Did Cake Exist in Ancient Times?

Cake is a beloved dessert that has been around for centuries. But did it exist in ancient times? The answer is not as simple as a yes or no.

What is cake?

Before we delve into the history of cake, let’s define what exactly cake is. Typically, cake is a sweet baked dessert made with flour, sugar, eggs, and butter or oil. It can be flavored with various ingredients like vanilla, chocolate, or fruit puree and can be frosted or decorated in many ways.

History of Cake

The concept of baking sweetened bread-like desserts dates back to ancient civilizations. The Egyptians were known to make a type of cake-like bread sweetened with honey and dried fruits. The Greeks also had their version of cake called “plakous,” made with flour, cheese, honey, and bay leaves.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, cakes were typically reserved for special occasions like weddings or religious holidays. These cakes were often richly flavored with expensive spices like cinnamon and cardamom and decorated with edible gold leaf.

It wasn’t until the 18th century that cake began to resemble what we know today. The introduction of refined sugar allowed for sweeter cakes to be made and advancements in baking technology made it easier to produce lighter and fluffier cakes.

Ancient Cakes?

So did ancient civilizations have something similar to what we call cake today? While they may have had desserts that resembled modern-day cakes in some aspects, they were not quite the same.

For example, the Roman Empire had a dessert called “satura,” which was a flatbread made with olive oil and flavored with spices and dried fruits. However, it was not sweetened like modern-day cakes.

In ancient China, a dessert called “mooncakes” was eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. These round pastries were filled with sweet bean paste or lotus seed paste and had elaborate designs on top. While they may resemble cakes in appearance, they are not made with the same ingredients.


In conclusion, cake as we know it today did not exist in ancient times, but the concept of sweetened bread-like desserts has been around for centuries. It’s fascinating to see how desserts have evolved over time and how different cultures have their unique take on them.

So next time you enjoy a slice of cake, think about its rich history and how it has evolved into the delicious dessert we know and love today.