‘Let Them Eat Cake’: History of 5 Cakes from Linzer Torte to Texas Sheet

Who knew that sitting down to indulge in a slice of cake could be an educational experience? Trust me, that cake you are just about to sit down and enjoy? It did not come about as a result of one blogger’s long day experimenting in the kitchen! Those familiar flavors that you know and love are actually the result of immigration, Pagan celebration, and bakers’ ingenuity.

While each cake has its own story, we can’t tell them all. However, you should know the origin behind a few of the classics. Therefore, to make your next sweet snack a little more interesting, here are five cakes that will fill your historical curiosity as well as your stomach.

1. Pound Cake

Pound cakes are one of the easiest desserts to bake. Heck, you don’t even need a bunch of cake recipes to bake one! All you need to do is remember the name and you know that you need 1 pound of butter, sugar, flour, and eggs.

Due to the simplicity of this cake, it wouldn’t be surprising if it were much older than the first written recipes for it that appeared in the 18th century. In fact, almost since the beginning, this recipe has had many variations. Some people add lemon while others add whiskey. Some brave souls tinker with the proportions and add leavener. Others simply sprinkle in a few dried currants.

No matter how you choose to bake this cake, the beauty of it is its ability to be a blank canvas. But, if you aren’t ready for that type of culinary freedom yet though, try this traditional recipe here.

 2. Bûche de Nöel

Also known to English speakers as a Yule log cake, this pastry comes from a tradition dating back to the Iron Age. Back then, real logs were anointed with trinkets from the forest and burned to celebrate the beginning of longer days. This tradition eventually transitioned into the baking of Yule-shaped cakes in the Middle Ages with the spread of Christianity.

The marzipan and merengue decorations that often adorn these sponge logs were popular choices that appeared on many Medieval tables. Sponge cake, however, did not make an appearance until around 1600 when the first known recipe appeared in Gervaise Markham’s recipe anthology, The English Huswife.

In the 19th century, Parisian bakers popularized the cake by competing to see who could festoon their sponge cake logs with the most elaborate decorations. This competition in turn not only memorialized this dessert as a decadent treat year round, but gave a French name to a cake that spawned from a Celtic tradition.

 3. Linzer Torte

The Linzer Torte is said to be the oldest cake in the world with its origins in Linz, Austria. Its earliest known recipe comes from a cookbook that is 350 years old.

However, even by there there were already four different variations on this classic cake. By the 19th century, the Linzer Torte had gained a following in the New World and its miniature form, the Linzer cookie, became a Christmas classic.

Despite the simplicity of this cake, it rarely makes an appearance outside the holiday season. However, the creativity that you can exercise when preparing this cake makes it an excellent addition to your baking repertoire. Don’t believe it? Try an easy recipe here.

4. Texas Sheet Cake

Texas sheet cake is as familiar to those outside of Texas as it is to those who live in the state. Even those who have never had a Texas sheet cake have likely sampled its cousin the German chocolate cake.

It would be a push to tell the difference between the two with your eyes closed, and for good reason – the Texas sheet cake is essentially the same recipe in a different form.

In 1957, this recipe came to the public’s notice when a Dallas newspaper printed a reader’s recipe for German’s Chocolate Cake. Once it was printed, this cake quickly gained popularity and the directions were almost instantly simplified to create what we now know as a Texas sheet cake.

Why is this variation called a Texas sheet cake? For the obvious reason that it focuses on baking with a large quantity of Texans’ favorite ingredients: buttermilk and pecans.

5. Fruit Cake

DE⬇ Vegan fruit cake with chocolate and booze! ?? As promised, the recipe for this yummy fruit cake is now on my blog www.elavegan.com direct link in my profile. ⬆ So many of you asked for the recipe, so go and check it out, this fruit bread was really delicious! ? On another note, it's pretty chilly here in the tropics right now. It's raining all the time and the temperatures dropped to 24 degree C (75 degree F) which is COLD for here. ? So I am sitting here with a sweater and a blanket. It's the perfect weather to enjoy that vegan fruit bread and a hot cup of chocolate. ? I was joking with Kirsten @thehealthyhazelnut about the Arctic temperatures in Florida and the Caribbean lol. ? A big thanks to my friend Dee @greensmoothiegourmet for sharing my "Marbled Banana Bread" on her blog today. ? Check it out if you want inspiration for 9 awesome healthy desserts for breakfast. ? . Hallöchen ihr Lieben, ich hoffe euch gehts gut. Das englische Rezept für mein Früchtebrot mit Schoki und Rum findet ihr auf meinem Blog www.elavegan.com ? Das deutsche Rezept folgt morgen. So viele von euch haben nach dem Rezept gefragt, also schaut doch bei meinem Blog vorbei. Das Früchtebrot war nämlich echt lecker. ? Ich schicke euch liebe Grüße aus der kalten Karibik. Hier regnet es fast durchgehend und die Temperaturen sind auf 24 Grad gesunken, was echt kalt für hier ist. ❄? Ich kuschel mich gleich in meine Decke und schaue mir eure Beiträge an ? . . . . . . #bestofvegan #Foods4Thought #LetsCookVegan #buzzfeast #gloobyfood #beautifulcuisines #veganfoodspot #veganfoodshare #f52grams #huffposttaste #befitfoods #feedfeed @thefeedfeed #vegancommunity #heresmyfood #yuminthetumREPOST #foodandwine #lovefood #ahealthynut

A photo posted by Ela ???? (@elavegan) on

Humankind’s love affair with fruit cake began early. So early, in fact, that there is evidence that the Romans enjoy a variation of this now-famous cake. By the time the British got their hands on a recipe in the 13th century, fruit cake was well-known across Europe. In fact, it became so popular that in the early 18th century fruit cake was outlawed in Continental Europe as it was considered “sinfully rich”.

Clearly, fruit cake was too good to be kept out of the kitchen though. By the early 19th century, it had come back into vogue and was considered an integral part to the quintessential British Tea.

This cake made it to America during the Victorian period where it found a new home in climates where fresh fruit was hard to store. Namely in the South. It was only after its appearance in the Southern United States that nuts were added to the recipe and the fruit cake that we all know and love to hate came to be.

Read More: 13 Wild and Wacky Ways to Enjoy Your Favorite Childhood Cereal