When Someone Asks If You’d Like Cake or Pie, Why Not Say You Want Cake and Pie?*

April 28, 2010

I am not a strict vegan, because I’m a hedonist pig. If I see a big chocolate cake that is made with eggs, I’ll have it.
• Grace Slick

I love cake. Cake with buttercreamy frosting. Lots of buttercreamy frosting. Cake soaked with rum. Cake with mocha frosting. Cake smeared with raspberry jam between the layers. Cake with lots of buttercreamy frosting. Cake with chocolate ganache. Cake with nuts. Carrot cake. Spice cake. White and yellow cake. Chocolate cake. All of it slathered with buttercreamy frosting. Please don’t forget the frosting and please don’t be stingy with it.

Fortunately, I don’t bake anymore, so temptation does not surround me. I won’t be running to the kitchen to whip something up. Cake must be purchased. This is more difficult than it sounds. All cake is not good cake. Some cake is bad. Some cake is mediocre. Some cake isn’t worth eating. Famous brands of cupcakes and spongecake fingers filled with cream do not tempt me. Little Miss Anybody’s varikinded cakey treats are not for me. Even some fancy-dancy bakeries make stuff I don’t want in my mouth.

I am a picky cake eater. Cake eater is not a flattering term, harkening back to the apocryphal story about Marie Antoinette. Look it up. She probably never said, “Let them eat cake,” but the real story seems open to multiple speculations. Cake eaters are ritzy, rich people; fat-behinded folks who eat donuts for breakfast; inconsiderate slobs who snag all the goodies for themselves.

This is not me, although you should protect your flanks if you cut yourself a bigger slice and most especially if you take the big pink frosting rose without offering it to moi first. I will not be happy. Nor will I be charmed if you are cutting a sheet cake and give me an inside piece. I want the outside, preferably a corner. It’s the frosting, you know.

Satisfying a cake hankering isn’t easy. Whipped cream is not buttercream frosting. Pudding is not a substitute for frosting. If that’s what you’re serving, count me out. And if you’re planning to offer me a piece enshrouded in that shiny stuff that looks kind of like marshmallow fluff, but tastes like something made by amateur chemists in an underground laboratory, don’t bother.**

If I’m going to have cakey calories, I want the real stuff, moist, tasty, scrumptious, and generously topped, middled, and sided with you-know-what. The perfect cake? Yellow or white with layers alternately drizzled with rum and spread with raspberry jam before being topped with mocha buttercream. Thick mbc on the sides and top and sliced almonds on the sides. Adding some chocolate ganache on the top will increase my delight. What would I be celebrating as I eat this concoction? Cake, of course! Happy “Let Us Eat Cake Day.” That’s a Mirthday Sillybration I’d like to observe. How about you?

If you could have any kind of celebratory cake you want (end-of-term, passed-the-test, finished-the-paper, graduated!!), what would you celebrate and what kind of cake would you design?

All the world is birthday cake, so take a slice, but not too much.
• George Harrison

* Lisa Loeb provided the incredibly sensible title quotation. And yes, I do like pie. Homemade apple pie (no canned apples, please), cherry pie, blackberry pie, lemon meringue pie, chocolate cream pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and more. But if I had to choose, let me eat cake.

•• And, Dear Heloise, I often love your advice, but putting marshmallows on a hot cake after removing it from the oven is NOT frosting it. Seriously. What are you thinking?

P.S. Please don’t turn my “Let Us Eat Cake Day” into a celebration of healthy alternatives to delectable gateaus made with real butter, eggs, vanilla, and sugar. That is not what I intend. I’d rather have a salad, thank you very much, and forget about the faux cake imposters. I’m not advocating that everyone eat cake every day. I’m just saying that the real thing is pretty tasty and that every once in a while, there’s good old-fashioned tastiness that could be–nay, should be–sampled, just to keep your tastebuds reminded of once-upon-a-time.

P.P.S. Ice cream cake is not cake. It’s good, but it’s not the kind of cake I want, although I do miss ice cream cake roll (vanilla ice cream rolled up in chocolate cake), best served topped with hot fudge and whipped cream.



  1. Chocolate cake is my passion. I wish I were as discerning a cake lover as you. Unfortunately, I will eat any cheap imitation, often only to be bitterly disappointed. But I am with you on the frosting…luckily for us, there are four corners!

  2. Self esteem and confidence have delayed my educational efforts for over a decade. I hate when doubt creeps in to my life. Now that I have started my I will not stop, because I don’t quit! So, when I have completed my educational pursuits, I am going to have a gigantic EDUCADAY cake! It is going to be an ice cream cake…it is too cake! I am not a chocolate person at all, so it will be rich vanilla topped with fresh strawberry:). I’m drooling already!
    I look forward to having my students create a Mirthday Sillybration.

  3. A beloved orange-striped cat has proclaimed his hatred for Mondays for several years. While Garfield loathes the first day of the work week I recognize Monday as a clean slate, and a solace prior to the onslaught of weekly duties that seem to build daily. I also feel an obligation to honor special days that, through no fault of their own, fall during the non-school months.
    Due to at least these two thoughts I choose to sillybrate ‘Moon Day’; the honoring of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon. Our class will use worn out shoes and boots to create ‘moon boots’. We will then leave our footprints and affix our quotation to be etched in the history of mankind. We may even do some ‘moon walking’.

  4. Aside from my personal EDUCADAY, my students will celebrate National Bucket Filler Friday. Many tanks run low on Friday and so Buckets will be filled on Fridays.

  5. National Thank You Day is on Jan 11. My students will write thank you notes to the workers at school that sometimes go unnoticed. Each cupcake will have a letter of the phrase Thank you! on it and will be presented with a song, dance or words along with the cards.

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