The Story of Sanders Bumpy Cake

Learn the Story of Sanders Bumpy Cake
Everyone knows and loves Sanders' rich devil's food cake with its buttercream bumps covered in chocolate ganache, but do you know how we came up with the recipe? This is the story of the one-and-only Sanders Bumpy™ Cake!

Sanders Chocolate Fudge Bumpy™ Cake…the beginning

The story of the first Bumpy™ Cake and how it got its funny name is a compelling tale combining two confectionery disciplines, two confection types and two great industry leaders who were also father and son.

Let’s start at the beginning…Fred Sanders Schmidt was born in Germany, but his family moved to America when he was a toddler. The family settled in Peru, Illinois. Even as a boy, Fred Sanders showed that he possessed an unusual talent for creating good things to eat. To ensure his son was trained to only prepare fine gourmet confections, Sanders' father, a successful baker, carefully selected a renowned artisan as the boy's instructor. Young Fred Sanders was sent to Germany, a place known for creating fine confections during the era. Here, Sanders studied confectionery with skilled craftsmen and he even opened his first shop in Frankfurt in 1868. While overseas, he married Rosa Conrad, and they later returned to America, where he practiced confectionery in Philadelphia and Chicago. At this time Schmidt chose to use his middle name when he went into business because he did not want to appear to compete with his father, Albin Schmidt who had established a thriving bakery business in downstate Illinois.

Sanders eventually opened his first confection shop in Chicago, but it was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1871. According to family lore, Sanders ran ahead of the fire to get home to rescue his pregnant wife. They fled the home with Sanders pulling his wife in the carriage. The plan was to head east until they found the next major city - Detroit, Michigan.

In 1875 Fred Sanders opened his first confectionery shop on Woodward Avenue in Detroit. An announcement in the Detroit Free Press noted that “He is a Sanders Store - historic photopractical confectioner, has a handsome place, and will devote his entire attention to customers.” During the early days of the Sanders Empire, it was just Fred and Rosa making candy because Fred was intent upon conducting business with as little help as possible. This was partly because economy was important, and partly because the young confectioner was not willing to leave the quality of his products in the hands of anyone else.

In 1912 after many years of success and prominence in the chocolate, candy and ice cream business Fred decided it was time to pay homage to his father who had passed away years earlier. Fred, remembering his father’s fondness for chocolate devil’s food cake, paired this traditional dessert with his confection expertise. After many attempts and long hours, Fred perfected one of our most legendary and original confections, the Chocolate Bumpy ™ Cake by combining chocolate devil’s food cake with buttercream ridges, and then pouring a rich chocolate ganache over the entire baked dessert. The “bumpy ridges” were a happy accident put on the cake after Fred was running short of buttercream on one of his many test runs. Fred decided to put on four ridges and everyone loved the idea. Unfortunately Fred “Grandpa” Sanders died before he saw his creation become an American favorite.

After recognizing that most Sanders customers always asked for “the cake with the bumps," the name was changed from “Devil’s Food Buttercream Cake” to “Chocolate Bumpy™ Cake” and a dessert icon was born.

Today, Bumpy ™ Cakes are shipped all over the world, and come in additional varieties including Carrot, Vanilla Buttercream and Classic Caramel. There is even a Mini Chocolate Fudge Bumpy™ Cake; we call it "Bumpy Cake for Two, or More for You!" Whether you are celebrating a birthday, hosting an event, or just in the mood for a decadent treat, Sanders Bumpy™ Cake remains the perfect dessert to share with friends, family and colleagues!

There have been many imitators throughout the years, but the original Bumpy™ Cake is only found in Sanders Chocolate & Ice Cream Shops, here on our website or at one of our authorized retail outlets, including all Meijer stores, Michigan Kroger stores and several other select locations throughout the United States.

Be sure to LIKE both our Sanders Candy and Sander Bumpy Tea Cake pages on Facebook!
Note: story contains excerpts from "Images of America: Sanders Confectionery" by Greg Tasker & published by Arcadia Publishing.


About Sanders:

Sanders is a classic national brand featuring premium chocolates, dessert toppings and baked goods using original recipes dating as far back as 1875. Started by Fred Sanders in Detroit, Michigan, the brand is now owned by Morley Candy Makers, Inc., with its own rich history dating back to 1919. Sanders products can be found in multiple retailers across the United States, at Sanders Chocolate & Ice Cream Shoppes in Michigan, or online at


Email Signup

Be the First to Know

Get all the latest information on Events, Sales and Offers. Sign up to receive emails today.