, he ran out of frosting. He made long strips of frosting on the top of the cake and covered it with the ganache. The result was a cake with bumps across the top, and everyone loved it. 
When people came into the store to buy that cake, they called it the “cake with bumps” or “bumpy cake.” So Fred called it Chocolate Bumpy Cake.

The Sanders company still makes Bumpy Cake today, but it comes in different sizes and flavors. The new flavors include spice, vanilla, and caramel. You can enjoy a 
piece of cake in Sanders Chocolate & Ice Cream Shop. Or you can buy your own online or at Michigan Meijer or Kroger stores.

The photo of the candy shop is from the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library. Bumpy cake photos are from the Historical Society of Michigan.
Fred Sander's shop in Detroit in 1895

The funny shaped building in this picture was Fred’s shop on Woodward Avenue in Detroit. The picture was taken around 1895.

chocolate bumpy cake in a pan

This photo shows what Bumpy Cake looks like today. The first Bumpy Cakes were round.