A Brief History of the Birthday Cake

When was the last time you thanked the Romans for birthday cake?

Baked Alaska Birthday Cake

Ever wonder how our quaint rituals surrounding birthdays and cake came to be? Let these fun facts about birthday cake history enrich your experience the next time you blow out the candles.

Putting candles on cake was a Greek innovation

In Ancient Greece, worshippers brought moon-shaped cakes to the temple of Artemis, the goddess of the moon and the hunt. The cakes were decorated with lit candles in order to make them glow like the moon.

The Romans baked the first birthday cakes

They made cakes of flour, nuts, yeast, and honey to celebrate weddings and the occasional 50th birthday (only if the birthday boy was a famous citizen, and women's birthdays weren't celebrated anywhere until the 12th century).

Kids' birthday parties became a thing in Germany

The Germans probably first celebrated birthdays in a manner similar to how we do today. In the 18th century, Kinderfeste (which sounds like a great name for a German theme park) was a party held for a child. In the morning, a cake was topped with lit candles. The child did not blow them out, though. Instead, they were left to burn all day until after dinner, when the cake was eaten.

The Industrial Revolution was the great cake equalizer

Mass-production made it possible for everyone, not just the 1%, to purchase an elaborate multi-layer cake. Ingredients, tools, and prepared cakes became much less expensive. Frosting for everyone!

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