Why do we put candles on a birthday cake?

If you’ve ever been presented with a birthday cake glowing by the light of one too many candles and thought to yourself with a pout: “Why do we put candles on a birthday cake anyway?”, you’re not alone.

Shoving a load of wax sticks into a perfectly attractive and delicious looking cake is quite an odd thing to do if you think about it. Not to mention a health and safety nightmare.

Candles on a Birthday Cake

What my birthday cake will probably look like next year | Image via Clipart Kid

So now that I’m at that stage in life when the cake is having to get larger to accommodate the required number of candles, I decided to find out exactly what this tradition is all about. And it seems that no one on the great big interwebs can agree on exactly where it comes from.

The ancient Greeks have got a lot to answer for, so it’s not that surprising they’ve got something to do with it. Apparently they baked round honey cakes and lit long taper candles to place at the altar of moon goddess Artemis. The glowing cakes supposedly looked like the moon and they believed that the smoke from the candles carried their thoughts and prayers up to the gods.

Birthday Cake Candles

Image via Yahoo

Sounds a lot like the idea of making a wish when you blow out the candles doesn’t it?

Well it seems the symbolism of candles is something that has carried throughout the ages, as they are also linked to the German Kinderfest in the 18th Century. Many think this is where our modern association of birthday cake and candles comes from. At that time, they believed you were more likely to be visited by evil spirits on your birthday and so they’d literally surround children with much merriment, a plain bread-like cake and lit candles to protect them. Sounds… a bit creepy.

Nowadays, the only evil spirits you’ll have to ward off are the ghosts of misspent youth and regret of all the times you passed on second helpings of dessert. That is, if you’re old like me, otherwise children’s birthday parties are usually delightfully raucous occasions full of cake, music and mischief!

One thing’s for sure, birthday cake and the whole ritual around it has evolved quite a bit over the years. What was once a very plain affair is now an opportunity to indulge your sweet tooth and playfulness. And that’s great news for us because, in case you hadn’t noticed, that’s totally our speciality.

Anges de Sucre Cake and Candles

I think I’d pass out if this monster was covered in candles that I had to blow out! Thankfully, rules about having the EXACT same number of candles as years you’ve been on this planet have relaxed a bit, which will also save you and your frosting from having a meltdown.

You don’t have to use this year’s birthday candle wish to ask for an Anges cake at your next birthday, life’s too short, you can contact us and order one now with delivery in London! We also recommend the not-so-subtle heavy hint dropping to your nearest and dearest. Just tell them to search for ‘Anges birthday cake’ and they’ll find us.

Leave a comment (all fields required)

Comments will be approved before showing up.