Is this one of the most general food fights ever? Absolutely. Does it mean we can’t crown a winner? Not at all. This week, cakes and pies are ready to take a slice out of each other and dance on the meringues of their enemy.
And while other sites offer subjective opinions one way or the other, we’re breaking it down one detail at a time, because the dessert menu can be a daunting place, and not everyone can handle choosing between these hallmarks of end-of-meal joy responsibly.
That’s why we’re here.
Cake: For those who’ve never known happiness, cakes are typically bread-based and often layered with some form of frosting or cream. Even though a few savory cakes exist, the vast majority of cakes were meant for dessert.
Sweetness can vary, and ingredients include anything from spices to fruits. While some cakes come without frosting, they’ll typically have some form of sweet toppings like cinnamon sugar or glaze instead.
Pie: On the other hand, pies are pastry-based with their goodness baked inside. If you’re alive, you probably love at least one pie. They can lean on the savory side, laden with meat and cheese, filled with caramelized fruits, or they can be somewhere in between, like a squash-based pie.
Cake: Depending on the baker’s preference, a cake can be moist, fluffy, crumbly, dense, or a combination of these traits. In any case, the cake’s texture often directly correlates with how it tastes. “”"figure
Ah, the many faces of pie filling. Photo: Ginny / Flickr
Pie: The crusts can have subtle nuances from pie to pie, but there’s an underlying consistency. Texture only diverges as to whether the crust is graham cracker/shortbread-based or dough-based. The filling can significantly impact crust choice and often dominates the mouthfeel of the pie.
Cake: Thanks to frosting (particularly the versatile yet barely edible, fondant) and its firm, yet spongy bread base, cakes can take on nearly any color or shape you can dream up. This realization may help explain why so many reality-based cake shows exist, and not a single pie one does. Cakes range from simple, to ornate to downright extravagant.
Pie: Pies tend to take on the hue of more natural Earth tones. Made with simpler, more wholesome ingredients that reside within rather than around, they look more like food and less like a child’s plaything.
Typical Event Use
Cake: Cakes tend to mark a special occasion like a birthday, wedding, or survival of the zombie apocalypse. Unless you have a baker in the family, you probably revel in the rare events in which you can have a slice. An exception to this rule would be a coffee cake, which is good daily, particularly on cold mornings.
Pie: Pie’s versatility makes it enjoyable any time of day, year-round. Fruit pies often rule the summer while savory pies put hair on our chests in the winter. Sweet potato and pumpkin pies bookend our holiday meals while various cultural meat pies hold different levels of significance throughout the year.
Cake: If stored properly, you can get 2-4 days of counter life from a cake and 2-3 months in the freezer. Fruitcakes, resilient as ever, can last at least three years in a fridge or freezer, but many have been recorded as lasting decades.
Pie: Regardless of their fillings, pies last 1-3 days in the fridge. Fruit pies can last eight months in a freezer, but the ingredient variables in other pies estimate freezer life to be anywhere from 1-6 months.
Sorry for the M. Night Shyamalan plot twist, but, let’s be perfectly real, no one wants to choose between cake and pie. The Greeks and Italians made sure we would never have to by inventing the cheesecake. Savory and sweet, often baked, yet served cool, cheesecake is the perfect middle ground for when you want the best of both worlds.