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A cake is a form of food, usually sweet, often baked . Cakes normally combine some kind of flour, a sweetening agent (commonly sugar), a binding agent (generally egg, though gluten or starch are often used by vegetarians and vegans), shortening (usually butter or margarine, although a fruit puree can be substituted to avoid fats), a liquid (milk, water or fruit juice), flavours and some form of leavening agent (such as yeast or baking powder).

Cake is often the dessert of choice for meals at ceremonial occasions, particularly weddings or birthday parties. The bride and bridegroom are the first to eat their wedding cake, often serving each other a piece in their fingers. For birthdays, a frosted (iced) cake, often with inscriptions in frosting and figural decorations, is covered with candles, which are blown out after the celebrant makes a wish.

The difference between a cake and a biscuit is that a cake has a higher level of moisture than the average moisture content of air, whereas a biscuit has a lower level of moisture than air. Hence, a cake will go hard when left in air and a biscuit will go soft.

German Sahnetorte
German Sahnetorte


Cakes can be made using several different basic techniques:

  • Creaming method - butter and sugar are creamed together before the rest of the ingredients are gradually added.
  • Melt-and-mix - dry ingredients are mixed together and then melted butter and other liquids are added to complete the cake.
  • Rubbing method - butter is rubbed into the dry ingredients before the liquid is added.
  • 'All-in-together' - the dry ingredients and shortening are placed in the food processer and liquid is gradually added.
  • Sponge-making - eggs and sugar are whipped to a froth and flour is carefully mixed in. No raising agent or fat is used in this method and it takes great skill to make a light sponge.

A finished cake is often enhanced by frosting (icing) and/or toppings such as snickers bars.

Common varieties

Commonly made varieties of cake include:

Related topics

Last updated: 02-11-2005 17:47:38