Let them eat cake! It improves workplace culture and happiness

Let them eat cake. Or maybe don’t? That’s the question The Food Standards chairperson posed when she likened cake culture to passive smoking.

Now in the UK, we’ve had a bit of a history with cake-eating over the past couple of years, especially if there’s boozing and cake while you’re supposed to be keeping a low profile, eh, Boris…

Back in April 2022, there was the ‘Ambushed by cake’ debacle, which sounds like a much nicer option than being ambushed by the SAS. Indeed, the world would be a much happier place if cakes were the primary form of surprise attack and ambushes were conducted via the medium of Battenberg, as opposed to a drone strike.

I digress.

Cake brings people together

Whether cake should be eaten in offices is almost as contentious as the jam-cream/cream-jam scone debate. The logic behind Prof Susan Jacob not bringing cake into the office is that people can’t make the rational decision not to eat it, and therefore the choice is taken away. I disagree.

Firstly people can say no, and alternatives can be brought in, such as fruit, for people who are not eating cake or can’t. Secondly, workplaces are changing – they’re about community, experience and spending time together. Cake and other eating activities can support this, and do.

Research suggests good coffee and food in a workplace bring people together. In fact, in places like Sweden, it’s part of the work culture and deeply engrained into ways of working and engaging people.

My personal feeling is that one must have a cake. I’m gluten-free and a health freak, but cake is part of our birthday culture at Laughology and our ‘being together and checking in.’

So if you’re a Victoria Sponge self-aggrandiser like me, cake isn’t really about eating; it’s what it does to create togetherness, shared experiences and, yes, happiness.

A cake confession 

I have a confession. My birthday is coming up, and I shall have a gathering.

Every year I ensure my husband fully understands there has to be a cake. Then, at the party in front of all my guests, the cake (decorated with candles and sparklers) is presented to me while everyone sings Happy Birthday and I act surprised, just like I do every year. You see, rather than run the risk of being left without cake and a rendition of Happy Birthday at my own party, I ensure those closest to me are fully briefed prior to the event.

I can understand how this appears. What kind of egotistical monster browbeats her husband into buying her birthday cake? Allow me to defend myself. As a kid, cake was a big part of birthday celebrations. Not just for me but for everyone. For me, the cake was the highlight. More so than the presents.

Not because I was a cake addict, but because there was something magical about the cake, the candles, the singing and family and friends sharing it. Birthday cake particularly epitomises childhood, which is why my husband, a self-confessed grumpy old cynic, raises his eyebrows every year when I issue the cake edict and asks: “What are you, eight years old?”

What’s wrong with retaining some happiness and sharing childhood ways?

Cake creates a happy, collaborative culture

As we get older and embark on jobs, careers, families, and all the responsibilities of adulthood, it’s healthy to hold on to some of our playfulness as children. Playfulness should not be out of place in workplaces; neither should cake.

Sorry Prof, but you’ve gone too far. Whether cake or a healthy snack, sharing this stuff promotes happiness, collaboration and creativity. There are boundaries. Cake every day is too much, but a little of what we like, even weekly, is important. Furthermore, you’re missing the point – cake is the vehicle, not the destination.

Apologies, Prof, the cake stays. And as Mari Antionette has been misquoted saying so many times… let them eat cake!


If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you create a happier workplace culture – with or without cake – why not take a look at our training workshops or contact doug@laughology.co.uk? Once he’s brushed the cake crumbs out of his beard, he’ll be more than happy to talk you through some options.


Article written by Laughology, NWS Academy Memebr

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