Etymology
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cake (v.)

"to form into a cake" (transitive), c. 1600; "to concrete into a hard mass" (intransitive), 1610s; from cake (n.). Related: Caked; caking.

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cake (n.)

early 13c., "flat or comparatively thin mass of baked dough," from Old Norse kaka "cake," from West Germanic *kokon- (source also of Middle Dutch koke, Dutch koek "a cake, gingerbread, dumpling," Old High German kuohho, German Kuchen "a cake, a tart"). Not believed to be related to Latin coquere "to cook," as formerly supposed. Replaced its Old English cognate, coecel.

What man, I trow ye raue, Wolde ye bothe eate your cake and haue your cake? ["The Proverbs & Epigrams of John Heywood," 1562]

Extended mid-15c. to any flat, rounded mass. Extended from early 15c. to "a light composition of flour, sugar, butter and other ingredients baked in any form." To take the cake "win all, rank first" (often ironic) is from 1847, American English; piece of cake "something easy" is from 1936.

The let them eat cake story is found in Rousseau's "Confessions," in reference to an incident c. 1740, long before Marie Antoinette, though it has been associated with her since c. 1870; it apparently was a chestnut in the French royal family that had been told of other princesses and queens before her.

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seed-cake (n.)

"sweet cake containing aromatic seeds," originally and typically caraway seeds, 1570s, from seed (n.) + cake (n.).

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caked (adj.)

"thickly encrusted," 1922, past-participle adjective from cake (v.).

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yellowcake (n.)

oxide of uranium, 1950, from yellow (adj.) + cake (n.).

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fruitcake (n.)

also fruit-cake, 1838 in the literal sense "a rich, sweet cake containing fruit," from fruit + cake (n.). Slang meaning "lunatic person" is first attested 1952.

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shortcake (n.)

also short-cake, a type of rich, crisp tea-cake made from a wide variety of recipes, the only consistent ingredient in them seems to be butter or lard to make it "short" (crumbly), 1590s; see shortening + cake (n.).

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Marie Antoinette 

(1755-1793), queen consort of Louis XVI; as the name for a decorative style of France in that period, by 1887. She likely did not say "let them eat cake" (see cake (n.)). The city of Marietta, Ohio, U.S., founded in 1788, was named for her in honor of Louis XVI's financial support of the American Revolution.

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quiche (n.)

"pastry case with a cooked, savory filling," a specialty of the Alsace-Lorraine region, 1949, from French quiche (1810), from Alsatian German Küche, diminutive of German Kuchen "cake" (see cake (n.)). The food became fashionable 1970s; became contemptible as indicative of wimpiness 1980s.

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