Bento cakes, also known as lunchbox cakes, are the biggest dessert trend around the world right now – but this isn’t anything new to Koreans. In this past year, the minimalist lunchbox cake trend has taken over social media worldwide: packaged in small takeaway boxes, these four-inch cakes are perfect for a birthday celebration for two or as a nice treat for your friends and family.
Bento lunch boxes have been around since 12th century Japan, when people would bring their cooked and dried rice together to work. In the 16th century, special wooden boxes began being made for this specific purpose. Eventually, schoolchildren started using them to bring lunch to school, but the practice stopped when schools began providing food.
In the 1980s, however, bento lunchboxes made a huge comeback in supermarkets and the trend is still going strong. Not only are these lunchboxes nutritionally rich, but they’re also aesthetically pleasing. For this reason, the concept spread to other neighboring countries, such as Taiwan, China and South Korea.
Not larger than four inches in diameter, bento cakes are mini cakes commonly found in cafes and bakeries all over South Korea. They are known for their diminutive size and immaculate customizable lettering and motifs made with whipped cream or buttercream.
In South Korea, bento cakes are sent as an expression of love, gratitude or even as a sweet reminder that you miss someone.