Home Today Is 1785 Marks The First Reference To “Birthday Cake” (+ 26 Other Fun...

1785 Marks The First Reference To “Birthday Cake” (+ 26 Other Fun Facts)

November 26 recognizes a dessert that you will find at almost everyone’s birthday party whether they are age 1 or over 100.  It is also the dessert of choice for bridal and baby showers, wedding receptions, retirement parties and just about any social event. Add ice cream, and you have America’s top favorite desserts in the same dish!

  • Of Viking origin, the word cake is derived from Old Norse “kaka”. Cake then was more like gingerbread due to the availability of refined ingredients.
  • The history of cake dates back to ancient times, and the first cakes are thought to have been made in Ancient Greece and Egypt.
  • These first cakes were rather heavy and flat and were eaten at the end of a meal with nuts and honey. Nowadays, this type of cake has evolved into baklava, a traditional Greek dessert and a must-try for any fan of sweet stickiness.
  • The Oxford English Dictionary traces the English word cake back to the 13th century.
  • During the Great Depression, it was necessary to provide easy, relatively cheap food to millions of Americans who were living in poverty, and the boxed cake mix was born. The idea turned out to be pure gold, as millions of housewives all over the United States took advantage of this way to make their lives easier.
  • The proverb ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it’ first appeared in the early 16th century. The proverb ‘a piece of cake’ was not coined until the 20th century.
  • In Scotland, and parts of Wales and northern England, cake took on the specific meaning of ‘a thick, hard biscuit made from oatmeal’.
  • More than 29% of U.S. school districts have banned bake sales due to anti-obesity regulations.
  • The saying “You can’t have you cake and eat it”(originally “eat your cake and have it”) is first seen in print in 1562 in John Heywood’s ‘Proverbs and Epigrams.’
  • The first birthday cake was originally a cake given as an offering on a person’s birthday. The first reference to ‘birthday cake’ came in 1785.
  • During the 17th century, in England, people believed that keeping fruitcakes under the pillow of those who are unmarried will give them sweet dreams about their fiancee.
  • In Scotland, and parts of Wales and northern England, cake took on the specific meaning of ‘a thick, hard biscuit made from oatmeal’.
  • From the 17th to 19th centuries, Scotland was humorously known as the ‘Land of Cakes’ and until comparatively recently. Hogmanay was also known as ‘Cake Day’ from the custom of calling on people’s houses at New Year and having cake.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • The oldest cake is 2 pieces from the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, dated 1840The oldest intact cake dates from 1898 with only one large crack in the icing from a WWII bomb blast.
  • 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 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.


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