A birthday cake is a cake eaten as part of a birthday celebration.
Birthday cakes are often layer cakes with frosting served with small lit candles on top representing the celebrant’s age.
For many people, the birthday cake is the highlight of a birthday party.
There is no standard for birthday cakes, though the “Happy Birthday” song is often sung while the cake is served in English-speaking countries, or an equivalent birthday song in the appropriate language of the country.
Before the cake is eaten, the person whose birthday it is should make a wish, blow out the candles in one try – this would guarantee that the wish will come true.
To represent a sharing of joy and a sense of togetherness, the cake is shared amongst all the guests attending the party.
The Romans baked the first birthday cakes. They made cakes of flour, nuts, yeast and honey to celebrate weddings and the occasional 50th birthday.
In the 15th century, bakeries in Germany began to market one-layer cakes for customers’ birthdays in addition to cakes for weddings.
During the 17th century, the birthday cake took on its contemporary form. These elaborate 17th century cakes had many aspects of the contemporary birthday cake, like multiple layers, icing, and decorations. However, these cakes were only available to the very wealthy.
Birthday cakes became accessible to the lower class as a result of the industrial revolution and the spread of more materials and goods.
The phrase “happy birthday” did not appear on birthday cakes until the song “Happy Birthday to You” was popularized in the early 1900s.
The birthday cake is often decorated with small candles, secured with special holders or simply pressed down into the cake.
In many cultures the person whose birthday is being celebrated is invited to make a wish, and blow out candles. Though the exact origin and significance of this ritual is unknown, there are multiple theories which try to explain this tradition.
According to some sources putting candles on cake was a Greek innovation. In Ancient Greece, worshippers brought moon-shaped cakes to the temple of Artemis, the goddess of the moon and the hunt. The cakes were decorated with lit candles in order to make them glow like the moon.
According to other sources the tradition of adding candles to the top of a birthday cake comes from Germany. In 18th century Germany, the history of candles on cakes can be traced back to Kinderfest, a birthday celebration for children. This tradition also makes use of candles and cakes. German children were taken to an auditorium-like space. There, they were free to celebrate another year in a place where Germans believed that adults protected children from the evil spirits attempting to steal their souls. In those times there was no tradition of bringing gifts to a birthday – guests would merely bring good wishes for the birthday person.
A reference to the tradition of blowing out the candles was documented in Switzerland in 1881. Researchers for the Folk-Lore Journal recorded various “superstitions” among the Swiss middle class. One statement depicted a birthday cake as having lighted candles which correspond to each year of life.
According to Official Guinness Records, 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 World’s Most Expensive Birthday 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.
There are many variations of sweets which are eaten around the world on birthdays. The Chinese birthday pastry is the shòu bāo or shòu táo bāo, a lotus-paste-filled bun made of wheat flour and shaped and colored to resemble a peach.