Cake vs. Pie

15 Jul

I know it’s hard to believe, but I do have other friends besides Molly and Mazall.  Sometimes, I go on vacation with those friends. Sometimes, those friends and I get drunk and spend several hours arguing the merits of cake versus pie.

That’s right.  I said Cake vs. Pie.  It’s one of life’s all-important questions, right up there with the existence of God. I mean, what are we doing here anyway? Are we the result of a highly improbable collision of atoms floating through space with no real purpose? Are we the divine work of a spiritual maker? Or are we simply someone’s weekend craft project?

I don’t know, but I do know one thing: I love pie.

But I also love cake. And thus man’s eternal struggle begins….


Cake: Despite its basic recipe—flour, eggs, sugar, butter—cake is actually a very versatile dish. Pound cake tastes very different from sponge cake, which tastes very different from carrot cake, which in turn has nothing on German chocolate cake. Perhaps this is why cake is the dessert of choice for celebratory events such as birthdays, weddings and bat mitzvahs and is often associated with feelings of happiness and goodwill. But it’s also fun to make depressing cakes. Divorce cake? Recession cake? These are excellent ideas. Cake is the only dessert that can be eaten ironically.

Evan's topical birthday cake in fall 2008

Pie: What it lacks in initial appeal (who wants a birthday pie? Nobody) it makes up for in variety. Pretty much everything can be turned into a pie. Apples? Check. Bananas? Check. Limes? Check. Chocolate? Of course. Pecans? Yes, please. Peanut butter? Eh, why not. Even meat can be turned into a pie (although we largely ignored this fact during our cake v. pie tournament because no one had eaten a meat pie recently and frankly, we find the entire genre kind of gross)

hi there, pie


Ryan: the gay

Andy: the Romanian

Cara: the loud burper

Claire: the giggler

Logan: the girl with a boy’s name

Megan: the librarian

Marc: the sports fan

Jonathan: the one who went home early


First, we listed as many pies and cakes as we could think of. Then we each picked our top four favorites from each category and eliminated the rest. Marc the sports fan drew up a bracket similar to those stupid March Madness things.

our intial brainstorming session

Problems arose almost immediately. First, the pie side suffered an insufficient explanation of the difference between chess pie and pecan pie (answer: pecans). Then a vehement sweet potato pie fight broke out during the elimination round.

Claire was worried about the proper spelling of Boston Cream (or is it “Crème”?) pie. Rhubarb and lemon meringue turned out to be very controversial pies. Nobody but Marc had ever eaten pineapple upside down cake. Ryan threw a fit when he learned that everyone else had listed pumpkin pie as a favorite. “Well, that’s just gross,” he said, folding his long, noodle-like arms in a huff. (What? Ryan has long arms. I’m just being descriptive)

Claire wondered if all chocolate-based cakes should be classified under one term: “chocolate.” This was a stupid idea and nobody agreed with her, so we wound up with three chocolate cakes: chocolate, German chocolate, and Black Forest. She still thinks this was a grave mistake that diminished chocolate’s competitiveness.

Most of our discussions sounded like this:

Megan: What about cookie cake?

Claire: That’s not really a cake. That’s just a giant cookie trying to pass as a cake. Ice cream cake isn’t really a cake either

Megan: I’ll accept your cookie argument but ice cream is definitely a cake.

Logan: Are we talking about cake that has an ice cream filling in the middle, or a cake that’s made entirely out of ice cream?

Ryan: The ice cream filling kind. Like the ones you buy at Baskin-Robbins for birthday parties.

Andy: We didn’t have Baskin-Robbins in my country

Oh, and cheesecake was disqualified from competition because no one knew what to do with it. It has a cake name but it includes piecrust and refuses to play by the rules. Fruitcake was also disqualified on the grounds that it’s gross.


Marc has bad handwriting

Here was the official bracket. Ryan, a cake fan, was immediately upset by this tournament. “He rigged that chart to favor pie!” he cried, waving his noodle arms around like a crazy person.

Although it was heavily favored to win, pumpkin pie didn’t make it out of the semifinals.

The judges may have been biased in favor of rum cake due to a homemade sample baked by Logan’s mom. We are totally fine with this. That rum cake was incredible.

We won’t run through each bracket, but here is a video of us arguing:


As you can see from both the bracket and the dramatic conclusion to the second video, the best cake is Red Velvet cake and the best pie is Key Lime. When pitted against each other, Red Velvet easily emerges as the victor.  Cake wins.


25 Responses to “Cake vs. Pie”

  1. Molly July 15, 2010 at 4:28 am #

    I JUST requested red velvet for my birthday. It’s really too bad you guys spent 4 hours figuring out what I already knew.

    • Claire July 15, 2010 at 4:57 am #

      Congratulations, you have the same taste as everyone else.


  2. Marc July 15, 2010 at 5:16 am #

    I object to your assertion that no one wants birthday pie. I want birthday pie! In fact, I’ve had many a birthday Key Lime pie.

    Pie is still better than cake and always will be.

    • Claire July 15, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

      We actually made a birthday pecan pie for our friend Dan once. It was delicious.

      We stuck candles in it and everything.

      (that’s what she said?)

      • Marc July 15, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

        That is NOT what she said.

  3. Andy July 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    Here’s a perfect video to link with Ryan’s arms description:

  4. Ryan July 15, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    Let it be known that I was informed, quite condescendingly, that Red Velvet cake is actually CHOCOLATE CAKE that has been colored red, remember? So chocolate cake won afterall, Claire.

    PS: It’s all true…I’m a tall gangly mess!

    • Claire July 15, 2010 at 2:19 pm #

      It is chocolate cake, but it’s weak chocolate cake. It barely tastes like chocolate at all. It’s not that I dislike red velvet cake, it’s just that I enjoy so many other flavors of cake better. It’s like making a list of your favorite foods and then choosing for the best one something bland like Cheerios when clearly the answer should be something much more delicious. Like steak.

      • Molly July 15, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

        I would choose frosted cheerios over steak

      • Ryan July 15, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

        But I don’t find Red Velvet to be weak at all, it’s as if my favorite food were actually Cheerios and you’re telling me “no, your favorite food is steak.” Last time I checked, we live in AMERICA, not NAZI GERMANY!

  5. Claire July 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    ugh, what is WRONG with you people?!

    • Ryan July 15, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

      “You people?” Well I guess we ARE in Nazi Germany, hearing language like that.

      • Claire July 15, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

        I said nothing about forcing Red Velvet Cake fans to wear pieces of flair

  6. Victor July 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    i would have liked to have watched the entire video but threw up around the 2 minute mark due to claire’s parkinson’s-laden camera work

    • Claire July 15, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

      It’s avant-garde

  7. Steve July 15, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    Re: Black velvet cake, it’s the icing dummy!Cream cheese icing, it doesn’t get any better than that on a cake. I think the cake category should have been split into two leagues, cakes with icing and cakes without icing. The rum cake wins hands down in the cakes without icing league.

    I have a chocolate cake with cream cheese icing for my birthday every year. Although a key lime pie with margaritas on the side would work as well.

    (Dictated using Dragon speaking naturally)

    • Logan July 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

      I think you’re right, Dad. It’s all about the icing!

  8. Janice July 16, 2010 at 2:42 am #

    (This is dictated by Claire)

    I’m going to find my Memphis Black-bottom Pie recipe and you girls are going to make it from scratch in New York exactly (it’s not that hard) and then revote because my black bottom pie will take any pie in the universe, end of story. It was created by the Dobbs family in Memphis who had Dobbs house which then became the food service caterers for all the airlines in the country.

    Claire: Wait…you want to say that the best pie comes from the people who make airline food?

    Mom: Well, they didn’t sell the pie on the airplanes!

    Claire: Ok, continue. What else do you want to say?

    Mom: Red velvet cake is just boring cake with good icing on top. It must have been a fad when these poor kids were growing up. We never had that kind of cake in the South when I was growing up. I’d lay dollars to donuts that it was invented after 1970. Kind of like those damn fried pickles. No one was frying pickles when I was growing up either. What is wrong with you people?

    Claire: Anything else?

    Mom: Key Lime is overrated too.

    • Molly July 16, 2010 at 2:44 am #

      i feel like a celebrity just commented.

      • Janice July 16, 2010 at 2:46 am #

        I sound like I drink, don’t i?

      • Molly July 16, 2010 at 2:48 am #

        Marc: janice just blew my top
        I’m too red in the face to even reply right now

      • Claire July 20, 2010 at 4:01 am #

        I’d like to point out Janice’s anti-Frickles stance. For reasons that only Molly (and Nick…if he reads this/stalks us) will understand

  9. Janice July 16, 2010 at 3:11 am #

    why thank you, honey

  10. Drewpreme July 17, 2010 at 12:40 am #

    Pardon my Negroe sensitivities (and channeling my inner Tracy Jordan) but as the lone POC commenter (because Tyler “White Chocolate” Hartsook no longer comments here) I think I need to know more about this “Memphis Black Bottom Pie”.

    *googles and finds some vague references to a Oreo based crust confectionary*
    *also finds less than flattering name for pecan pie*

  11. Retta (Logan's mama) July 22, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    You are all full of “batter”. Everyone knows my Rum Cake is the best.

Go ahead, say it.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: