Happy birthday to you… happy birthday to you… happy birthday dear- aww, you can fill in the rest. What is it about Birthday Cake that gets everyone so excited? Parties can be fun, however, it doesn’t really get going full blast until those candles are blown out and the cake is cut. Do you feel me? I know you do. It’s as if the party is just an excuse for champagne and birthday cake, if you ask me.
Everyone has their favourite part of the birthday cake. For instance, are you a devoted icing gal? Or, are you the kind of person who lives for the spongy middle? Have you been known to obsess over the middle part, slowly eating the filling between the fluffy cake layers? Do you long to be the one to grab a decorative cookie or macaron off the top and eat it quickly so no one will notice… and try to do it again? Have you felt the shame of stealing a macaron from a child’s hands and then not admitting it when they cry out that you took it? Maybe that’s just me??
Here at Anges de Sucre we get it. We understand you because we’re as obsessed with making birthday cakes as you are with eating them! So, why do we love birthday cake so much? Let’s take a look at where they came from to get some clues…
Cakes for birthdays are believed to have originated in Germany in the 1400’s. They were almost exclusively for the wealthy, as they were the only ones to afford such luxuries back then. But the cakes then are absolutely nothing like the ones we have now- and thankfully so! Most were a simple sweetened bread dough and were made out of coarse and plain tasting ingredients. So, most likely you’d say, “No thanks!” to second helpings. The earliest known birthday cakes were in the shape of the moon and later developed into the more common round shapes we know and love today.
Cakes developed through the years and different cultures to include (let’s face it) the best part: the icing and decorations that make each cake unique. In medieval times, thimbles and coins and were poured and then baked into the batter. Can you imagine biting down on one of them? It’s not such a happy birthday when you’re spending it at the dentist's. This brings a whole new meaning to a “surprise party”. It was thought that the person who bit into the coin would get rich, while the unfortunate person who took a bite of the thimble would never get married. Cue a sad, slow version of “Happy Birthday” here. Yeah, not so much a ‘happy birthday’ but more like a, “You may die an old maid, but here’s some cake and sorry about your tooth”, birthday.
Let’s fast forward a few centuries to the rise of the birthday cake mix. With the Industrial Revolution came the invention of the dry baking mixes that were originally promoted for their convenience. England made the first known dry cake mix, a custard powder, that hit the markets in the 1840s. A few years later in the 1890s, pancake mixes became available to the public. It wasn’t until the 1920s that the mixes you’re familiar with for at-home birthday cakes first came onto the scene and rose to popularity. The famous Betty Crocker/General Mills combo hit mega-fame in the 1940s and still remain popular today! However, the look was super simple and the taste? Well, let’s just say you can tell it came from a box and could have possibly been made in the 1950s.
As the saying goes, “We’ve come a long way, baby!” Now you can get one of a kind, customisable, bespoke and super creative (not to mention DELICIOUS) cakes upon request- and you don’t have to be German royalty to do so. The fun thing about birthday cakes are that you can make it as specific for that person who’s celebrating getting a year older as you want! If you know someone who can’t stop pulling into a burger joint to get their fast food fix on- then check out the Triple Decker Fast Food Cake!
You can’t go wrong with a fudge brownie ‘meat’ patty sandwiched between a sesame-doughnut bun, then throw on some chocolate cheese and buttercream lettuce leaves, and don’t forget the ganache mustard and ketchup! If they’re more of a fried chicken fan, they won’t be left out with the chicken leg made of fudgy brownie and a chocolate covered biscuit with a popcorn bone and coated in what else? Why cookie crumbs, duh.
If your friend is totally tripping out that they’re getting more greys then it seems a slice of the LSD Cake is in order! Way better than the famous hallucinogen of the 60s, this cake will take you to new heights in just one bite! It’s silly and fun and has so many colours in it, you may think you’re in an alternate Universe, man.
Vanilla sponge cake layers that are so light and fluffy, you’ll think you’re riding a cloud. The buttercream icing is made with vanilla bean and then there’s the incomparable Swiss Meringue… along with Anges De Sucre’s signature Belgian chocolate glaze, then topped off with candied popcorn and colourful macarons – this cake will have you seeing stars! We say trade in the wrinkles for sprinkles and celebrate every minute you have. It’s kind of easy to do when you have this cake staring at you. Relax, it’s not really staring- it doesn’t have eyes… it’s ok, you’re just seeing things.
So now we know how deeply birthday cakes are a part of us! It’s no wonder it doesn’t feel like a celebration unless there’s birthday cake. The tradition has been around for a long time, and it’s ever growing and ever expanding in creativity, flavours and fun! Next time you blow out those candles, remember to make a wish and be grateful you won’t bite down on a thimble.