Cake: A Global History

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Reaktion Books, May 15, 2010 - Cooking - 144 pages
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Be it a birthday or a wedding—let them eat cake. Encased in icing, crowned with candles, emblazoned with congratulatory words—cake is the ultimate food of celebration in many cultures around the world. But how did cake come to be the essential food marker of a significant occasion? In Cake: A Global History, Nicola Humble explores the meanings, legends, rituals, and symbolism attached to cake through the ages.

            Humble describes the many national differences in cake-making techniques, customs, and regional histories—from the French gâteau Paris-Brest, named for a cycle race and designed to imitate the form of a bicycle wheel, to the American Lady Baltimore cake, likely named for a fictional cake in a 1906 novel by Owen Wister. She also details the role of cake in literature, art, and film—including Miss Havisham’s imperishable wedding cake in Great Expectations and Marcel Proust’s madeleine of memory—as well as the art and architecture of cake making itself.

Featuring a large selection of mouthwatering images, as well as many examples and recipes for some particularly unusual cakes, Cake will provide many sweet reasons for celebration.

 

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Contents

When is a Cake not a Cake?
27
1 Cakes through History
30
2 Cakes around the World
50
3 The Culture of Baking Cak
76
4 The Rituals and Symbolism of Cake
91
5 Literary Cakes
108
6 Postmodern Cakes
129
Recipes
137
References
148
Select Bibliography
153
Websites and Associations
154
Acknowledgements
156
Photo Acknowledgements
157
Index
159
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Nicola Humble is professor of English literature at Roehampton University.  She is the author of Culinary Pleasures: Cook Books and the Transformation of British Food, as well as Victorian Heroines: Representations of Femininity in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Art.

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