Baking,  Cakes,  Culinary History,  Desserts,  Food History,  History

A Brief History of Cake

I know we have chatted about cake on here before. You can see some more posts that I wrote about the history of certain cakes here.  But the actual history of this confection is something that I have wanted to take a deeper look into.

Cake is probably one of the oldest human desserts. The word “cake” came into the English language from the old Norse Viking word “kaka”. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks were some of the first people to make cake. However, they were not the fluffy layer cakes that we think of, but more dense and heavy with a more bread-like consistency. They were often also sweetened with honey and stuffed with dried fruit.

The medieval ages saw a rise in cake making. Europe can be credited with creating the cake as we know it. But these cakes were often still heavy, packed with fruit and risen with yeast. In many cultures, cake became part of important religious or traditional rituals such as the moon cakes that are still eaten at certain festivals in China.

Like the history of candy, the history of cake rises with the growing availability of white refined sugar. As sugar became more available, so did the other ingredients to make cakes like we know them today. Baking powder was introduced that made it easier to make light cakes. By the turn of the 19th century, cake took its place as part of every housewife and cooks baking repertoire.

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