Difference Between Cake and Bread

Do you love cake? Do you love bread? I certainly do. But I’ve always wondered what the difference between these two items is – especially when it comes to quick bread, which has an undeniable sweetness and crumbly texture like cake. 

The main difference between cake and bread is that they use different ingredients, especially leavening agents. The overall nutritional content of these two food items varies greatly, too. Bread is typically consumed regularly, while cake is reserved for special occasions. 

Hey! I’m Michelle, a self-taught baker and writing professional who loves learning more about my craft. I embarked on a journey to discover the differences between cake and bread, and I’m here to share my interesting findings.

By the end of this article, you will have a vast knowledge of the difference between cake and bread!

7 Key Differences Between Cake and Bread

While bread and cake share some similarities, their differences outweigh their likeness. Below, you will find seven definitive reasons why cake and bread are quite different.

1. Leavening Agents

The first significant difference is the leavening agent. Cakes and bread both require a leavening agent in order to rise, giving the final product that beautiful texture we all know and love.

But cake and bread use different leavening agents. Cakes mainly rely on baking soda and baking powder, while bread utilizes yeast. Sure, you can make a cake with yeast, but it’s pretty uncommon (and I don’t recommend it).

This can get confusing when you look at the ingredients for a quick bread, like a lemon loaf. These loaves utilize baking soda and powder, meaning they resemble a “cake” rather than “bread.”

2. Ingredients

If you look at the ingredient list for cake compared to a loaf of bread, you will immediately notice that the list is much longer for cake. That’s because cake uses a wide range of ingredients to create a delightful flavor and texture.

Bread, on the other hand, is pretty simple. While some loaves of bread add ingredients like oil, honey, or seasonings, the base for bread is pretty simple: flour and water.

This is much different from the cake, which almost always has eggs, milk, sugar, and other yummy components.

3. Sugar Content

Most (but not all) of bread is made without sugar. Even the loaves of bread containing sugar won’t have too much.

This is contrary to cake, which tends to have several cups of sugar added to the batter. Not only that, but the final product is filled and/or slathered with whipped cream, frosting, sprinkles, and other sugary (and 100% delicious) ingredients.

Needless to say, a cake is an undeniably sweet treat that’s loaded from top to bottom with sugar. Bread? Not so much.

4. Fat Content

Another difference between cake and bread? The fat content. Again, it all comes down to the ingredients of these two kitchen staples.

Bread is traditionally made with flour and water. While there may be some add-ons, it’s still nothing compared to a cake.

Cake is created using a slew of high-fat ingredients, including milk, butter, and oil. A slice of cake will have a much higher fat content compared to a piece of bread.

5. When It’s Eaten

When cake and bread are eaten also play a role in their fundamental differences.

Bread is found in most kitchens year-round. It’s used for breakfast (toast, French toast, etc.), lunch (sandwiches, paninis, etc.), and dinner (garlic bread, hamburgers, etc.).

For most people, a cake is not consumed as commonly. Cake is typically reserved for celebrations, from birthdays to graduations, anniversaries to housewarmings, and beyond.

6. Taste

Now that we’ve discussed the contents of bread and cake, it’s easy to see that the tastes of each product are quite different. 

Since cake is crafted with many sweet and high-fat ingredients, it has a richer, more indulgent, and sweeter flavor than bread.

Bread tends to have a mild flavor. While you can buy bread with seasonings and added sweeteners, they will never come to the sweet level of a cake.

The same isn’t true for quick bread, which is named “bread” but fits into the “cake” category. Quick bread is typically loaded with sweetness. While they might not be as sweet as cake, they’re much sweeter than a regular loaf of bread.

7. Preparation

Last but not least, cake and bread are prepared very differently. 

Creating a cake batter is a gradual process, where you will mix wet and dry ingredients before combining, then pop the pan into the oven.

Bread is less tricky, but it takes much longer. Ingredients for bread are mixed. Then, the bread needs to rise twice before it’s ready to be baked. 

FAQs

Pretty interesting stuff, wouldn’t you agree? Now you know the basics of why cake and bread are different. If you want to learn more about this topic, here are a few commonly asked questions to which you will want to know the answer.

Is cake basically bread?

Cake is definitely not bread. Cake requires many ingredients not typically found in bread, including eggs, milk, butter, and cups of sugar. Cakes are typically made with baking powder and soda, while bread is made with yeast.

Are cake and bread similar?

Cake and bread are quite different, but they share certain similarities. For example, bread and cake are both carb-heavy foods. They need to be baked before consumption. They require leavening agents to achieve the famous “rise.”

What is the difference between cake and bread flour?

Cake flour has less protein, which results in less gluten formation and a fluffier texture. Bread flour is high-protein to ensure a strong gluten network for a firmer product. That’s why it’s not recommended to bake a cake with bread flour.

Final Words

Cake and bread are very different. The main difference is in the ingredients, where cake utilizes baking soda and powder plus many high-fat and sugary ingredients. Bread is more basic and needs yeast in order to rise. 

Do you have any other differences between cake and bread to share?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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