early 13c., from Old Norse kaka "cake," from West Germanic *kokon- (cf. Middle Dutch koke, Dutch koek, Old High German huohho, German Kuchen). Not now 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]Originally (until early 15c.) "a flat, round loaf of bread." 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.
c.1600, from cake (n.). Related: Caked; caking.
To be the most outstanding; sometimes used in a derogatory sense: “When it comes to eating like a pig, Gordy really takes the cake.”
To be very difficult; be arduous: It took some doing, but they got there inside an hour (1891+)
Cakes made of wheat or barley were offered in the temple. They were salted, but unleavened (Ex. 29:2; Lev. 2:4). In idolatrous worship thin cakes or wafers were offered "to the queen of heaven" (Jer. 7:18; 44:19). Pancakes are described in 2 Sam. 13:8, 9. Cakes mingled with oil and baked in the oven are mentioned in Lev. 2:4, and "wafers unleavened anointed with oil," in Ex. 29:2; Lev. 8:26; 1 Chr. 23:29. "Cracknels," a kind of crisp cakes, were among the things Jeroboam directed his wife to take with her when she went to consult Ahijah the prophet at Shiloh (1 Kings 14:3). Such hard cakes were carried by the Gibeonites when they came to Joshua (9:5, 12). They described their bread as "mouldy;" but the Hebrew word _nikuddim_, here used, ought rather to be rendered "hard as biscuit." It is rendered "cracknels" in 1 Kings 14:3. The ordinary bread, when kept for a few days, became dry and excessively hard. The Gibeonites pointed to this hardness of their bread as an evidence that they had come a long journey. We read also of honey-cakes (Ex. 16:31), "cakes of figs" (1 Sam. 25:18), "cake" as denoting a whole piece of bread (1 Kings 17:12), and "a [round] cake of barley bread" (Judg. 7:13). In Lev. 2 is a list of the different kinds of bread and cakes which were fit for offerings.