Cake Terminology

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

In American baking terminology, a cake is anything, large or small, filled or unfilled, made from a sweet batter, whether dense or light. In most other Western baking traditions, “cake” is not the general term that it is in American English. In the United Kingdom, a cake is what Americans might call a “plain cake” and usually refers to a dense baked good such as Madeira cake, similar to what Americans might call a pound cake, or to a fruit-laden Christmas cake (U.S. fruitcake). See fruitcake and pound cake. In the United Kingdom, a layer cake is referred to as a “sandwich sponge,” “sandwich,” or by the French term gâteau. See layer cake.