Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man

"Pattycake" redirects here. For the gorilla by the same name, see Pattycake (gorilla).
"Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man"
Roud #6486

William Wallace Denslow illustrations for Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man, from a 1901 edition of Mother Goose
Written England
Published 1698
Form Nursery rhyme
Writer(s) Traditional
Language English
Tommy (or me), according to Denslow

"Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man", "Pat-a-cake", "patty-cake" or "pattycake" is one of the oldest and most widely known surviving English nursery rhymes. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 6486.[1]

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man.
Bake me a cake as fast as you can
You roll it, pat it, mark it with a "B"
And you put it in the oven for baby and me!


The earliest recorded version of the rhyme appears in Thomas D'Urfey's play The Campaigners from 1698, where a nurse says to her charges:

...and pat a cake Bakers man, so I will master as I can, and prick it, and prick it, and prick it, and prick it, and prick it, and throw't into the Oven.

The next appearance is in Mother Goose's Melody, (c. 1765), in the form:

Patty Cake, Patty Cake,
Baker's Man;
That I will Master,
As fast as I can;
Prick it and prick it,
And mark it with a T,
And there will be enough for Tommy and me.[2]

The initials are there because, in the Georgian Era, women made dough and went to the baker so he can bake it. They didn't want to pick up the wrong cake, so they put their initials on the dough.[3]


A common style of playing pat-a-cake.

The rhyme is often accompanied by hand-clapping between two people, a clapping game. It alternates between a normal individual clap with two-handed claps with the other person. The hands may be crossed as well. This allows for a possibly complex sequence of clapping that must be coordinated between the two. If told by a parent to a child, the "B" and "baby" in the last two lines are sometimes replaced by the child's first initial and first name.[2]


A pat-a-cake serve is a serve in which the racket is not swung behind the head (as in a proper serve). It is often used by beginning players, or players who never had formal training. The term is considered pejorative.


  1. "Roud Folksong Index S218300 Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man". Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. English Folk Dance and Song Society. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  2. 1 2 I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 341–2. ISBN 9780198600886.
  3. Horrible Histories:Gorgeous Georgians
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