Archive for the ‘About Cake’ Category

Rosanna Pansino Shows Us How to Make a Grumpy Cat Cake

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Are you a fan of cakes and cats? Ever think of combining them? Probably not. But, trust us, this is actually a pretty cool idea.

If you’ve spent anytime on social media, you’re probably familiar with everybody’s favorite feline, Grumpy Cat. Well, now, thanks to YouTube user Rosanna Pansino you can make your very own Grumpy Cat cake.

To make the cake you’ll need the following things:

  • Two 6 in. x 2 in. chocolate cakes
  • Two triangle sugar cookies
  • Black decorative icing
  • Chocolate royal icing
  • Tan royal icing
  • Four colors of fondant — chocolate, pink, white, and light blue

We’ll let Rosanna fill you in on the rest. Good luck!

Is There a Mathematically Correct Way to Cut a Cake?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

According to Sir Francis Galton, a British mathematician, there most definitely is.

In a 1906 letter to the journal Nature, Sir Francis wrote “The ordinary method of cutting out a wedge of cake is very faulty.” He went on to explain the scientific principles of cake-cutting.

His suggestions were largely ignored at the time. But, a century later, that may be changing.

This last month, a video of author Alex Bellos demonstrating Galton’s cake-cutting technique has been circulating around the web with a largely positive reception.

Here’s the video:

From the Center Out

Galton argues that, if you eat your cake over several days, the traditional wedge technique exposes the moist cake to the air, drying the surface out. This results in subpar slices in the days following your first cut into the cake.

Instead, he proposes, you should cut long, thin slices from the center of the cake and then push the cake back together to seal in the freshness.

In his video demonstration, Bellos recommends wrapping a rubber band around the cake to hold the cake together and ensure no air gets in.

The Nay-Sayers Chime In

Of course, Galton’s method still has its critics. The cake in the video is made with a firm fondant frosting, which makes pushing the cake together and securing it with rubber bands much easier.

What about cakes with softer frostings? Would the rubber band dig into the sides of the cake? Would you even be able to push the cake together without destroying its structural integrity?

Watch the video and let us know what you think!

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Cake

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Whoopie PiesWe all know cakes are good eatin’. But they’re actually a pretty interesting subject too.

Cakes, in one form or another, have been around for thousands of years. And in that time, they’ve developed quite a backlog of trivia.

Here are 10 crazy facts about cakes for your next trivia night:

  1. Although the exact origin of cake is tough to pinpoint, ancient Egyptians are thought to have been the first to add honey to bread to make it sweet.
  2. Despite its striking color, red velvet cake is most often chocolate in flavor. These days, the bright red color comes from food coloring, but in the past, beets were sometimes used.
  3. In ancient Greece, people brought cakes adorned with lit candles to the temple of Artemis, goddess of the hunt. The lit candles were intended to make the cake glow like the moon, a symbol associated with Artemis. Some food historians believe this is the origin of birthday candles.
  4. The word “cake” is probably a borrowing from the Old Norse word “kaka.” We’re glad it’s not still called that. “Triple Chocolate Enrobed Kaka” is a tough sell.
  5. “Cakewalks” originated in African American communities in the Southern United States. They were originally a competition for graceful walking with cake awarded as a prize.
  6. The word “cupcake” was originally used in the late 19th century to refer to a cake made from ingredients measured by the cupful. It had nothing to do with the shape of the cake.
  7. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the tallest cake measured 108.27 feet high and was made by Hakasima-Nilasari Culinary School for the event Amazing Christmas.
  8. Cake, a bakery in Chester, England, made the world’s most expensive wedding cake, valued at $52.7 million. The cake had eight-tiers and was decorated with more than 4,000 diamonds. It was on display at the National Gay Wedding Show in Liverpool on March 3, 2013.
  9. Many food historians believe cheesecake originated in ancient Greece and was served to the athletes during the first Olympic Games held in 776 B.C.
  10. Cream filled whoopie pies got their names when Amish women made the cakes and put them in their husbands’ lunches. When the husband opened his lunch and saw the surprise, he yelled “Whoopie!”

Cakes are almost as interesting as they are delicious. Almost :)

Photo Credit: CC Image Courtesy of F_A

Why Is Cake (Typically) Round?

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Chocolate Mousse Torte CakeEver wonder why cakes are usually round? Us too, so we did a little research.

What we found is, similar to our quest to learn the origin of cake, answers are scarce.

While there doesn’t seem to be a definitive reason, food historians offer a couple theories for cake’s roundness:

#1 – It just kinda happened.

As we found out in a previous post, cake most likely evolved from the making of bread. And ancient bread was typically molded by hand into round balls, which naturally relaxed into rounded shapes when baked.

So… Viola! Round cake is born.

Some food historians think the round shape originated from this early bread making technique and just sort of got passed along through the centuries.

Not the most exciting origin story but a probable explanation nonetheless.

#2 – Gods prefer round cake.

In ancient times, some civilizations baked cakes as an offering to their gods and spirits.

A round cake was meant to symbolize the cyclical nature of life as well as the sun and the moon. For example, ancient Greeks made round cakes to honor Artemis, the goddess of the moon.

This theory could explain why we generally serve cakes at special occasions like birthdays, to symbolize the cycle of life.

***

It’s tough to say which theory is right because the history of cake is so fuzzy. Maybe both have some truth to them.

Whatever the reason, despite the many option out there today, round is the most popular shape for cakes, even the ones here at Bake Me a Wish!

Not the most satisfying answer to the round cake mystery, is it? If you need to drown your sorrows in a decadent, round chocolate cake, we won’t stop you ;)

Is German Chocolate Cake Really German?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

German Chocolate CakeNo. But the real reason for its name may surprise you.

There’s no getting around it — German Chocolate Cake did not originate in Germany. This is a common misconception. But the real story is actually pretty interesting.

Here’s what happened…

In 1852, an American named Sam German developed a sweet baking chocolate for Baker’s Chocolate Company. Neither Sam nor Baker’s were German. The company went on to name the product Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate, after its creator.

It wasn’t until over a hundred years later that the next part of the story developed.

On June 3, 1957, the Dallas Morning Star printed a “Recipe of the Day,” created by a homemaker named Mrs. George Clay, called “German’s Chocolate Cake.” The recipe called for the chocolate Sam German developed 105 years prior, and it became a huge hit.

The making of a national staple

The recipe for German’s Chocolate Cake was so popular that General Foods, which owned the Baker’s brand at the time, took notice. The company distributed the recipe to other newspapers in the US and sales for the chocolate skyrocketed!

Over the years, the cake became a national staple and today even has its own national holiday on June 11.

Eventually the possessive form (German’s) was dropped, making it “German Chocolate Cake.”

And there you have it — German Chocolate Cake isn’t German at all. It’s just named after the guy who developed the chocolate that was later used in a popular recipe.

Now, to complete your research, might we suggest ordering a German Chocolate Cake? You should always check your sources ;)

Who Made the First Cake?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

It’s no secret that we LOVE cake! But we were pretty surprised when we found out where cake actually came from.

The truth is, nobody really knows who invented the first cake. Bummer, right? It would be nice to know exactly who to thank for humankind’s tastiest achievement.

But that’s history for you. Most foods weren’t invented spontaneously but grew out of need, desire, the availability of resources, cultural attitudes, and other countless factors.

What we do know is that cake, as we know it today, probably evolved from bread. The two share a lot of overlapping history, which makes it tough to pinpoint any specific origin.

Bake Like an Egyptian

As far as food historians know, the Egyptians were likely one of the first cultures to sweeten bread with honey. These honey-sweetened loaves were flat and dense and were most likely served as a treat. But really it was still just bread.

The modern cake is light and airy thanks to leavening agents, which the Egyptians still didn’t have.

Not until the Romans did we start adding yeast to sweetened bread to make it more tender and soft.

Roman Colosseum Whip It Good

We can thank the Italians in the 16th century for ditching the yeast for whipped eggs and butter as a leavening agent — now we’re talking cake!

The problem was, while whipped eggs and butter made for a lighter cake, it was an extremely time-consuming process.

The introduction of bicarbonate soda and baking powder in the 1800s is what really pushed cake production into full gear.

And the Winner Is…

As much as we’d like to crown a hero for the invention of cake, we can see that cake has a complicated past. We know it started as bread and evolved out of hundreds of years of trial and error. And, as far as we can tell, the Egyptians, Romans, and Italians played significant roles in its creation.

But, ultimately, there is no one person or culture to thank for that scrumptious treat we call cake.

And, you know what? That’s okay. We’re just glad we have it!

Photo Credit: CC Images Courtesy of upyernoz and Ton Nolleos