Monday, March 7, 2011

I could be the next great baker

Over the past month I have been fascinated with professional cake decorating. I have spent countless hours in front of the television watching Ace of Cakes on the Food Network and Cake Boss on TLC. I thought to myself, “that doesn’t look so hard. I could make a cake like that in no time.”
This was the final product

I figured this was a perfect time because a friend of mine was celebrating his 23rd
 birthday. I started my list and headed out to the store to grab all the supplies I would need. Now in the past I have done some simple cake decorating with butter cream icing but never used fondant before. Let me tell you boys and girls, it’s a lot of work.
In total I spent about three days making a cake and that included all the preparing, baking, decorating, and cleaning. With all that time spent alone in the kitchen I started thinking to myself, “why did I even start this? and where did the tradition of birthday cakes come from?"

Many historians have their different opinions of where the birthday cake originated. It is believed that the Ancient Greeks were the first to start this tradition. The story goes, “the Greeks offered round shaped cakes to the Goddess of Moon called Artmis. It is for this reason that even candles were placed on the cake to make it glow like the moon.” (source)

Some other interesting cake facts I found were:

  • Millions of years ago Celtic people used ago cakes in a ritual. When celebrating a festival called Beltane, they lit bonfires at the top of a hill and rolled cakes down the hill. If the cake didn’t break, they believed it would bring good fortune.
  • In England during the 17th century people believed keeping fruitcakes under the pillows of those who were unmarried would give that individual sweet dreams about a fiancĂ©e.
  • During the medieval times in England people would place objects like coins, rings, and thimbles in the cake batter. It was believed that those who found the coins in the cake would become wealthy and those who found the thimble would never marry. The lucky individual who found a ring in the cake would soon be married.

Today cakes have become apart of so many different traditions it’s hard to keep track of the original purpose. Either way i'll eat a nice piece of cake if you make it next time. 

External Links:
History of Cakes
Birthday History


  1. This cake looks so awesome, Kait! I like watching those cake shows too, mostly because I'm jealous of their creativity. I don't see myself as an overly creative person, so I'm amazed by some of the ideas and attention to detail that designers come up with.
    Would you consider yourself a creative person to begin with? (ie. did this design come to you naturally) or are there templates and guidelines out there for design-challenged people such as myself?

  2. I did not know that is how cakes orginated. Some seem kind of odd. Your cake looks fantastic for all the hard-work you put in to it. I guess you show that it does take time, effort and determination to finish a cake. All I can say is I would not be able to do what you did.

  3. I love watching these shows. It seems as though people want cakes made for just about every occasion possible lol. Your cake looks amazing! I don't think I would have the patience to do something like that.

  4. Great job on the cake! It looks amazing! I definitely would not have the patience to decorate it the way you did!

  5. Your cake is so good! I don't think I could sit still long enough to do that. I love Cake Boss, that show is a guilty pleasure. I don't really have any interest in baking but for some reason I can't change the channel when its on.

  6. Your cake looks amazing! I would never be able to do something like this. My best friend just started a cake business and she is loving it. I really enjoy seeing what new designs cake designers are coming up with.

  7. Your cake looks great! I love cakes, yummy.. I think that you can show all your apretiation for a person with this kind of details. Defenetely, You made the day for your friend!

  8. WOW, this cake look amazing. I love watching Cake Boss as well, but never though at attempting to try to make one myself. I love cooking/baking, but my final product never seems to look half as good as it tastes. This looks like it would have taken forever, you could do a blog strictly on your dessert designs and sell them!

  9. That is so interesting! I remember going to a birthday party when I was little that have coins and such baked into the cake. I got the thimble :( ahah that would be my luck!

    Great job on the cake!

  10. Wow, your cake looks fantastic! I also watch Cake Boss. I love when Buddy shouts "This is a big cake!" every 5 minutes. Was working with the fondant really difficult?

  11. Aisling,
    Working with fondant was hard on the hand especially when I had to mix the colours. Mixing colours takes longer then baking the cake so I would recommend doing this in advance when you have extra time so decorating doesn't take that long.
    I reminded me of when I used to play with playdoh as a kid.

  12. Supposedly buddy is my godfathers nephew in NJ, I'm going to visit him this summer. But all I know is I love eating cakes.

  13. That cake looks amazing Kait. Good job.
    I like watching Cake Boss too, but I have never tried to make a cake like that. I'm sure it wouldn't turn out as well as your's did.