We’ve got the Egyptians to thank for the tradition, the Greeks for the cake and the Germans for the parties!
The birthday tradition dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who believed that when pharaohs were crowned, they became gods. So their coronation day was their ‘birth’ day. (Sounds like a sweet gig until you find out there’s no desert desserts.)
It was the Ancient Greeks who adopted this tradition and added cake. Why cake? Well, the Greeks needed something to offer up to Artemis, goddess of the moon, as tribute on their birthdays. The Greeks set to baking moon-shaped cakes and decorating them with lit candles so they shone like the moon. That was one bright idea!
The first actual birthday cake was for children’s birthdays in Germany in the Middle Ages. This was called Kinderfest. Each year, the child would receive a cake and one candle for every year of their life, and one extra to symbolise the upcoming year. But there weren’t any gifts – just good wishes. (Cake with no presents? I would’ve been in tiers!)
Birthday cakes haven’t always been as delicious as they are now. Sugar was very expensive and difficult to come by so sweet cakes were only for the very wealthy. To our relief, the Industrial Revolution brought easily-accessible sugar and other ingredients. Today, we can bake cakes from scratch or even buy them pre-made.
So go ahead, cake
my your day!
Baking a Cake?
Baking a cake for an upcoming birthday? Impress with this rainbow cake!
This cake is a fun idea, easy to do and comes with its very own baking tin. In the box are four pre-coloured mixes to make each layer bright and different – all you need to add is the milk, eggs and butter.
What is the left side of a birthday cake? The part that’s not eaten!