It seems that native speakers loosely refer "cake" as something that is rather big with cream on the top

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And what do we say other forms of bakery products

Can we say "a timtam" a cake or a cookie, if not what should we call it?

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What do we call this "stick-formed cookie" a cake or a cookie in general? enter image description here

What do we call some "traditional cake" from other countries like this one? enter image description here

2 Answers 2

  1. Happy Christmas!

  2. A cake does not have to have 'cream on top'. A cake is an item of soft sweet food made from a mixture of flour, fat, eggs, sugar, and other ingredients, baked and sometimes iced (covered with sugar paste) or decorated.

  3. Tim Tam is a brand of chocolate biscuit ('cookie' US) made by the Australian biscuit company Arnott's. Some Tim Tam packaging contains the word 'biscuit'. Australia tends to use British English. 'Tim Tam' is two words, both capitalised.

  4. Those tubular things are 'cigarettes russes' (French name used in English, correctly not capitalised in either language as you see here - Que c'est bon les cigarettes russes, c'est un biscuit que j'aime beaucoup !) or 'Russian cigarettes' and are a type of biscuit (UK) 'cookie' (US). Sometimes one end is dipped in melted chocolate.

  5. Those green things are 'Vietnam Chung Cakes'.

  • 1
    Cake is typically either 'sponge cake' (the inside is yellow and full of bubbles like a sponge) or 'fruit cake' (a more solid mixture with dried fruit in it). They can be loaf-shaped as well as round. Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 14:05
  • @KateBunting - baking cakes in different shapes is a very popular thing in the UK and elsewhere. Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 14:14
  • Can "rice crackers" (londondrugs.com/on/demandware.static/-/Sites-londondrugs-master/…) be called "cookie"?
    – Tom
    Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 14:17
  • 1
    A rice cracker is a cracker, not a cookie, which is a sweet biscuit having a fairly soft, chewy texture and typically containing pieces of chocolate or fruit. Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 14:21

The word "cake" without any additional qualifiers most commonly refers to something that is large enough to be cut into slices (as in your first image); often some kind of icing/cream is involved but not always. However, "cake" can also refer to a smaller confection such as an éclair, brownie, or American "cupcake" (similar to a British "fairy cake"). An interesting example is the French madeleine, which is properly speaking a small cake but which I (an American) was raised to call a "cookie."

American "cookies" and British "biscuits" are usually bite-sized, flattish, and firmer than cake. (In British usage, chewier biscuits may also be called "cookies," whereas the term "biscuit" means something entirely different in America.) Traditional cake-like confections from non-Western countries may be called "cakes" but will usually be qualified in some way (e.g., a Malaysian "Batik cake") or be known by an entirely different name (e.g., Lebanese "sfouf").

  • British 'cup cakes' are different from 'fairy cakes'. 1. The cupcake was given its title from having originally been a cake baked in a small cup. The fairy cake is smaller. 2. Fairy cakes are standard sponge cake; made with eggs, flour, sugar and butter., while cupcakes can be any form of cake. 3. Topping: Fairy cakes are usually topped with a small blob of royal icing, while cupcake bakers generally go crazy with butter cream icing, covering the entire top of the cake. Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 17:44

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