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