Cake: A Global History by Nicola Humble

By Nicola Humble

Be it a birthday or a wedding—let them devour cake. Encased in icing, topped with candles, emblazoned with congratulatory words—cake is the final word nutrition of occasion in lots of cultures all over the world. yet how did cake grow to be the basic foodstuff marker of an important get together? In Cake: a world History, Nicola Humble explores the meanings, legends, rituals, and symbolism connected to cake throughout the ages.

            Humble describes the numerous nationwide alterations in cake-making thoughts, customs, and neighborhood histories—from the French gâteau Paris-Brest, named for a cycle race and designed to mimic the shape of a bicycle wheel, to the yank woman Baltimore cake, most likely named for a fictional cake in a 1906 novel through Owen Wister. She additionally info the function of cake in literature, paintings, and film—including omit Havisham’s imperishable marriage ceremony cake in Great expectancies and Marcel Proust’s madeleine of memory—as good because the paintings and structure of cake making itself.

Featuring a wide number of mouthwatering pictures, in addition to many examples and recipes for a few quite strange truffles, Cake will offer many candy purposes for celebration.

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Extra resources for Cake: A Global History

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The cake ‘proper’ evolved in Europe, and where it has spread around the world it has done so largely as a result of colonialism. South Africa has a significant cake culture which it derives particularly from the Dutch and German settlers who began to arrive in the mid-seventeenth century. They soon discovered highly fertile land which allowed them to establish an excellent wheat crop, and led to the development of a strong tradition of baking. 7 Cakes in Latin America owe much to the influence of Spanish and Portuguese culture.

Because there is a central problem: how do we know a cake when we see one? Is a cake a cake because it is round, or because it is flat? Is it because it is soft, or because it is compressed? Is it a cake if it is made light and spongy with eggs or baking agents? Can it still be a cake if the raising agent is yeast? Or does cake-ness instead depend on the structural role the food plays? If it is the sweet centrepiece of a celebration, is it a cake? If it is served with tea in the afternoon, or coffee in the morning, does it qualify?

Start to trace the history of cake and you are soon lost in a thicket of competing definitions. Because there is a central problem: how do we know a cake when we see one? Is a cake a cake because it is round, or because it is flat? Is it because it is soft, or because it is compressed? Is it a cake if it is made light and spongy with eggs or baking agents? Can it still be a cake if the raising agent is yeast? Or does cake-ness instead depend on the structural role the food plays? If it is the sweet centrepiece of a celebration, is it a cake?

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