Cake: A Global History by Nicola HumbleCake: A Global History by Nicola Humble

Cake: A Global History

byNicola Humble

Hardcover | May 15, 2010

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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.

About The Author

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.

Details & Specs

Title:Cake: A Global HistoryFormat:HardcoverDimensions:144 pages, 7.75 × 4.75 × 0.8 inPublished:May 15, 2010Publisher:Reaktion BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1861896484

ISBN - 13:9781861896483

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Customer Reviews of Cake: A Global History


Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction: When is a Cake not a Cake?

1  Cakes through History
2  Cakes around the World
3  The Culture of Baking Cake
4  The Rituals and Symbolism of Cake
5  Literary Cakes
6  Postmodern Cakes

Select Bibliography
Websites and Associations
Photo Acknowledgements

Editorial Reviews

"It was a really fun read. The book looks at the origins of cake and the way it has evolved over the years, the different cultural emphasis placed on cake over the years, the role of cake in literature (with one of the most obvious cakes to my mind being the decaying wedding cake that was so symbolic in Dicken's Great Expectations), and the changing face of cakes given the current popularity of cupcakes and modern structural cakes like those that you can see on shows like 'Ace of Cakes' and the 'Cake Boss!'"