Do you know where the phrase ‘piece of cake’ comes from? This idiom, along with several other phrases, are so commonly used that we may use them without realizing their origins.
Actually, did you know that most idioms come from farming, hunting, or even slavery.
“A piece of cake” means it is easy and requires little or no effort to finish.
Therefore, when a task is easier to complete than previously expected, people might use the phrase ‘a piece of cake’ to express those thoughts.
There is a similar expression that goes “as easy as pie.” Both reference to pie and cake are to express simplicity, but why are they both food related. Some would wonder if it’s because they are referencing the cooking experience of pie and cake. But, if we think of it in that context, it doesn’t make any sense since baking cake or pie requires a fair bit of work and several ingredients. In short, even if you knew how to bake a cake, it requires a lot of work, so it isn’t necessarily easy.
Though, if we were to look at it in a different perspective, like eating instead of making the cake or pie, then isn’t that an easy task?
This phrase first appeared in the 1930s and was used by an American poet named Ogden Nash, who wrote a book called Primrose Path in 1936 where he referenced “her picture’s in the papers now, and life’s a piece of cake.”
Taking all into consideration, the origins are actually unclear, and I can only assume that ‘a piece of cake’ is referring to the process of eating based on my logic. Though, thinking about the origins of idioms has brought to my attention how little we know about the intricacies of the English language. So much to learn in due time.