cake, originally a small mass of dough baked by turning on a spit in present usage a dessert made of flour, sugar, eggs, seasonings, usually some leavening and liquid besides the eggs, and shortening. This last ingredient is not always used unshortened cakes depend mainly on beaten eggs for leavening (e.g., spongecake and angel food cake). The early method of making sweet cake was by adding other ingredients to a portion of bread dough. Some cakes, such as fruitcake or poundcake, called for many eggs and for wine, brandy, or sack (an Elizabethan wine) these ingredients supplying the leavening agent. Modern cakes are generally raised with baking powder, baking soda, or beaten eggs.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Food and Cooking

Browse by Subject