The office cake is one of the reasons we all trudged back into offices, right? Sure, being in the office means we are further away from our fridges, comfiest blankets and lounges and closer to our office enemies and shonky office airconditioning but there is cake.
All sorts of cake! Chocolate, sponge, vanilla, red velvet. If you are lucky the frosting is creamy and the cake is moist. If you are unlucky, your co-worker is allergic to gluten, and the cake will taste like a stale loaf of bread.
I’d personally never dream of eating cake at home on a random Wednesday, but if it is Debra from accounts’ birthday and there’s cake in the office at 11am, pass me a fork.
It has always felt harmless and one of the few joys left in corporate life, but now the chair of Britain’s Food Standards Agency has gone and compared it to passive smoking.
Excuse me, ma’am? SBS reported that Professor Susan Jebb said: “If nobody brought in cakes into the office, I would not eat cakes in the day, but because people do bring cakes in, I eat them. Now, OK, I have made a choice, but people were making a choice to go into a smoky pub.”
Did you have to do that? I understand what she is saying. Cake in the office is a temptation we’d all usually avoid if it wasn’t put in front of us. Who can say no to a piece of friendly-looking sponge cake?
I get that the goal for all of us humans should be to eat less sugar and fats and do more cross-fit or whatever workout the coaches of The Biggest Losers screamed for the contestants to do.
However, I will have to draw the line at vetoing cake. Yes, cake has calories but it also brings people together.
The way offices tend to work is we all sit at our little desks, with our heads in our computers and barely speak to each other.
Particularly when you start a new job, it can feel overwhelmingly lonely and then a hero comes along, and that hero is a baked good and a woman saying, “Anna from HR is turning 30, I mean 21!” And everyone pretends to laugh.
Cake is what gets people out of their office chairs and into their party chat mode. You talk, you laugh, and yes, sometimes you gossip.
I’ve met some of my office soulmates over a piece of cake and even formed important work connections.
There’s also something about seeing your boss brush crumbs off their shirt that makes them seem more relatable and might give you the courage you need to ask for a raise.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, most Australians experience loneliness in their lifetime. 1 in 3 Australians reported feeling lonely at some point between 2001 and 2009.
Basically, it isn’t far-fetched to say that people need ways to forge connections with others, and yes, it might even be worth the sugar hit.
I’d like to see the end of plenty of office trends! Why is someone’s month-old food always rotting in the fridge in a Tupperware container? Why is the airconditioning either too hot or too cold? But cake! No, I’m taking a Marie Antoinette approach. Let them eat cake!