so i've just finished whipping up the biggest chocolate mud cake i've ever made in my life (with 700g of pure chocolate!, i know right!) for my Grandma's 90th birthday and it made me think.. where the flip do "birthday cakes" come from?! i did some research:
In classical Roman culture, 'cakes' of flat rounds made with flour containing nuts, leavened with yeast, and sweetened with honey were served at special birthdays. In early Europe, the words for cake and bread were virtually interchangeable; the only difference being that cakes were sweet while bread was not.
During the 17th century, the birthday cake took on more or less its contemporary form. However, these elaborate cakes, which possessed many aspects of contemporary cakes (such as layers and decorations), were only available to the very wealthy. Birthday cakes became more and more proletarianized as a result of the industrial revolution, as materials and tools became more advanced and more accessible.
so there you have it. it seems EVERYTHING traditionally western goes back to medieval/renesance Europe.
have a great weekend