Gateau is generally used for fancy, but light or rich, often with fresh decoration, such as fresh fruit or whipped cream.
About cake cake symbolism cake mixes high altitude cake mix icing and frosting cake decorations cake shapes baking papers Pillsbury Bake Off shortening 1234 cake angel food apple sauce cakes baba & savarin banana bread beet cake birthday cake bishop's cake Black Forest cake Blackout cake buche de Noel bundt cake cake pops caramel cake carrot cake checkerboard cake cheesecake chiffon cake chocolate cake chocolate molten lava cake chop suey cake coffee cake cola cakes cranberry bread crazy cake cupcakes danish devil's food diet bread dirt cake dump cake earthquake cake Eccles cake Eggless, milkless, butterless election cake fruitcake galette gateau genoise German chocolate cake Gooey butter cake groom's cake Harvey Wallbanger cake Hostess cup cakes hummingbird cake ice box cake ice cream cake Italian cream cake Japanese fruit cake King cake kolache kuchen kugelhopf Lady Baltimore Cake ladyfingers Lamingtons Lane cake Lord Baltimore Cake madeleines marble cake Mary Ann cakes mayonnaise cake mud cake opera cake Pavlova pineapple upside-down cake poundcake pumpkin bread red devil's food red velvet cake Smith Island cake Snackin Cake sponge cakes & biscuits Stained glass cake torten: Linzer, Dobos & Sacher Texas sheet cake Tipsy parson tomato soup cake Tunnel of Fudge Twelfth Night cakes Twinkies Victoria sandwich cakes wacky cake Washington cakes Watergate cake wedding cake zucchini bread The history of cake dates back to ancient times.
The first cakes were very different from what we eat today.
They were more bread-like and sweetened with honey. According to the food historians, the ancient Egyptians were the first culture to show evidence of advanced baking skills.
The Oxford English Dictionary traces the English word cake back to the 13th century. Medieval European bakers often made fruitcakes and gingerbread. According to the food historians, the precursors of modern cakes (round ones with icing) were first baked in Europe sometime in the mid-17th century. The first icing were usually a boiled composition of the finest available sugar, egg whites and [sometimes] flavorings. The cake was then returned to the oven for a while.
This is due to primarily to advances in technology (more reliable ovens, manufacture/availability of food molds) and ingredient availability (refined sugar). When removed the icing cooled quickly to form a hard, glossy [ice-like] covering.