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In Celebration of Cake!
Cake. It needs no introduction. From birthdays to weddings, and everything in between, no food stuff remains quite so popular. Except perhaps for humble pie in reference to the latter…

No matter the event, cake always brings a hefty serving of occasion. Whether made from scratch or boxed from a bakery, nothing makes a special day quite like a slice of Victoria Sponge. So, seeing as today is National Cake Day, why not indulge in a portion of Red Velvet and enjoy these little-known facts?


The first cupcakes were so called after their popularity blossomed in the late 19th century. Baked in cups and made from ingredients measured by the cupful, the earliest mention of the cupcake comes from American Cookery of 1796 by Amelia Simmons.

That's way before that episode of Sex and the City. Modern historians cite the broadcast of Season 3, Episode 5, of HBO’s (unfathomably) successful show with making the cupcake popular after two of the main characters sat upon a bench outside the Magnolia Bakery on West 11th, Manhattan. We firmly believe that cupcakes were already popular by then...

Stirring things...

Methods of preparing raw mixture pre-date the invention of kitchen utensils. Before the whisk came to be, aspiring chefs used to whisk egg whites with a bundle of sticks. Icing used to be spread on cakes with a feather.

The term of 'cake' has a long history. The word descends from Viking origin, stemming from the Old Norse phrase 'kaka'. The earliest examples of the food were more like bread due to the cooking methods employed. It wasn't until the renaissance that sponge cake was first produced.

Christmas Cake!

Christmas Cake is a fairly modern invention, replacing the much older ‘Twelfth Cake’ during the latter part of the 19th century.

Twelfth Cake was eaten at the feast of Epiphany towards the end of the Christmas season, with one bean placed into the cake mixture. The person who found the bean in their slice became King for the feast, and led the gathering in drinking games.

That would certainly be a way to liven up the office Christmas party.

Wedding Cake!

A tiered wedding cake is now synonymous with any couple’s big day. However, that’s not always been the case. It wasn’t until 1858 that the first ‘proper’ wedding cake debuted during the wedding of Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter.

The Queen’s own wedding cake, 18 years earlier, was instead three yards (2.7 meters) wide and weighed in at 300 pounds [136kg] upon a single tier. Segments of this cake were passed through the wedding ring before being handed out to the bride’s unmarried friends to place under their pillow. This action was believed to allow girls to dream of their future husband.

Britain's Best Selling Cakes!

Although various court battles have proclaimed that Jaffa Cakes are actually biscuits, by the terms of name alone, the citrus-infused snack remains Britain’s best selling ‘cake’. Euro Shopper lead the sales pack, with McVities in close second.

Tunnocks’ chocolate teacakes reside in second place, with Happy Shopper Bakewell Flapjack and Chocolate Flapjack as runners up. Happy Shopper Apple Pies and Real Lancashire Eccles Cakes also prove popular.

Top 3 brands based on sales YTD

  • Happy Shopper
  • McVities
  • Bobbys

For more information on Britain's cake sales data, get in touch with our data team.

For more information on The Retail Data Partnership, check out our homepage.
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