A Brief History of Cakes

Watch the video above for a quick synopsis of this post. 

The earliest examples of cakes were found in Neolithic villages. Experts and archaeologists have discovered that simple cakes were made by these people through the use of crushed grains that were moistened, and after they were compacted they were cooked on a stone that was heated with fire.

The Neolithic Age or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 10,200 BC, according to the ASPRO chronology, in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world and ending between 4500 and 2000 BC.

Ancient breads and cakes were sometimes used in religious ceremonies. These were purposely fashioned into specific shapes, according to the observance. Round & circle shapes generally symbolize the cyclical nature of life. Most specifically, the sun and moon. Cakes baked in molds could be shaped and decorated to look like animals (Easter lambs), castles & crowns (Bundt & Turk’s head) or fancy jewels. Enriched yeast breads share the same place at holiday tables.

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Cakes are always the gift of choice during celebrations in current times. As we evolved from cave dwelling ape to the sophisticated modern man, cakes and its variety, have evolved together with us. Search under “cakes” and pamper yourself with the myriad of cake options to choose from.

The Modern Duke’s Pudding

The Russian Whiskers

The Emperor’s Romance

Birthday candles originally were placed on cakes to bring birthday wishes up to God.  In ancient times, people prayed over the flames of an open fire.  They believed that the smoke carried their thoughts up to the gods.  Today, we believe, that if you blow out all your candles in one breath, your wish will come true.

During the Middle Ages, baking is a luxury few are able to enjoy. But for those who can afford a wood-burning stove and to heat it, they would start with bread. The better the quality, the higher up is the person in the social hierarchy. The rich ate fine, floured wheat bread. But if you were poor you cut your teeth on rye and black bread.

In the 15th century, the explosion of expensive spices, such as saffron were well accepted by the affluent in the society. Sweet dough, with lots of cream and butter, start to be enjoyed by those who could afford it.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, baking is transformed by globalisation, which heralds an explosion of treacle and currants. Plump cake and bready dough with lots of butter, cream and raisins become popular. Amid growing wealth and social change, people could think about eating things other than bread, and imitate the upper-class diet.

 

“I Love You”

Blueberry Cheese Cake

Calorie-free Fun Cake

In the 18th century, cake making soars in popularity, but the industrial revolution from 1760 sees a return to more stodgy baked goods.

In the 19th century, convenience food grows in popularity, and the advent of baking powder sees cakes become lighter. As more working class women were employed in the 19th century, they had less time for elaborate food preparation.

Cakes symbolise the importance of the person you bought it for, since in the old days, ingredients like refined sugar, nuts and dried food were expensive. Although they are not as expensive today, the message still holds through.

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Credits And References:

http://www.historyextra.com/feature/brief-history-baking

http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodcakes.html

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