Cake is a form of sweet dessert that is typically baked.
The history of cake dates back to ancient times. The first cakes were very different from what we eat today. They were more bread-like and sweetened with honey. Nuts and dried fruits were often added.
The Oxford English Dictionary traces the English word cake back to the 13th century. It is a derivation of ‘kaka’, an Old Norse word.
Medieval European bakers often made fruitcakes and gingerbread. These foods could last for many month.
According to the food historians, the precursors of modern cakes (round ones with icing) were first baked in Europe sometime in the mid-17th century. This is due to primarily to advances in technology (more reliable ovens, manufacture/availability of food molds) and ingredient availability (refined sugar).
A big breakthrough in cake baking occurred in the mid-19th century as yeast was replaced with the introduction of both baking powder and baking soda. Both were more effective as raising agents.
The link between cakes and birthday celebrations may date back to ancient Roman times. In the 1400s, bakeries in Germany began selling birthday cakes made from sweetened dough. During the 17th century, the birthday cake took on its contemporary form.
Some believe that the tradition of birthday candles began in Ancient Greece, when people brought cakes adorned with lit candles to the temple of Artemis, goddess of the hunt. The candles were lit to make them glow like the moon, a popular symbol associated with Artemis. Others believe that the tradition of birthday candles started with the Germans in 1700s.
The contemporary wedding cake has grown out of several different ethnic traditions. One of the first traditions began in Ancient Rome where bread was broken over the bride’s head to bring good fortune to the couple.
The modern wedding cake as we know it now originated at the wedding of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, in 1882; his wedding cake was the first to actually be completely edible. Pillars between cake tiers did not begin to appear until about 20 years later.
The wedding cake is the showpiece of any modern wedding. Elaborately decorated and often costingthousands of dollars, it is one of the key features of the wedding reception.
The first mention of the cupcake can be traced as far back as 1796, when a recipe notation of “a light cake to bake in small cups” was written in American Cookery by Amelia Simmons. The earliest
documentation of the term cupcake was in “Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats” in 1828 in Eliza Leslie’s Receipts cookbook.
Cupcakes have become a pop culture trend today in the culinary world. According to Google, “cupcake recipes” are the fastest growing recipe search.
The World’s Most Expensive Cake – A person living in the United Arab Emirates didn’t have a world record in mind when buying the most expensive cake ever purchased, when they were looking for something unique for their daughter’s birthday. That is exactly what happened; however, when cake designer, Debbie Wingham received a phone call that would change her life forever. Debbie designed the cake to look like a fashion runway; and with it being 1.8 meters (6 foot long), it appears that way, along with models (who you can eat), and wearing fashionable clothes and accessories, which are also edible. The majority of the cost came in when an abundance of gemstones were added, including $45 million worth of multi-colored diamonds. This 75 million dollar cake is now the record-holder for the most expensive cake in the world.
The oldest cake is 2 pieces from the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, dated 1840. The oldest intact cake dates from 1898 with only one large crack in the icing from a WWII bomb blast.
The tallest cake measured 33 m (108.27 ft) and was made by Hakasima-Nilasari Culinary School for the event Amazing Christmas and exhibited in Senayan City, Jakarta, Indonesia, from 28 November to 8 December 2008.
The longest cake measured 3,018.59 m (9,903 ft 5.88 in) and was achieved by Pasticceria DAF (Italy), in Trofarello, Italy, on 18 September 2016.
The largest cake sculpture measures 16.46 m x 13.94 m x 0.54 m (54 ft x 45 ft 7 in x 1 ft 9.25 in) and was achieved by National Association Cake Designers Italy in Milan, Italy, on 4 October 2015. The scultpure was made by 250 cake designers.
The most lit candles on a cake is 72,585 and was achieved by Ashrita Furman and the Sri Chinmoy Centre (both USA) at the Sri Chinmoy Centre in New York, New York, USA, on 27 August 2016. The cake was created in celebration of meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy’s life, on what would have been his 85th birthday.
The largest cupcake weighs 1,176.6 kg (2,594 lb) and was achieved by Georgetown Cupcake (USA) at Georgetown Cupcake’s national shipping headquarters in Sterling, Virginia, USA, on 2 November 2011.
The largest cupcake mosaic measures 138.56 square meters (1,491.44 sq ft) and was made by THE SPAR GROUP (PTY) LTD (South Africa), in Durban, South Africa, on 5 September 2015. The mosaic consisted of 33,660 cupcakes and was created as a tribute to the Springboks for the Rugby World Cup 2015 as well as raising funds during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Assumption Abbey in Missouri is the world’s only Trappist monastery that sells fruit cake on the internet (trappistmonks.com).
The Oxford Dictionary of Superstitions cites examples of cakes being made for superstitious reasons. A “soul cake”, in various parts of England, is made on All Souls’ Day and kept for good luck, while a “burial cake” was kept close to the head of a dead person, and one had to have a piece of the cake in one’s mouth when looking at the body.
The term “cake day” refers to an anniversary celebration – the term is most commonly used to describe the day of the year that a Reddit user opened his or her account.
The “cakewalk” dance originated in African American communities in the Southern United States and was originally a competition in graceful walking, with cake awarded as a prize.
The famous saying, “Let them eat cake” is the traditional translation of the French phrase “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, supposedly spoken by “a great princess” upon learning that the peasants had no bread. Since brioche was a luxury bread enriched with butter and eggs, the quote would reflect the princess’s disregard for the peasants, or her poor understanding of their situation.