‘It’s a Piece of Cake’: Definition, Meaning and Examples

By Shanea Patterson, updated on April 4, 2023

Wondering what ‘a piece of cake’ means? In this article, we’ll go over the definition and origin, plus provide you with examples of how to use the phrase in a sentence.

In short:

  • ‘It’s a piece of cake’ means that something is easy or easy to do.

Essentially, it means that something wasn’t hard to do or won’t be hard to complete.

What Does ‘It’s a Piece of Cake’ Mean?

‘It’s a piece of cake’ is a common American expression that people use after they’ve done something that they thought might be harder but turned out to be easy. It might also be something they knew from the start would be easy.

You might hear someone say this phrase when they’ve just done something easy (or what they consider to be easy compared to others), such as:

  • Riding a bike without training wheels
  • Moving a heavy object.

In the original Jumanji (1995), when Robin Williams’ character, Alan Parish, hops into a car for the first time in his life (because he’s been sucked into a board game and has never learned how), he says:

‘Piece of cake.’

He does this sarcastically, however, because he really doesn’t know what he’s doing.

In the movie Casper (1995), when the exorcist tells Carrigan and Dibs that he can get rid of the ghosts in their beautiful but haunted old mansion, he says:

‘It’s-a like no problem whatsoever. Piece of crumb cake.’

He doesn’t say the phrase correctly, but we get the gist. He’s saying he can absolutely get the job done and that it’ll be easy for him (which turns out not to be true).

Where Does ‘It’s a Piece of Cake’ Come From? 

The phrase ‘it’s a piece of cake’ is thought to have derived from slavery in the American southern states in the 1870s. When the slave masters would throw parties, the black slaves would compete in something called ‘cake walks,’ where they would mock the over-the-top gestures of the slave owners in dance form.

The best performances would earn the winner a piece of cake. This became known as an easy way to get a piece of cake.

  • ‘It’s a piece of cake’ came to mean ‘easy.’

Some people say that since slavery ended in 1865, this theory isn’t plausible. But as most historians will agree, although slavery was legally abolished, it took years for a lot of slaves to become free after 1865.

Another theory states that the phrase comes from the American poet Ogden Nash in 1936, who wrote:

“Her picture’s in the papers now, And life’s a piece of cake.”

This was taken from the book ‘The Primrose Path.’

It’s also well-known by etymologists that ‘cake’ and ‘pie’ have long been associated with things that come easy in the United States.

  • For example, we also say, ‘Easy as pie’ in the south.

Some say that because pie and cake are easy to make that they became synonymous with the word ‘easy.’

Examples of ‘It’s a Piece of Cake’ in Sentences 

How would you use ‘it’s a piece of cake’ in a sentence?

Let’s see some examples:

  • A lot of young girls think that having a baby is a piece of cake, but it’s really hard work. That’s why you should really think about that before you get pregnant.
  • People don’t realize that being a teacher is not a piece of cake. It’s actually really hard work. You have to plan the lessons, teach them, keep the kids in line, etc. It’s exhausting.
  • High school was a piece of cake for me, so college shouldn’t be a breeze. I’ve always done well academically, and I like a challenge, so I can’t wait to see what I learn in college and beyond.
  • I always thought washing my own hair would be too much work, but now that I do it all the time, it’s a piece of cake. I just had to get used to doing it. I always get a compliment or two now.
  • Every time I help my sister with her homework, it’s a piece of cake. I learned that kind of math years ago, so it’s no problem helping her.
  • I love my job here because everything is a piece of cake. I know exactly what I’m doing, and I feel great when I’m doing it. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
  • I know things seem hard now, but over time the process will be a piece of cake for you. You just have to get used to doing things in a new way.
  • Being a restaurateur is no piece of cake. There’s a lot of work involved that people coming into the business don’t realize.

Other Ways to Say ‘It’s a Piece of Cake’

What other words and phrases convey the same meaning as ‘it’s a piece of cake’?

Let’s take a look at some examples:

  • Child’s play
  • Easy
  • Way too easy
  • A cinch
  • A breeze
  • A picnic
  • A walk in the park
  • A cakewalk
  • It was nothing/it’s nothing
  • Duck soup
  • Kid stuff
  • Doddle
  • Five-finger exercise
  • Money for jam
  • Cushy number
  • Money for old rope
  • A snap
  • A no-brainer
  • A piece of old tacky
  • Sure thing
  • Shoo-in
  • Definiteness
  • Certain thing
  • Simple
  • Straightforward
  • Attainable
  • Unchallenging
  • Elementary
  • Painless
  • Workable
  • Easy-breezy
  • Easy peasy
  • Not difficult
  • Idiot-proof
  • No bother/not a bother

Final Thoughts on ‘It’s a Piece of Cake’

To recap, we learned the following:

  • ‘It’s a piece of cake’ means that something is easy or easy to do.

Essentially, it means that something wasn’t hard to do or won’t be hard to complete.

If you ever get stuck on anything, you can always come back and review what you learned. We’ve got a whole library of content on idioms that you might find useful as you’re learning the English language. Go check it out anytime.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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