Definition of cake in English:



  • 1An item of soft sweet food made from a mixture of flour, fat, eggs, sugar, and other ingredients, baked and sometimes iced or decorated.

    ‘a fruit cake’
    [as modifier] ‘a cake shop’
    [mass noun] ‘a mouthful of cake’
    • ‘Petite, buttery madeleines are nothing more than moist little cakes baked in a pan with shell-shaped indentations.’
    • ‘We shared a slice of cake and it proved to be a light and refreshing way to round off the meal.’
    • ‘I've experimented with baking cakes with these flours, and the result is remarkably grainy and indigestible.’
    • ‘Once the mixture is smooth, spread it over the cake and decorate with thyme flowers.’
    • ‘At first I needed the coffee to get me over the shock of the price of the cake.’
    • ‘Gâteaux Bretons are larger cakes made of rich better, poured into a cake mold, scraped with a fork, then baked until golden brown.’
    • ‘In fact, it is a genuine snack spot with scones, teacakes, cakes and biscuits being the staple fare.’
    • ‘Then they started to hit out, and we seemed to lose the will to win - perhaps it was something the opposition put in the cream cake they'd given us for tea.’
    • ‘And using buckwheat honey gives the sweetness a full bodied taste, something not often found in most sweet cakes.’
    • ‘Home-made jams, biscuits, cakes, sweets and marmelades are ideal presents for those with a sweet tooth.’
    • ‘There were speeches and the cutting of an anniversary cake.’
    • ‘Lauren paused to start on the biggest piece of chocolate cake we'd ever seen.’
    • ‘Desserts, sweets, cakes, biscuits, and pastries are considered to be luxuries.’
    • ‘To begin with, it was all puddings and cakes and sweets, and I would make fudge, toffee, nougat.’
    • ‘The large Christening cake was cut and divided up.’
    • ‘Food consisted of bagels, speciality savouries, pastries and cakes.’
    • ‘While baking the cakes and galettes I started cooking dinner.’
    • ‘Now she manages to control her feelings by avoiding sweet foods such as cakes, chocolate and even bananas.’
    • ‘Using tea instead of water in the recipe gives the honey cake a nice foundation and added depth of flavor.’
    • ‘Their wedding cake was a sheet cake decorated to look like a hockey arena.’
    • ‘The candles on the 30th birthday cake were lit and blown out, the cake was cut and shared and the real Gala began.’
    • ‘Headteacher Lisa Tudor said the rule even applied to children bringing in birthday cake from home to share.’
    • ‘Now, go take advantage of being the birthday girl and have a big piece of cake for me.’
    • ‘The carrot cake was delicious and then there was a cheesecake - not what I had asked for.’
    • ‘Little chefs can bake a cake or delicious muffins in the two-shelf oven or store extra plates and bowls in the cupboard.’
    • ‘There was a small cake decorated with whipped cream and chocolate.’
    • ‘Christmas is a few days away and it is time for choirs and concerts when you are not baking cakes and decorating your Christmas tree.’
    • ‘Processed foods such as cakes, cookies, mayonnaise, and corn chips contain hydrogenated oil.’
    • ‘If you really want to delight your guests, send them home with a cake of their own - a copy of the recipe attached to the top.’
    • ‘Now if someone offered me a cream cake I would turn it down and it's no hardship.’
    gateau, kuchen
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1British The amount of money or assets available to be divided up or shared.
      ‘you have not received a fair slice of the education cake’
      • ‘This means that some people don't get the share of the cake they need, as their parents may be less financially secure than the Loans Company makes them out to be.’
      • ‘Without the present generation of working people and their families there would be nobody to pay our pensions and we should see they get their fair share of the national cake.’
      • ‘We want a better deal for country and coastal communities in terms of services, their share of the cake and their quality of life.’
      • ‘Councils nationwide collect business rates for the Government, which in turn shares out the cake according to its own peculiar system of interpreting need.’
      • ‘Dividing the cake fairly is never easy: it is a thankless task, and subject to much criticism by pressure groups.’
      • ‘I know figures can be produced which will show Carlow has done very well in recent years but compared to other counties I don't think it has enjoyed an equal share of the cake.’
      • ‘But they said the area continued to receive a smaller share of the cake than was warranted by the amount of crime committed in it.’
      • ‘When it comes to dividing up the cake, there will be nothing left when the silly, expensive initiatives of the metropolitan areas have been gorged.’
      • ‘For a long time, central and local governments in Taiwan have fought incessantly over taxes, or a bigger share of the cake.’
      • ‘He has rightly given a privileged role to renewables, saying they must rise as a share of the energy cake to 10 per cent by 2010.’
      • ‘It has moved from talking about growing the cake, to now getting on with the job of deciding how it will divide the cake up.’
      • ‘India has grand plans to have a substantial share of the cake and expects to earn substantial additional funds by 2007.’
      • ‘The corporate sector could not be securing a bigger part of national income cake too.’
      • ‘It was just a matter of dividing the national income cake into more equal slices by means of redistributive taxation.’
      • ‘Now, there are three or four other independents looking for a share of the cake.’
      • ‘Fellow Namibians let's be fair to each other and share the national cake equally.’
      • ‘That will mean the cake will have to be divided 16 ways (of course the Warriors would benefit from their own gate revenue etc).’
      • ‘At the end of the day, the result is that the same, not very large, cake is being divided up in a slightly different way.’
      • ‘As the fight for a share of this cake becomes ever more fierce, the newcomers and smaller players are the ones who could suffer, especially if all they have to talk about is a car repair.’
      • ‘With profits near record highs Britain's workers have started to ask for a bigger share of the cake and in many cases are getting it.’
      • ‘Business Line charts out the way the cake has been divided.’
      • ‘He was being questioned by members about schemes, job predictions and Bradford's share of the funding cake.’
      • ‘The share of the cake of our liberation struggle has not been equal.’
  • 2An item of savoury food formed into a flat round shape, and typically baked or fried.

    ‘a starter of goat's cheese and potato cakes’
    • ‘Don't confuse suet cakes with similarly shaped seed blocks.’
    • ‘Your genuine latke is a cake of grated potato and a little onion, bound with an egg and fried in oil.’
    • ‘Once all the mix is filled, shape them like cakes and shallow fry in vegetable oil or clarified butter until crisp and golden on both sides.’
    • ‘Then again there was the place where the woman of the house gave you something for the road, such as a cake of bread or a pot of jam and the boss would give you a few shillings to spend on the way home.’
    • ‘This should be eaten with Paputtu, made with broken rice rava, sprinkled with grated coconut and steamed into a flat cakes cut into diamond shapes.’
    • ‘These roots were ground, then boiled to make soup or shaped into cakes and stored for later use.’
    • ‘They do the eggs runny here, which I like, and the potato cake is surprisingly light.’
    • ‘Fred's paternal side of the family is German and he suddenly had a hankering for these potato cakes his grandmother made him when he was a child.’
    • ‘I chose lightly spiced spinach and chickpea potato cake served with basmati rice, mint yoghurt and mango chutney.’
    • ‘Flake some on a green salad, mix some into a pasta salad, or shape some into salmon cakes.’
    • ‘To serve, spoon three small amounts of mushroom cake on to warm plate.’
    • ‘She would make treacle cakes, currant cakes and, of course, she'd make white soda cakes, potato cakes and boxty.’
    • ‘Season, form into six round cakes, and sear on both sides until golden brown, about five minutes.’
    • ‘Press spoonfuls of the prawn paste into small patties or flat cakes.’
    • ‘Kadhi, a savory curry of curds and fried cakes made from pulses, is a popular dish.’
    1. 2.1A flattish compact mass of something, especially soap.
      ‘a cake of soap’
      • ‘The cake was made of lotus root with pellets of chicken, shrimp and pork and invariably tea.’
      • ‘She had dropped the cake of soap and bent to retrieve it.’
      • ‘Taking a complete change of clothes and a cake of soap, I head down to a secluded part of the small river, leaving Marissa to gather wood for our fire.’
      • ‘Once a family is ready to spare about two hours, they can easily make as many as 25 soap cakes.’
      • ‘Come spring the snow compacts under its weight like a fallen cake.’
      • ‘Father used to bring home cakes of ‘Vinolia White Rose’ soap, which had a mild but wonderful fragrance.’
      • ‘The Neem seed has good demand in Tamil Nadu as its oil extract is used in preparation of soaps, pesticides and medicines while its cake is used to raise horticultural crops.’
      • ‘To clean our teeth some of us used a cake of pink cleaner in a round aluminium tin.’
      • ‘A single careless move and a cake of packed snow skidded away from beneath me.’
      • ‘He then ducked as Ulf chucked a cake of soap at him.’
      • ‘Here, you get open shelves instead of a wardrobe, white plastic chairs, and a bathroom with a tiny cake of medicinal soap besides a wash-basin the size of a large saucer.’
      • ‘Our driver deserves another mention here for the never-ending supply of sticky snowball cakes on our return journey to Munich airport.’
      • ‘The fire blazed on the open hearth and sometimes the baker as it was called was hanging over the fire with a cake of bread being baked.’
      • ‘With careful planning, as the following examples show, you can have your cake of soap and spaciousness too.’
      • ‘Just as I came upon it I got a flashback of Enrique beading it up with a cake of wax - it happened only minutes ago, I saw him do it!’
      • ‘She sprints toward the river's edge, and with a wild and desperate leap, hops onto a cake of ice floating in the river.’
      • ‘These books circulated images of famous paintings, calligraphy and antiquities, as well as designs for such utensils as ink cakes and ink stones.’
      • ‘They used a mixture of cake gelatine, powdered sugar, food colouring and permitted flavours, to create flat ‘sheets’.’
      • ‘We once picked up what looked like a cake of cheese, about a foot in diameter.’
      • ‘Quickly getting in, and grabbing the cake of soap and wash cloth lying nearby I get to work.’
      bar, tablet
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  • 1 (of a thick or sticky substance that hardens when dry) cover and become encrusted on (the surface of an object)

    ‘his clothes were caked in mud’
    • ‘Dried blood still caked the back of his hair, making his scalp itch.’
    • ‘Sweat beaded across his brow and caked his sides under his fatigue shirt.’
    • ‘Frozen mud is caked on their boots and trousers, evidence of their late night rides.’
    • ‘Glancing out the main window, she could see only a brown haze - the surface was caked with dust.’
    • ‘His soft leather boots were caked with mud as he pulled them off, and his new canvas smock and pants were heavy with rain.’
    • ‘He was built for speed but at the same time had an elegance that shone even through the dirt caking his lackluster body.’
    • ‘It didn't look like it had been used in ages, dust and dirt caked the inside, there were even some dead insects in it.’
    • ‘‘I'm Becki,’ said a girl whose hair and clothes were caked in mud and whose hands were clenched into pudgy fists.’
    • ‘Wallet's face and clothes were caked with mud but he said he had not given up hope of finding his family.’
    • ‘Grae's boots were caked in mud when they finally reached Lake Arath.’
    • ‘She looked down at her own clothes, which were caked with mud.’
    • ‘But, as I walk through here, the mud that is caked and the flotsam and jetsam.’
    • ‘His cloak, though black, was badly worn, and his boots were caked in mud.’
    • ‘His display was certainly tidier and more reliable than the mud that was still caking the course yesterday, as the sun dried out the greens, but succeeded only in making the well-trodden walkways reek to high heaven.’
    • ‘‘It was caked in mud all over the roof and it looked like it had been rallying or something,’ he said.’
    • ‘He stood tall and he looked as though he had stopped traveling for his boots were caked with fresh mud.’
    • ‘By this time, I was breathing hard, the sweat caking my body.’
    • ‘Penny said: ‘My bike's low to the ground, so I'll be caked in mud when I come out the other end.’’
    • ‘They were caked in thick grey dust and could only use candlelight and the terrible cries of the injured as their guide.’
    • ‘Dried blood caked the front of the late king's clothes and the broken hand which still clutched his sword.’
    cover, coat, encrust, plaster, spread thickly, smother
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    1. 1.1[no object](of a thick or sticky substance) dry or harden into a solid mass.
      ‘the blood under his nose was beginning to cake’
      • ‘I turned the locket over, seeing there was a red substance caked onto the smooth backing.’
      • ‘His arm looked wounded with a bit of dried blood still caked on.’
      • ‘We dismounted at a final waterfall to wash off some of the dust caked onto our faces.’
      • ‘It seemed to fit among the spots of dried mud caked on her hand and under her fingernails.’
      • ‘She could feel the mud caking on her skin and she began to itch all over.’
      • ‘He clasped his right arm tightly; red blood caked on a fresh cut.’
      • ‘They had brown and greenish substance caked on it which was not very appealing to Vaius.’
      • ‘The alligator had silvery-white ice caked around its lower body, so it couldn't move.’
      • ‘I always get a ribbing at work when I turn up and my car has mud caked on it up to the windows!’
      • ‘I left the battlefield with ancient mud caked to the bottom of my shoes.’
      • ‘The assortment of dirt and other substances were a permanent fixture on her feet, often caked on by the harsh Egyptian sun.’
      • ‘His eyes were a dull green color, but that was all that was visible beneath the dirt and blood caked on his face.’
      • ‘Riders were arriving with red dirt caked on thick to their faces, with specks of dirt attaching themselves to each singular pore and whisker.’
      • ‘The sun streamed through the dust caked on the skylight giving a gray green cast to the empty room.’
      • ‘The metal glove was cracked and broken, and caked with a dark substance.’
      • ‘Her blonde hair was beginning to grow black roots and her face had so much foundation and powder caked on that you couldn't see the skin.’
      • ‘I was afraid that I was going to leave tracks, but luckily the mud caked on the shoes from the other day was gone.’
      • ‘She could barely budge it, she assumed because of all the dirt caked onto it.’
      • ‘There was moss and dirt caked into the cracks, but there was a seam of some sort, vaguely in the shape of a rectangle.’
      • ‘Even still, if the snow does melt, there will be corrosive salt caked on the roads to eat away at me wheels.’
      clot, congeal, coagulate, thicken
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  • cakes and ale

    • dated Lively enjoyment.

      ‘the gardener's life, as a rule, is not all ‘cakes and ale’’
      • ‘Britain once had its days of cakes and ale, and a week which began with a day off.’
      • ‘And once the world is made virtuous, will there be no more cakes and ale?’
      • ‘This is the worst kind of destructive attitude - denying other people cakes and ale because you've never enjoyed them yourself.’
      • ‘Traditionally celebrated after the main crop had been harvested, Harvest Home was, according to one historian, an annual event characterized by cakes and ale and hang the cost.’
      • ‘The successful physician starves the first ten years, lives on bread and butter the second, and may have cakes and ale the third decade.’
  • a piece of cake

    • Something easily achieved.

      ‘I never said that training him would be a piece of cake’
      • ‘I have to keep in mind that I lost 50 pounds my senior year in college, so this is a piece of cake.’
      • ‘So as long as you possess inner peace, are touched by genius and have the bravery of a lion, then closing the deal is a piece of cake.’
      • ‘It wasn't a piece of cake, but it honestly wasn't hard and I was fully operational by the second day.’
      • ‘When it comes to managing a full time job and performing, Stefan reckons it's a piece of cake.’
      • ‘The third-graders found their words a piece of cake, flying through the final round.’
      • ‘Worth striving for, certainly, but no piece of cake for anyone to achieve.’
      • ‘One easy transfer and a stop about a block from my hotel made it a piece of cake.’
      • ‘If you have a horse to carry them for you, it's a piece of cake.’
      • ‘OK, so arriving there by road is a pain but once you've entered the terminal building it's a piece of cake.’
      • ‘Getting a table at his restaurant would be a piece of cake, rather than a three-month wait.’
      • ‘Now in the middle of it, it's not exactly a piece of cake, and you don't always feel good, believe me.’
      • ‘And both are a piece of cake - like playing Snap fast, a game at which, fortunately, I excel.’
      • ‘The straps slid off easily, and from there the rest was a piece of cake.’
      • ‘Okay, so bits of the tale are a bit scary but compared to what most kids see these days it's a piece of cake (no pun intended).’
      • ‘It's hardly comforting to learn this same public servant now views the venture as a piece of cake.’
      • ‘One day a friend had said he'd gotten a little bit rich gutting salmon in Alaska - and it was a piece of cake.’
      • ‘For a man who has climbed to the summit of Mount Everest, taking part in Sligo's Walking Week must have been a piece of cake.’
      • ‘If he had encountered a challenge like this in his early years, Magellan would surely have found Cape Horn a piece of cake.’
      • ‘An easy trouble-free week where you can't put a foot wrong and whatever you undertake turns out to be a piece of cake.’
      • ‘I'm a computer tech and I can tell you that hacking into the vote tabulations would be a piece of cake.’
      • ‘We were scared and you were doing it like it was just a piece of cake.’
      • ‘It's a piece of cake for his students to outplay those older teachers of the school who also come to learn Go at his class, Liu said.’
      • ‘The media makes it seem like a piece of cake to just up and marry and all of a sudden you're a citizen, which is also not true.’
      easy task, easy job, child's play, nothing, five-finger exercise, gift, walkover, sinecure
      breeze, doddle, walk in the park, picnic, money for old rope, money for jam, cinch, sitter, kids' stuff, cushy job, cushy number, doss, cakewalk, pushover
      duck soup, snap
      bludge, snack
      a piece of old tackie
      a piece of piss
      View synonyms
  • sell like hot cakes

    • informal Be sold quickly and in large quantities.

      ‘T-shirts and posters are selling like hot cakes’
      • ‘‘Last year, my collection appeared to disappear in a few days because they sold like hot cakes,’ he recalls proudly.’
      • ‘The French carbonated water is being sold like hot cakes here.’
      • ‘We just copy an old and wonderful Armoire-style cupboard I once had over and over again and it sells like hot cakes.’
      • ‘The new book of poetry has being getting some rave reviews over the weekend and has been selling like hot cakes in the local shops while the local post office is being kept busy despatching copies to exiles of the area in distant lands.’
      • ‘Tiny flats, some as small as 18 square metres, are selling like hot cakes to Beijing's young urban professionals and are the talk of its youth-oriented media.’
      • ‘Fresh rice and urad batter is available everywhere and it sells like hot cakes.’
      • ‘‘Pastries made here are sold like hot cakes,’ says Vasanthi Mahadevan, vocational therapist at the centre.’
      • ‘On the streets, a sludgy black liquid sells like hot cakes.’
      • ‘The book, sold like hot cakes as it could quench the thirst of many people in their own language.’
      • ‘The first one sold like hot cakes - apparently our crime novels do well over there.’
      • ‘The seasonal delicacies always sold like hot cakes.’
      • ‘But when people found out the words on the otherwise ordinary fans had been written by Wang, they all sold like hot cakes and at high prices.’
      • ‘The book sold like hot cakes, making one thing clear: lots of people like reading about privacy.’
      • ‘When customers come to the site, they will raise the price, explaining that their property sells like hot cakes.’
      • ‘I'm told that tickets for the annual dinner dance are selling like hot cakes.’
      • ‘All these titles of Dr. Kalam, both the originals and the translations in Malayalam, are selling like hot cakes, according to the organisers of the fair.’
      • ‘As a business centre, cotton, cloth and rice sold like hot cakes.’
      • ‘The book sold like hot cakes and has been re-released for his visit to the upcoming Writers Festival.’
      • ‘His first book in Tamil on kidney function brought out by the same publishers sold like hot cakes and a second edition of the book was also released at the function along with the book on diabetes.’
      • ‘And they sold like hot cakes, what with the students buying as many as 1600 sarees and 1005 towels in the last 20 days.’
      • ‘Although it sold like hot cakes, the car itself wasn't the greatest thing to ever turn a wheel.’
      • ‘The lottery has now reached €4500 and although tickets sold like hot cakes at the weekend, there was no jackpot winner.’
      • ‘The result was the reclining deer, with a brown, spotted body, and complete with antlers, which he makes in different sizes and is presently selling like hot cakes at fairs and exhibitions.’
  • take the cake

    • informal Be the most remarkable or foolish of its kind.

      • ‘In terms of pop cultural cuteness, this takes the cake!’
      • ‘On a day of jaw-dropping antics, this one possibly took the cake.’
      • ‘Two reporters - I believe from New York - took the cake today.’
      • ‘What took the cake, however, was a release during election time.’
      • ‘Everybody has a different horrifying story, but mine takes the cake.’
      • ‘You know what, Larry, you guys really take the cake.’
      • ‘The below situation was the one that took the cake for me.’
      • ‘However, this latest episode surely takes the cake.’
      • ‘Of all his ploys, that takes the cake.’
      • ‘What really takes the cake is that for once in my life I have found someone who gets me.’
  • you can't have your cake and eat it (too)

    • proverb You can't enjoy both of two desirable but mutually exclusive alternatives.

      ‘the king wanted to have his cake and eat it—to marry Mrs Simpson and to remain on the throne’
      • ‘As the saying goes, you can't have your cake and eat it.’
      • ‘Well as they say, you can't have your cake and eat it too.’
      • ‘Who ever said you can't have your cake and eat it lied.’
      • ‘Pundits say you can't have your cake and eat it too.’
      • ‘Apparently they're right you can't have your cake and eat it too.’
      • ‘Well, I'm sorry, you can't have your cake and eat it.’
      • ‘Besides, you can't have your cake and eat it - either the author, and therefore the process of creation, is irrelevant in reader response theory or it isn't.’
      • ‘I think you have just found out that you can't have your cake and eat it too!’
      • ‘My feeling is that you can't have your cake and eat it too.’
      • ‘The theory must sound good to corporate execs, but even in business you can't have your cake and eat it.’


Middle English (denoting a small flat bread roll): of Scandinavian origin; related to Swedish kaka and Danish kage.