The History of the Birthday Cake

People have been celebrating birthdays with special baked cakes for thousands of years because as Julia Child famously said “a party without cake, is just a meeting!” but have you ever wondered who we can thank for this sweet birthday gift?

Well….. Birthday cakes are believed to have originated in Germany in the 1400s. Before this time cakes were almost only used for the celebration of weddings but bakeries began to market them for birthdays.

Late in the 17th century, birthday cakes were being made more elaborate with exciting details like icing and sponge layers making them the perfect centre piece. However, because of this cakes were only affordable by the wealthy and upper class due to the high priced ingredients.

In the 18th century, food and baking utensils became more accessible and therefore affordable meaning the price of cakes went down and the number of cakes being produced went up considerably.

In Ancient Greece, Artemis was the goddess of the sun and it is said that cakes were brought to the temple of Artemis adorned with candles. The lit candles represented the glow of the moon. Once the candles have been blown out the smoke carries the special wish to the gods in the skies. The purpose of the candles is to represent the “light of life” and a candle is to be placed for each year of their life.

Patisserie Valerie offers a wide range of birthday cakes online that will be the perfect centre piece just like Artemis would have wanted!


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birthday cakes | celebration cakes | special occasion cakes | cake history

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