“Tradition is to include one candle for each year—up to a certain point, when discretion and the surface area of the cake recommend only one or a few candles.” thenibble.com
Hmmm, Dear Readers, if tradition serves Miss NiNi correctly, either the surface area of the cake needs to grow, or else one or a few candles will suffice to celebrate my multiple-decades’ birthday. How about yours?
As a person ages, the number of candles on a birthday cake perhaps is also dictated by the amount of forced air one’s lungs can muster in order to extinguish the celebratory candles in one fell swoop! Might you agree?
On the other hand, maybe—just maybe “buy birthday candles” did not get recorded on a shopping list. Therefore, one, two, or however many unlit candles that have served as overrun from past celebrations now become official small-burning-tip-statuesque-like waxy projections on top of a Happy Birthday cake.
The Eternal Flame
Whatscookingamerica.net chronicles the history of birthday candles this way. “Birthday candles originally were placed on cakes to bring birthday wishes up to God. In ancient times, people prayed over the flames of an open fire. They believed that the smoke carried their thoughts up to the gods.”
Had you known that, Dear Readers? Miss NiNi certainly had not!
I have addressed the subject of birthday candles. However, what about the birthday cake, Dear Readers? Certainly, there had to have been a birthday cake even prior to the idea of adding candles and tiny flames! Wasn’t there?
Years and years and years ago, ancient Romans initiated the birthday celebration. Whether they placed candles on those cakes is your guess or mine as my source at whatscookingamerica.net did not say.
However, birthday celebrations were not only held privately among family and friends, but festive birthdays of past and present emperors and cities and temples were also observed. Rome must have been quite a party city, Dear Readers!
The celebration even became more exciting at the 50-year mark! A honey cake made of wheat flour, grated cheese, honey, and olive oil was the go-to type of cake.
There is a bit of contention in the annals of birthday-cake folklore heritage.
Germany also lays claim to its initiation. In the Middle Ages, the cake was not a typical birthday cake by today’s standards. The cake celebrated the birth of Jesus and was a sweetened bread dough made in the replica of Him in swaddling clothes. Later on, it emanated as a Kinderfest or a birthday celebration for a young child. whatscookingamerica.net.
Let’s not leave England out of this discussion, Dear Readers. “In medieval England, coins were mixed into the batter. The tradition continues there today.” thenibble.com. Perhaps, it is for good luck. My source did not disclose the reason.
The legend of the birthday cake with added celebratory candles has survived the test of time.
Day after day, the Miss NiNi Baking Team adds to those trickling sands of time in the hourglass. We create oodles of birthday cakes from scratch in various flavors, colors, and sizes! Some even picture the message, “Happy Birthday.” Others commemorate the event with creative art work. Our decorators love to explore the possibilities of cake-and-frosting ingenuity!
Will there be coins mixed into the batter of Miss NiNi’s birthday cakes, Dear Readers? It’s doubtful. However, if you request it, we will create it!
Above all, it does not matter if the cake came before the candles or the candles preceded the cake. Both cake and candles are recognized as joy-bringers to a special day in time.
Bake the cake! Light the candles! Sing Happy Birthday! It’s time to celebrate!