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Cake or Pie? Take your pick


Mayhaw Man
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I agree with Julia, if cheesecake is included as cake, then it's cake for me.

Although, really, between cake and pie as we know it, I find cake too sweet and pie, sometimes, not sweet enough.

But, cake. Yeah. Cake. Especially cake from Karen the Cake Lady.

Erin

"American by birth, Irish by the grace of God"

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Your original story proves my theory and thus my answer! Pie is a social dessert, however, cake is for me.

Pie is rarely a dessert best enjoyed by one's self. Only in the group setting can a pie achieve its perfection, that moment when the crust crumbles onto the fork in flaky grandiosity...the fruit (or pudding) oozing lustfully onto the plate...the melted ice cream surrounding its steaming fruit filling. These are moments best shared with old friends and family.

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No question about it. Pie. It makes a great dessert, and an even better breakfast. Also much better eaten than cake in ones skivvies over the kitchen sink.

Pie all the way. In fact, my kids share my love of pie. They'd much rather have a birthday pie than cake.

In fact, when we cleaned out my grandmother's house after she died, there were only three things I wanted: her pie tins, her copy of the Farm Journal Complete Pie Cookbook and her Christmas Cactus (unrelated, but a gift to her on her wedding day from her grandmother).

Pie. Sweet or savory. In fact, I have included several pie recipes (courtesy of my grandmother's recipe box) in Recipe Gullet!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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  Also much better eaten than cake in ones skivvies over the kitchen sink.

O Cold Woman of the Northcountry,

First of all, I've seen you in your skivvies on your blog, but I don't believe there was any cake involved-though cheesecake, maybe.

Secondly, there is nothing better for breakfast than toasted poundcake with a bit of butter melted into it. Delicious.

Of course, you would have to have some poundcake around, and you pie people will never be able to experience this bliss for yourselves. It's all very sad.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Cheesecake is neither cake nor pie, so should be excluded.

See, now you're just weaselling to back up your original answer, because you've re-thought the whole issue, and a whole, knotty bunch of outliers have reared their ugly, yet delicious, heads. Cheesecake is clearly pie, and how could you disagree with Alton Brown, anyway? You two are practically the same person.

My answer is pie. Pie and cobblers, crumbles and Brown Betties. Pie simply has more diversity of texture and flavor than cake, with a touch of salt and flakiness in the crust, tang in the fruit or other types of filling, a possibly different top-crust texture, plus an accompaniment like whipped cream or ice cream, adding a hot/cold contrast to all the other salty/sweet/crunchy/gooey things going on. So many possibilities in pie, and now that it's finally warm, it's time for Key Lime. Key Lime knocks just about every other dessert out of the ring within the first round or two.

My mother-in-law, a very Southern woman, preferred cake. She told me several stories about how, when she was pregnant, she was told that pregnant women could not have cake (?), and as a result, she craved cake for 9 months straight and didn't eat it. I never understood this, because I don't understand what ingredient in cake would make it unallowable, nor do I understand why any pregnant woman would allow other people to tell her she could not eat cake. If I were pregnant, I'd probably eat 3 slices of cake at every meal. As my appetizer.

But I'm not generally that fond of cake. If I really wanted some cake right now, I'd probably want one of these. I made this one a number of times, after seeing the recipe in the newspaper, and now that I'd know to use better-quality chocolate, like Scharffenberger, I think it would be smashing with some homemade ice cream.

And why don't fudge and cookies get their say in this whole mess?

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Pie-in-the-face is still comedy gold :hmmm: ... but Marie Antoinette said "let them eat cake." :rolleyes: ... I really love a gooey pecan pie brimming with pecans ... :biggrin: but a buttery cake which is light as a feather is so divine ... :blink: but then there is the "a la mode" issue ... and cupcakes can never be cup pies ... :huh:

a vote for pie still would be my choice .. with a buttery crust and sweet fruit or cream filling ... :wink:

Of course The Food Tutor got it just right when she said:

Pie simply has more diversity of texture and flavor than cake, with a touch of salt and flakiness in the crust, tang in the fruit or other types of filling, a possibly different top-crust texture, plus an accompaniment like whipped cream or ice cream, adding a hot/cold contrast to all the other salty/sweet/crunchy/gooey things going on.
Thank you for understanding the entire issue and focusing upon the most salient features, Julia!

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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That does it. I can't stand it! This weekend I am going to make my husband take me to the Amish restaurant about 30 miles away, so that I can have a slice of pie and not have to resort to making one. Not that I mind, but my thighs don't need a whole pie.

Okay, maybe I'll have a slice on Saturday night and bring home a slice for Sunday. That way I can have chocolate and coconut cream.

I could get a third piece and take it in my lunch on Monday. That way, I could add lemon. It would be kinda iffy by then, but still edible.

This thread is making me crazy! And hungry.

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Regarding cheesecake, if its name is cake, it's cake.

Especially the dry Italian ricotta ones.

Along the same lines: Is coffee cake cake?

(A delightful pecan ring from William Greenberg Jr.'s on Madison Ave.)

"Yo, I want one of those!"

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Cheesecake is neither cake nor pie, so should be excluded.

See, now you're just weaselling to back up your original answer, because you've re-thought the whole issue, and a whole, knotty bunch of outliers have reared their ugly, yet delicious, heads. Cheesecake is clearly pie, and how could you disagree with Alton Brown, anyway? You two are practically the same person.

Cheesecake isn't one of my favorites, actually, though I do prefer it to some other desserts. So I'm not worried about which category it falls into myself, I just didn't want anybody else to think that cheesecake need be characterized as either cake or pie.

And I stand by my statement that it's neither cake nor pie.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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My O My, I do love Pie! Can anything compare to the buttery flaky crust of a peach pie during the height of the season? The tart sweet taste and the crunch of the crust....mm...mm..mm. I'm in heaven thinking of it! :wub:

Just a simple southern lady lost out west...

"Leave Mother in the fridge in a covered jar between bakes. No need to feed her." Jackal10

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Without a doubt, pie.

There, I've just put to rest the rumour that Therese and I are in fact the same person. (Apparently, we're complementary versions of ourselves...)

In order of preference: transparent pie, custard pie, then fruit pie.

Meat pies trump them all.

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The quarrel over classification of cheesecake gives me pause.

My favorite dessert in the whole wide world is a pumpkin pie, just set, removed from the oven when the center was a teeny bit wobbly, but now solid. Lots of fresh ginger. Made from fresh, roasted organic pumpkin, of course. Cream, but condensed milk more than acceptable. Flaky crust. Cool. Icebox cold next morning even better, though see remark about crust above.

I love tarts and crostada and whatever name you want to use. Perfect fruit. Perfect custard. These are pies, dammit and with the right apricot, raspberry, apple or pear, yum. Peach? The best of all. The first elegant dessert I made was Julia Child's and even though the custard was runny, it will be my favorite forever and ever. Of course, peaches are the best fruit in the whole wide world as everyone knows.

As far as I'm concerned Tart Tatin is pie. You bake it in Pyrex. You saute the apples in butter and sugar and cover them with a crust. It's pie. That kind of pastry, unlike the solidified batter on the pineapple upside-down cake, makes it a pie.

And Boston cream pie is a cake.

Now, while I love pumpkin pie more than any other dessert, I still would choose cake over pie.

Why?

In part, I am skeptical about the existence of the soul, believing it to be a cultural construct. I am not sure I have one, though I certainly feel compassion and can get down when the music calls for it. I do have a stomach, most definitely, and taste buds, and most of all a brain that carries the past and nerve endings that attach personal history to taste buds and said stomach.

Cake is birthday parties, first of all.

Cake is special occasions.

Cake takes more work. Eggs get separated. Whisks spin. Muscles tire. Lots of pans. Butter needs to sit out first. Beaters get licked. There's goo. There is layer after layer. It's more complex. It can be in any shape you want. You can put gummy worms stuck going in and out the frosting as if burrowing into the chocolate earth. There's something light with crumb and texture...if you're lucky. Bad things happen if things go wrong. Skill and weather and chance are all messed up with cake. Cake's a better metaphor for life than pie or even a bowl of cherries.

For someone who was [told she was] allergic to wheat as a child old enough to have built up a memory of five or six birthday cakes of her own plus all the others of cousins, aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents and friends, to be denied cake was devastating. Cheesecake has flour mixed into the cream cheese along with the eggs according to parents, and so it, too, was taboo and it, too, was cake. Pie? You could eat the stuff inside the crust, easy. Cake had more mystique. And when, finally, you discovered you could eat it again, cake was still special. Cake was and remains Paradise Regained.

Besides, chocolate cake is so much better than chocolate pie.

Ling?

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Now the question pops into my head.....does geography play a role? I come from a "joined family". Dad and 3 boys from the west coast, Stepmom and 3 kids fromt he midwest. Every time we had dessert in the house (not often, but it did happen on occasion), we would have a mini-civil war. Us west coaster's thought that cake was the only way to celebrate a special occasion. Nothing compares to a cake on a celebratory level. To "them", a pie was the end all, be all. After 10 years of battle, we made a compromise to call a cheesecake the middle ground. I mean, what kind of freak can't enjoy a cheesecake?

IMHO, pies are common. They come from things just lying around; fruit, nuts, etc. A CAKE on the other hand, means there is TRULY something to celebrate. So, I guess my answer is cake.

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That wonderful cheese filling can be put into a pastry crust ... or piled onto a cookie crust (Oreos with a little butter ... mmmmm).

Cheesecake IS pie.

Another great thing about pie, is that there's always leftover filling. More than a beater's worth, if you plan properly :smile:

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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And to open another can of worms, we have crabcakes and chicken pot pie. Pasties, too. But then, we must also consider the scourge of savory pie, also known as "Hot Pockets." But I digress. We're talking desserts, not savory items.

I must admit to eating toasted pound cake for breakfast quite frequently. This morning, for example. But then, I had no pie available.

One additional vote of support for pie can be attributed to how difficult it is to make, as evidenced in the song "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" from Annie Get Your Gun, when Annie and Frank exchange:

"Can you bake a pie?"

"No"

"Neither can I."

Even further evidence for pie comes from the movies. A search for the word "pie" in movie titles (see Internet Movie Database) resulted in 117 selections. A search for cake only resulted in 55. We also have Don McLean's "American Pie" which everyone will admit is a vastly better song than "MacArthur Park", where someone left the cake out in the rain. No one would ever leave pie out in the rain.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Honey, let's cakewalk.

Edited not only because I overlooked the fact that "cakewalk" did indeed speak early in this thread, but also for the following addition: I just learned that like the "pie in the sky" line in the song by the worker's union, here "cake" does not have positive connotations. The African-American dance did become popular and its original significance got lost when it entered mainstream culture. However, it originally was a subtle, hidden way to mock the hoighty-toity ways that umm members of the hegemonic culture danced when they were dressed up and being sophisticated. Therefore, this post does not support the superioty of cake and undermines my original intentions.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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You will eat, bye and bye,

In that glorious land above the sky;

Work and pray, live on hay,

You'll get pie in the sky when you die.

(Last one, but please note, this is a PARODY of a hymn, sung by the Wobblies, a worker's union. The tone's sarcastic, so lyrics cannot be used in defense of pie. Sorry. Cake still wins.)

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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On whether to classify a baked confection as pie or cake, it's IMO important not to be swayed by whatever name has traditionally been hung on the dessert in question, traditional names for dishes being notorious for their sometimes-sketchy relationship to the thing named--just one of many examples: the egg cream, which contains neither egg nor cream. No, as in the biological sciences, you have to look at the form and structure of the item in question in order to establish proper classification.

In the case of pie vs. cake, this is elegantly simple to do:

If it's got a discrete crust (whether of pastry, crumbs, or whatever), it's a pie.

If it doesn't, it's a cake ... or something. But a pie it ain't.

So-called "crustless pies", while delicious, are often at base discovered to be some other food item entirely--usually a frittata or other omelette-type thing.

Conclusion: cheesecakes have crusts, therefore they're pie. Boston cream pies don't have crusts, therefore they're cake. Regardless of the whims of history that hung those names on them.

Edited by mizducky (log)
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Conclusion: cheesecakes have crusts, therefore they're pie.

Some baked cheesecakes don't have a bottom crust.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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