As many of you know I had the pleasure of doing a short segment on Fox News 35 Orlando a few days ago about National Cake Day! It was such a nervewrecking but awesome experience. 

Because I’m a baker, it makes sense that I love talking about cakes! (which is basically my bread and butter for my business! Pun completely intended!) Cake is super delicious and has become a huge part of our society. I mean there’s cake at weddings, birthdays, going away parties, or any party really.

I mean how many times a year do you eat cake? Probably, a lot if you have a lot of friends and family and you go to every event. While there’s no official number, it’s estimated that the population of the world consumes about 50 million cakes a day!

But where did cake come from? Let’s show you where this delicious pastry got it’s start. 

The Beginning

Fresh bread in some form was a staple for almost every culture.  It’s also the mother of all other pastries!

Cake has it’s origins dating back to ancient times. While no definitive date or inventor is known, there have been records of sweet breads, similar to cakes mentioned as far back as ancient Egypt.  The difference in the language is that breads were not sweetened and cakes were sweetened.

The original cakes were more like honey and nut topped sweet breads.  They usually had different types of fruit (either dried or fresh) baked inside to create variety.  They were more expensive and were usually enjoyed by the wealthy or used as offerings to the gods. 

As the popularity of cakes grew, the types and flavors of cakes started to grow with it. 

Ancient Greece started doing more savory sweet treats with nuts, honey and herbs. (Closest in flavor would be baklava. A sticky rich dessert with pistachios, honey and a thin crispy dough called phyllo.) They called cake πλακοῦς (plakous), which came from the word for “flat.” They also invented beer to use as a leavener (make the cake rise)!

In Rome, they started making a dish similar to cheesecake but made from goats milk and topped with nuts, dried fruit and honey. 

The Evolution of Cake

As history continued, cake evolved along with the various technologies and discoveries of spices, refined sugar, baking powder and different techniques.  

The term ‘cake’ comes from the old Norse (yep, the Vikings!) word ‘kaka.’ Their cakes were closer to gingerbread and were dense and flat.

Iced cakes didn’t come into popularity until 18th century England! 

  Modern cakes got their start in Europe in the 1700’s.  The first icing was more of a glaze made with sugar, milk and sometimes vanilla. Bakers would put on the glaze during the last few minutes of baking so that when it cooled it would form a type of sugary coating or crust.  

The more fluffy type icing came about when bakers added well beaten egg whites to the glaze to make it stand up more. 

Nowadays, cakes are just as much a work of art as they are yummy.  With thousands of flavors, hundreds of cake types, and a little imagination, some pretty amazing cakes can be crafted. 

What are your favorite flavors? Would you try some of the ancient cakes? Comment below!