Food can be a lot more than just a source of energy and something to keep you going in an increasingly busy world.
For many people, it is a way of marking occasions, celebrating special events, or even banishing the blues when they feel down. In every society across the globe, there is some form of cake that has been created, with its own unique history and tradition.
In addition to this, there is also no shortage of amazing facts about cakes from around the world that will completely astound you!
Digestive Facts About Cake
1) A Billion Cakes are Made Each Year …You might think that baking your own cake to celebrate someone’s birthday or other special occasion is common sense, but what you probably did not know was that 1 billion cakes are actually baked by people around the world each and every year to mark all manner of different occasions.
2) Cake is a Traditional Celebration Food … People across the globe have baked cakes for thousands of years to celebrate weddings, birthdays, New Year’s Eve and even the Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton back in April 2011. In fact, according to research carried out at Cambridge University there is good evidence that cakes were being baked as long ago as 3500 BC by ancient Egyptians who used them as offerings to their gods. Other early civilizations, including those from China and Peru, also used cakes to celebrate very special events in people’s lives.
3) The First Printed Cake Recipe …The first printed cake recipe appeared in 16th century France and was included in a publication entitled ‘Le Menuscrit de la Cuisinière’. The French cake was called the Sablé and it originated from the Normandy region of France. It is very easy to make and consists of only butter, sugar, flour and eggs – all things which you would normally have in your kitchen! Even today it remains one of the most popular cakes across France.
4) A Very Unusual Cake ..Cakes throughout history have been made with some unusual ingredients such as sweet potato slices (which were used by U.S soldiers during World War I), maple syrup (which is used by Canadian bakers) and even carob powder (a fruit that resembles chocolate). Perhaps one of the strangest recipes for a cake comes from Ancient Egypt where people used to bake them with fish inside instead of the traditional fruit and cream filling.
5) The Most Expensive Cake …The most expensive cake in the entire world is one that has been baked using ingredients that are rare, including edible gold leaf, champagne grapes (which are grown in very special conditions) and Tahitian vanilla beans. It was produced by UK-based company Hello!Product Plc who won an award at the International Hotel & Restaurant Association World F&B Congress back in 2004 for creating it. One slice of this magnificent creation costs about $2,600!
6) A Halloween Cauldron Cake …Did you know that cakes were actually baked all the way back in 16th century England to celebrate All Hallows Eve? They were produced in the shape of cauldrons and had fruit inside them.
7) The Most Popular Birthday Cake …Most people who live in America will tell you that the most popular type of cake to be baked is a simple white one which has chocolate chips (or even chocolate frosting) on top of it. This combination was created by Ruth Graves Wakefield back in 1938 after she cut into her chocolate bar and realized that there were bits of it missing. She then decided to chop up some chunks of this bar and stick them onto the icing layer on another chocolate cake that she had just made. The result was an amazing new taste sensation – a magical moment that quite literally changed the history of cakes!
8) A Recipe for Disaster …Of course, no article about cakes would be complete without mentioning the Great Fire of London which all began in a bakery back in 1666 when King Charles II and his wife Catherine were visiting the city. The royal couple had been staying with Sir Thomas Fairey at his manor house on Pudding Lane (one of the oldest roads in London).
At around 2 o’clock that morning, they were woken up by one of their servants who accidentally knocked over a candle into a basket of bread rolls that was stored close to the fireplace in their bedroom. All hell quickly broke loose, and in just four days, The Great Fire completely destroyed much of an entire city sector and left thousands homeless and hungry.
9) A Cake with a Secret …Do you know why many cakes contain secret compartments? The answer is that they were originally used in ancient times when people would have to break the cake into equal pieces to share it among their guests. The smallest piece was known as ‘the king’s piece’ and its size purposely made sure that the person who broke the cake received this part.
This ensured that nobody was jealous or envious of another because everyone had an equal chance of obtaining it. However, once sliced up all these parts were kept apart so that no one knew which piece was actually ‘the king’s. Decades later during Victorian times, when Queen Victoria began taking afternoon tea, she asked for her favourite almond based cakes to be baked with a small silver trinket hidden inside them. These days many people choose to bake cakes containing surprise gifts on special occasions for this very same reason.
10) A Cake that Changed History? …In addition to the famous Aztec Sun Cake which is believed to have been used as a form of ritual sacrifice there was one famous cake from Ancient Greece that also changed history – It was known as Omphale’s Cake and it was baked by the Spartan Queen, Omphale, in honour of her lover, Heracles. Historians believe that this might have been the first-ever recorded historical occasion when a cake was not eaten but actually thrown at someone instead!
This specific cake contained nuts and dried fruit which would have meant that it got stuck in the victim’s hair after it was thrown at them. Omphale also chose to sling Heracles in her own luxurious robe instead of allowing him to wear his lion skin which was traditionally worn during the time when he had completed one of his heroic tasks (for example slaying 100 beasts in a single day).
11) A Cake that Would Make You Sick …One peculiar type of cake known as ‘Queen Anne’s Pocket’ became especially popular in 18th century England. If you wanted to enjoy this particular dish today, it would definitely be best served with a glass of wine because the main ingredients used for its recipe were rum or brandy!
12) The Fattest Man Ever …One very fattening cake was originally baked for the U.S Ambassador to France, Thomas Jefferson in 1789. It was also known as a ‘Bachelor’s Cake’ because of its ingredients (16 eggs and 500 grams of sugar).
13) A Very Hungry Bee… Throughout history, many very unusual cakes have appeared, but if you want one of the most disgusting recipes around, try ‘Honeycake’ which originated in Ancient Rome. This tasty dish contained donkey’s milk, cheese, fish eggs and honey (and it got its name because all this weirdness had been cooked inside a beehive).
14) A Winner at Wimbledon …The Wimbledon Tennis Championships have been going since 1877, and back in 1897, one of the most famous cakes ever seen was made especially for the event. This beautiful creation had been decorated with green icing all around its rim to represent grass. It also featured sugar tennis balls originally made from caster sugar, but these days they’re more commonly found made from marzipan.
15) An Unusual Wedding Cake… Many unusual weddings have taken place over the years, but only a few have chosen wedding cakes that are almost impossible to top! One of these very special cakes was baked in Victorian England when a royal guest was about to visit a couple who were getting married.
When he arrived at their house he noticed that there weren’t any cakes available so someone quickly baked one while he was there. This unusual cake contained boiled potatoes, brandy and dried fruit so it could have been eaten, but instead, the guest broke it up because everyone wanted to keep pieces of this entertainingly weird creation as souvenirs!