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.
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.
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!