having my cake

I got to have me some cake this week.¹ I ate it, too. And this cake-having inspired me to think about cake. So I’ll be serving up a list of cake-oriented things for this week’s ThThTh.

Bon appétit!

A Cake List

  1. Cakes are used for lots of holidays and celebratory events in many cultures. Some examples include birthday cakes, going away cakes at office parties, French bûches de Noël or German stollen at Christmas. Also…
  2. Wedding cakes. Usually elaborately decorated multi-tiered cakes meant to serve all the guests at a wedding. They can be quite tall, and easily knocked over or smashed for comedic effect in movies or sitcoms.
  3. stripper in a cake. A tradition (if it really happens outside of TV and movies) of having an exotic dancer jump out of a large cake-shaped container. (You can make your own, if you like.) (I toyed with making a list of movies/shows where you see a stripper cake, but could only remember “Under Siege,” where the stripper fell asleep in the cake. Anyone have any others?)
  4. sexy cakes. A sketch on Saturday Night Live with Patrick Stewart as a baker of cakes decorated with erotic images. That is, erotic if you have similar ideas to the baker as to what’s “sexy”. (The video seems not to be up on the SNL website, but you can read the transcript. Come on, go read it. It’s funny. Especially if you imagine Patrick Stewart’s dignified stentorian voice for the baker’s lines.)
  5. “Let them eat cake!” A phrase attributed to Marie-Antoinette, reflecting her insensitivity to the hungry masses who could not afford to buy bread. It was likely not really said by her. (And certainly not in English.) Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote of someone using a similar phrase under similar circumstances in 1767, several years before Marie-Antoinette even arrived in Versailles.
  6. the icing on the cake. An expression meaning an additional bonus, benefit, or other desirable thing. As in something good on top of something else that’s good.
  7. cupcake. A small individual serving-sized cake. Also an endearment.
  8. babycakes. Another, even cutesier, endearment. (Want to see something creepy? Check out this YouTube video of someone making a realistic sculpted baby cake. Perhaps not as deeply unsettling as bread made to look like dismembered body parts, but creepy nonentheless.)
  9. Pat-a-cake. (or Patty-cake). An English nursery rhyme. Also used for a clapping game.

    Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man.
    Bake me a cake as fast as you can.
    Pat it and roll it and mark it with “B”
    And put it in the oven for Baby and me.

  10. a piece of cake. An idiomatic expression meaning “easy.” As in “eating up all that chocolate was a piece of cake.”
  11. have your cake and eat it, too. An expression describing a desire to have things 2 different ways that are not compatible. More along the lines of “save your cake and eat it too.”
  12. takes the cake. An expression meaning “the most extreme example,” such as the winner of a contest or other comparison. As in “I thought Martin was a geek, but his brother Andy really takes the cake.”
  13. Cakewalk. A game, set to music, where the winner gets win a cake. I hadn’t realized it had origins as an actual dance:

    Cakewalk is a traditional African American form of music and dance which originated among slaves in the Southern United States. The form was originally known as the chalk line walk; it takes its name from competitions slaveholders sometimes held, in which they offered slices of hoecake as prizes for the best dancers.[1] It has since evolved from a parody of ballroom dancing to a “fun fair” like dance where participants dance in a circle in the hopes of winning a free cake.

  14. Cake. A band. My favorite song of theirs is probably their cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I will survive.”


¹ Actually, what I technically had was a celebratory fresh fruit tart, with a preamble of a couple of donuts holding some candles. But these were symbolically cake:

11 thoughts on “having my cake

  1. woah, woah, wait, you mean that chicks don’t jump out of cakes in real life? my whole mental paradigm is just all kinds of whacked out now. and i guess i can stop stripper lessons…

    and happy birthday!

  2. Happy Birthday!

    If I may add to the list.. One of my favorite cake incidents is on Seinfeld when Elaine eats her boss’s $29,000 slice of cake from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s wedding, and tries to replace it with an Entenmann’s. I just found a clip of all the cake related scenes from that episode- it’s 7 minutes, but worth watching if you have time, at least, it made me laugh:

    ps. I had a number of difficult apostrophe decisions to make in this comment. I hope you approve of my choices.

  3. That choco cupcake makes me want cake again. I should have saved an extra piece in the freezer. My favorite Cake song is Going the Distance.

  4. Well, if it is your birthday, forget about figure and diet for once would be wonderful.
    Besides, the cakes do look delicious… yum yum…

  5. fireweaver-
    You know, it’s possible that chicks do really jump out of cakes. Of all the chicks I’ve known, though, none of them emerged from a cake to my knowledge. And of all the cakes I’ve eaten, virtually none of them contained humans of any sort. But I’m not terribly knowledgeable about strippers.

    They are a great band, aren’t they? With some great horns.

    Ah, that is a most excellent addition to the cake list. Thanks for that! (And I sympathise with your apostrophe angst. I have no quibbles.)

    The trouble with cake is that you can never actually keep it around for later. It always manages to get itself eaten right away. Often with the result of belly aches. (And as for “Going the Distance,” I never fully appreciated that one, even though it was the frist Cake song I’d heard. I think I prefer more melodic songs.)

    Yeah, crazy. Though I think maybe I was alread 29 when I met you. But it’s still a whole lot of birthdays. I assume you have also had a few of them in that time period yourself. But I can’t believe as many as I’ve had. (Are you sure you’re not still 25? Because I remember that birthday of yours.)

    Um…thanks? I actually never have any compunction about eating cake.

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