Cakes and the traditions they tie to often date back to ancient beliefs and superstitions, Baking a cake was a little expensive and time consuming, so only occasional event qualified for a cake.
Birthday cakes: go back to at least the ancient Romans, and probably the Greeks before that. The round cake may have had something to do with the Moon, as did the candles to make it glow. But no one is quite sure of the facts here.
The Moon festival, or Harvest Moon festival, defiantly had the shape of cakes inspired by the Moon. Celebrated on the full moon in September or early October the tradition goes back several centuries before Christ.
Simnel cakes, made with marzipan or almond paste, are traditional for the Easter period on the United Kingdom and Ireland. They were given decorations appropriate to the occasion, such as depictions of the twelve apostles. The origin of the tradition is unknown, but goes back to at least the 13th century.
Galette Des Rois: a French cake eaten after Christmas. It is made of puff pastry topped with fine sugar.
Mochi cakes are rice paste cakes usually prepared for New Year’s Eve. It is easy to mould into different shapes, hence the variety of cakes made.
Red tortoise cakes are rice cakes made around a sweet filling, shaped like a tortoise shell and coloured red. Eating tortoise was associated with longevity and good fortune the cakes were eaten on Chinese New Year and on the birthday of a young child.
For many centuries cakes were usually round. As the events they commemorated occurred once per year the roundness symbolises a reoccurring event. Now special occasion cakes tend to be shaped and decorated according to the event or the individual in question, not the fact that the traditions occur annually.
Wedding cakes in western culture for the last few generations tend to be stacked tiers, almost always white. Modern variations can either borrow from other cultures of simply be creative with something of personal significance to the bride and groom.
Talk to Sweet Oliva in Sydney for any Wedding cake ideas.