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When tortes are multilayerd and fancifully decorated they are closer to gateaux EXCEPT for the fact they can last quite nicely for several days.
Cakes can last much longer, some even improving with age (fruit cake).
Torte is the German word for cake, with similar properties.
You will find references to him in French culinary history books.
Cake recipes, Fannie Farmer's Boston Cooking School Cook Book  What is the difference between cake, gateau and torte? It generally denotes items made with delicate ingredients which are best consumed soon after the confection is made (gateaux des roi).
This is due to primarily to advances in technology (more reliable ovens, manufacture/availability of food molds) and ingredient availability (refined sugar). When removed the icing cooled quickly to form a hard, glossy [ice-like] covering.
At that time cake hoops--round molds for shaping cakes that were placed on flat baking trays--were popular. Many cakes made at this time still contained dried fruits (raisins, currants, citrons).
About cake cake symbolism cake mixes high altitude cake mix icing and frosting cake decorations cake shapes baking papers Pillsbury Bake Off shortening 1234 cake angel food apple sauce cakes baba & savarin banana bread beet cake birthday cake bishop's cake Black Forest cake Blackout cake buche de Noel bundt cake cake pops caramel cake carrot cake checkerboard cake cheesecake chiffon cake chocolate cake chocolate molten lava cake chop suey cake coffee cake cola cakes cranberry bread crazy cake cupcakes danish devil's food diet bread dirt cake dump cake earthquake cake Eccles cake Eggless, milkless, butterless election cake fruitcake galette gateau genoise German chocolate cake Gooey butter cake groom's cake Harvey Wallbanger cake Hostess cup cakes hummingbird cake ice box cake ice cream cake Italian cream cake Japanese fruit cake King cake kolache kuchen kugelhopf Lady Baltimore Cake ladyfingers Lamingtons Lane cake Lord Baltimore Cake madeleines marble cake Mary Ann cakes mayonnaise cake mud cake opera cake Pavlova pineapple upside-down cake poundcake pumpkin bread red devil's food red velvet cake Smith Island cake Snackin Cake sponge cakes & biscuits Stained glass cake torten: Linzer, Dobos & Sacher Texas sheet cake Tipsy parson tomato soup cake Tunnel of Fudge Twelfth Night cakes Twinkies Victoria sandwich cakes wacky cake Washington cakes Watergate cake wedding cake zucchini bread The history of cake dates back to ancient times.
The first cakes were very different from what we eat today.
Although both terms can be used for savoury preparations (meat cakes or vegetable gateaux) their main use is for sweet baked goods.