The origins of the Birthday Cake!
We have one every year, on the same date, but when and where did celebrating birthdays with a cake become popular?
Apart from the party, the next important part of a birthday party is the cake! They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, colours and flavours, and some very extravagant!
I've teamed up with Stef Collins of S&P Cakes to showcase her fabulous cakes, and to talk a bit of cake history.
As old as time itself
Birthday cakes have been a part of birthday celebrations in Western European countries since the middle of the 19th century. However, the link between cakes and birthday celebrations may date back to ancient Roman times.
In classical Roman culture, 'cakes' were occasionally served at special birthdays and at weddings. These were flat circles made from flour and nuts, leavened with yeast, and sweetened with honey.
In the 15th century, bakeries in Germany began to market one-layer cakes for customers' birthdays in addition to cakes for weddings.
During the 17th century, the birthday cake took on its contemporary form. These elaborate 17th century cakes had many aspects of the contemporary birthday cake, like multiple layers, icing, and decorations.
However, these cakes were only available to the very wealthy. Birthday cakes became accessible to the lower class as a result of the industrial revolution and the spread of more materials and goods.
Birthday candles also are required...
There are a few theories, but we like this one: putting candles on cakes goes back as far back as Ancient Greece to honour the goddess of the moon Artemis, where the candles represent the glow of the moon and the smoke carries prayers to the Gods.
In more modern times candles are placed on the cake and represent the number of birthdays the birthday person has had. A rendition of 'Happy Birthday" is often followed by cheers and blowing out the candles - and don't forget to make a wish!
Who are S&P Cakes?
S&P Cakes are Stef and Paul - a family with a passion for cakes!
Stef is the creative partner, having been making cakes and sweet treats since 2012. Arguably her most important commission was that of her sisters wedding cake - see for yourself, and Paul is marketing and publicity.
Stef creates imaginative cakes for all occasions: 'cats on the bed' is one of my favourites!
All the cakes featured are by Stef (except the one that says 'Happy birthday to You!).