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1863, American English, from cake (n.) + walk (n.), probably in reference to the cake given as a prize for the fanciest steps in a procession in a Southern black custom (explained by Richard H. Thornton, 1912, as, "A walking competition among negroes," in which the prize cake goes to "the couple who put on most style"). Its figurative meaning of "something easy" (1863) is recorded before the literal one (1879). As a verb, from 1909. This may also be the source of the phrase to take the cake (1847).
couple dance that became a popular stage act for virtuoso dancers as well as a craze in fashionable ballrooms around 1900. Couples formed a square with the men on the inside and, stepping high to a lively tune, strutted around the square. The couples were eliminated one by one by several judges, who considered the elegant bearing of the men, the grace of the women, and the inventiveness of the dancers; the last remaining pair was presented with a highly decorated cake