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7 Things You Need to Know About the History of Cake

May 30, 2018

 

Hello, dear readers. Above is a picture of a display cake I finished last week (that magnolia flower and those ruffles are made entirely out of sugar...SWOON.). This week I'm prepping for a couple of new orders, but I'm not quite ready to post about those creations just yet. In the meantime, I thought I’d provide some fun facts about the history of cake to help get you through the post-holiday workweek:

 

1) When cake mix was originally invented in 1933 by P. Duff and Sons in Pittsburgh, it came about due to a surplus of molasses

 

2) The "short" in strawberry shortcake ain't got nothin' to do with the height of this tasty treat; it actually refers to an old British version (think 15th century) of the word "short" which referred to the high fat content in the cake recipe. Adding a lot of fat to the dry ingredients coats the proteins in the flour and inhibits gluten production, resulting in a cake with a slightly crumbly and tender texture. For more nuggets on the science of baking, click here.

 

3) Chocolate cake first made its appearance in the late 1800s and it was originally referred to as "Mahogany Cake" despite being much lighter in color than its modern-day counterpart.

 

4) According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "cake" likely comes from the Old Norse word "kake".

 

5) Queen Victoria's wedding in1840 was one of the first to feature a cake with pure white icing, hence the name "royal icing".

 

6) The first wedding cakes in ancient Rome weren't sweet at all and were actually loaves of bread. The loaves were broken over the bride's head for good luck and fertility. Aren't you glad we're not in ancient Rome? 

 

7) Wedding cake is surprisingly regional. The United Kingdom typically rolls with fruit cake, Indonesia has kek lapis, Greece brings us the flourless almond cake, Ukraine has the korovai, and France has the croquembouche. 

 

There is so much more information out there about the history of cake, including this interesting tidbit about baking powder. But hopefully these seven little fun facts helped you continue procrastinating, and slowly ease back into your work week. 

 

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