CakePHP is an open source framework for producing web applications using PHP. This framework first caught our attention as Ruby on Rails was taking off back in 2005 and 2006. While we dabbled with RoR, all of our clients were using PHP and we longed for a solid port of RoR to PHP. CakePHP, while not a port of Ruby on Rails, was the first PHP framework we came across who took the time and care to model themselves closely after Ruby on Rails.
Cake specifically appropriates many of RoR's most useful strategies and concepts. It not only provides an MVC (Model, View, Controller) frame work but also incorporates several other design patterns such as the Active Record pattern for easy database interaction and CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) management.
CakePHP's coding requirements are much more formal than that of the CodeIgniter framework, requiring command-line access to initiate core "bake" and schema commands. None-the-less, the flexibility and robustness of this framework places it squarely as our number one choice for all our robust, from scratch, web application projects.