(formerly) a promenade or march, of black American origin, in which the couples with the most intricate or eccentric steps received cakes as prizes.
a dance with a strutting step based on this promenade.
music for this dance.
Informal. something easy, sure, or certain.
verb (used without object)
to walk or dance in or as if in a cakewalk.

1860–65; cake + walk

cakewalker, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cakewalk (ˈkeɪkˌwɔːk)
1.  a dance based on a march with intricate steps, originally performed by African-Americans with the prize of a cake for the best performers
2.  a piece of music composed for this dance
3.  informal an easily accomplished task
4.  (intr) to perform the cakewalk

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1863, Amer.Eng., from cake (n.) + walk, probably in ref. 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). Piece of cake "something easy" is from 1936.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


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

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
It won't happen over night and it won't be an easy cakewalk.
Nonetheless, the path from nostril to gray matter isn't a cakewalk.
On many campuses, creating a portfolio is no cakewalk.
The evening began with the brisk kicks of a cakewalk quadrille.
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