The history of cake dates back to ancient times. The first cakes were very different from what we eat today. They were more bread-like and sweetened with honey. Nuts and dried fruits were often added.
According to the food historians, the precursors of modern cakes (round ones with icing) were first baked in Europe sometime in the mid-17th century. This is due to primarily to advances in technology (more reliable ovens, manufacture/availability of food moulds) and ingredient availability (refined sugar).
The first cupcakes were so called, in the late 19th century, because they were baked in cups and made from ingredients measured by the cupful.
According to an old English superstition, putting a fruit cake under your pillow would make you dream about the person you will marry.