Easy; a job that’s simple; an activity that requires little effort to finish.
When a task is easier to complete than previously expected, people might use this phrase to express those thoughts.
Example: Cleaning up my messy room was a piece of cake. (In other words, cleaning the room was simple.)
The Origin of ‘A Piece of Cake’
The origin of the phrase ‘a piece of cake’ is unclear. However, here is how it might have developed into the idiom it is today:
There is another expression similar to this one that goes ‘as easy as pie.’ Both sayings have identical meanings—they express simplicity, but why is that? Indeed, what is so simple about cake and pie?
It probably doesn’t have to do with the cooking aspect, because baking a cake or pie requires a fair bit of work. First, you have to buy all of the ingredients. Then you have to make it by pouring flour into a bowl, cracking open some eggs, and adding all the necessary parts together. Then it has to be mixed up and put it in the oven, and you wait for it to cook. Okay, it’s not exactly difficult, but I wouldn’t say it’s easy either. In short, I don’t think the origin of this idiom comes from making a cake.
However, what about eating the cake once it finishes? Yeah, eating a piece of cake is easy because, well, it’s delicious! So then, could it be the origin of this idiom comes from how easy it is to eat a piece of cake? That would be my guess.
Anyway, this phrase (with its figurative meaning) goes back to at least the 1930s. The term was used at that time by an American poet named Ogden Nash. He wrote a book called Primrose Path in 1936 and there is a part from the book that reads:
“Her picture’s in the papers now, And life’s a piece of cake.”
Here are examples of this idiom in sentences.
- This upcoming bicycle race will be a piece of cake for me because I’ve been going through exhaustive training sessions to prepare myself for it.
- I’ve heard that giving medication to a cat is tough, but my cat did not put up much of a fuss; it was a piece of cake.
- This new washer and dryer makes washing clothes a walk in the park.
- Making a slam dunk is as easy as pie for my friend because he is so tall.
- Solving that puzzle was a breeze, I would have preferred if it was slightly more challenging.
See Also: You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It Too
Wait a second, why can’t you do both? Find out more about this phrase and see examples of it.