When you’re celebrating a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to have some cake. The traditional birthday cake is a round layer cake covered in frosting and decorated with small lit candles representing the celebrant’s age. The icing and decorations can be flavored and colored to match the theme of the party, or even personalized with the person’s name and/or age. Other variations include cupcakes, cake pops, pastries, and more.
The tradition of birthday cake can be traced back to Ancient Greece, where cakes were made to honor Artemis, goddess of the moon (her twin brother was Apollo, god of the sun). Cakes were usually shaped like the moon and adorned with lit candles to symbolize the glow of the moon. It was believed that the smoke from the candles would carry wishes up to heaven. It’s thought that this is the origin of our modern practice of blowing out the candles and making a wish.
A birthday cake can be flavored in many different ways, but the most popular is vanilla. Many people also prefer a more fruity flavor, such as strawberry or funfetti, which are both festive options for kids’ birthdays. Chocolate is another option that’s perfect for adults and children alike, and can be paired with any kind of icing or frosting.
It’s easy to see why this dessert is so popular — it’s delicious and reminds us of happy memories. But what’s the magic behind birthday cake that makes it so irresistible? According to flavor scientist Tom Gibson, it’s the “emotional connection” we have with this classic dish. Gibson explained that when we’re feeling down, it’s natural to crave comfort foods. That’s why we turn to birthday cake flavored treats when we need a little extra happiness in our lives.
Birthday cake flavor isn’t naturally occurring, but rather it’s a combination of flavors and ingredients meant to mimic the taste of a classic birthday cake. This type of flavor became widely known in the 1980s and 1990s, when food manufacturers began releasing cake mix and frosting with the label “birthday cake.”
When you’re making your own birthday cake, or picking up a pre-made one from the grocery store, there are many different ways to customize it to make it unique and special for the person you’re celebrating. Some of the most common customizations include:
There are endless ways to decorate a birthday cake, from simple sprinkles to elaborate fondant toppers. You can even use a stencil and a piping bag to create a custom message or design on the top of your cake.
If you’re not a fan of the typical vanilla flavor of a birthday cake, you can substitute pure vanilla extract with vanillin to get the same effect. But be aware that the flavor will be slightly different from what you’d expect from pure vanilla — vanillin has a more powdery, synthetic taste than vanilla extract.