History of Birthday Cakes

The why and whens of celebatory sweets

Birthday cakes are considered a timeless party-dessert. Coming in several concepts - like cartoon-inspired cakes for kiddie birthday parties, elegantly embellished cakes for 21st and 18th birthday parties, even witty and naughty concepts for the mature birthday parties. But have you ever wondered what made birthday cakes a must-have for birthday parties?

The word "cake" is said to have its roots from the 13th century word "kaka" which is an Old Norse. It is served in round shape as a symbolism of the cycle of life. Apart from the deeper meaning, it is also because the early birthday cakes were baked in stones and shallow pans, hence, it�s easier to mold them into rounds.

According to several sources, historians believe that the concept of birthday cakes began with the ancient Greeks. The Greeks used to make round or moon-shaped bread that are sweetened with honey and offered these to the goddess of moon, Artemis. This is also the same reason why traditional birthday candles are attributed to the Greeks. Candles are placed on the birthday cake to make it glow like the moon while the smoke carried the wishes and prayers to the gods.

Ancient Romans, meanwhile, celebrated three different birthday types: private celebrations, birthdays of cities and temples and the birthdays of past and present members of the imperial family. A birthday cake made of wheat flour, grated cheese, honey and olive oil was served to signify 50th birthday celebrations.

Another take on the concept of birthday hails from Germany in the Middle Ages. Birthday cakes were made in the shape of the baby Jesus to commemorate his birthday. Later, these birthday cakes were also present in "Kinderfests" or kiddie birthday celebrations. Another type of birthday cake from the Germans is called "Geburtstagorten" which was baked in layers.

The English had a different custom during the medieval times when it comes to birthday cakes. They placed symbolic objects such as coins and thimbles inside the cake batter. Coins signify wealth while the thimbles mean being unlucky with marriage.

The modern birthday cakes may have its great resemblance with the European birthday cakes during the 17th century. During this period, there were advancements in baking as a result of the development of technology such as ovens and food moulds. The first icing used for birthday cakes was made from fine sugar, egg whites and flavorings. The term icing was coined because it gave the birthday cake an ice-like glossy finish.

The cake-baking techniques continue to evolve as birthday cakes remain to be a constant birthday party essential. Some Melbourne and Sydney birthday party venues offer complimentary birthday cakes that are just as fun and yummy with the birthday cakes from renowned bakeshops. Find your unique birthday party venue (appropriate for your ideal birthday cake!) using!

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