A SHORT & "SWEET"
HISTORY OF CAKES

The history of cakes begins in ancient times...


history of cakes

According to food historians, the ancient Egyptians were the first culture to show evidence of advanced baking skills. But, the first cakes were very different from the moist chocolate cake we're familiar with today. Then they were more bread-like, sweetened with honey, and nuts and dried fruits were often added. In fact, in early Europe, the words for cake and bread were virtually interchangeable; the only distinction was that cakes were sweet while bread was not.

The English word for "cake" traces back to the 13th century. It's derived from an Old Norse word, "kaka".


The history of cakes continues...

It was sometime in the mid-17th century that the forerunners of modern cakes (round ones with icing) were first baked in Europe. At that time, cake hoops--round molds for shaping cakes that were placed on flat baking trays--became popular, but only among the well-to-do.

In the middle of the 19th century, the practice of eating cake on a regular basis by "average people" became attainable thanks to the Industrial Revolution. Baking ingredients and tools became more affordable and more readily available to home bakers. The introduction of modern leavening agents (baking soda & powder), the supply of cheaper ingredient substitutions (corn syrup for sugar; margarine for butter), and the production of more reliable ovens made it increasingly possible for the middle-class to enjoy this confection by the late 1800s. Because of this, a plethora of simple cake recipes began to show up in cookbooks.


The history of cakes is "topped off" with...

The first frosting for cake was usually a boiled combination of the finest available sugar, egg whites, and (occasionally) flavorings. This "icing" was poured on the cake and then the cake was returned to the oven for a short time. After the cake was removed, the icing cooled quickly and formed a hard, glossy coating. In the first few decades of the 20th century, buttercream frostings (which use butter, cream, powdered sugar, and flavorings) began supplanting conventional boiled icings.



history of cakes

Follow these links to learn more about specific types of chocolate cakes:

BIRTHDAY CAKES
Long before they were actually called "birthday cakes", cakes were an integral part of birthday celebrations, stretching back to the Ancient Romans...

CUPCAKES
In the early 19th century, the term "cupcake" had two different culinary meanings...

RED VELVET CAKE
A type of rich, sweet layer cake with a distinctive red color...

LAYER CAKE
Layer cake is a cake comprised of multiple layers, usually held together by frosting or another type of filling, such as jam or other preserves...

TORTES
A chocolate torte won't always have layers, but, when it does, a thick covering of icing is placed between the layers, and there's almost always icing on the top and sides as well...

TRUFFLE CAKE
The ultimate chocolate truffle experience...

LAVA CAKE
An individual chocolate cake served hot so its gooey center can be enjoyed at its peak...

CHEESECAKE
The ultimate!

POUND CAKE
Any cake made with a 1:1:1:1 ratio of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar is considered a pound cake...

BUNDT CAKE
Chocolate dessert cake cooked in a Bundt pan, forming it into a distinctive ring shape...

COFFEE CAKE
A coffee cake doesn't necessarily contain coffee...




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