Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cake v Pie: THE END

It was a long road and a tough battle, but in the end there could only be one.  All hail and bow down to...


To the detractors: The Selection Committee maintains that a key ingredient in any Cheesecake is a crusty base. Moreover, it does not rise. Cakes, generally speaking, rise. But the crust factor is inarguable. Cheesecake is a Pie, and Pie wins.  Shut your pie hole and quitcher complainin’, Koth, Pumpkin Pie sucks.

If you can learn to accept Pie, you can learn to accept peace. The war, my friends, is over.

For now.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cake v Pie: Your Conference Champs

A moment of silence please.  #1 pie seed, that giant of giants, Apple Pie suffered defeat at the fluffy-light hands of pie conference’s 2010 champion...Cheesecake.   Fruit fans went home empty-handed.  Says one stunned Apple supporter...“But it has cake in the name!”

Over in the cake conference, #4 German Chocolate Cake lost the conference to a pastry that is controversial at best, the unequalled, unparalleled and utterly delicious Red Velvet.

These are your conference champions, ladies and gentlemen, fairly determined as the best pie and cake, respectively, known to man.  No hanging chads on these ballots.  Tomorrow they will move forward for one last shot at glory. 32 competitors have come and gone, two remain — but there can only be one victor. It's Cheesecake vs. Red Velvet, and the winner takes all.

The pie/cake debate will end with this.  Ready thyselves, and take to the battlefield.

While all Red Velvet Cakes use food coloring, the Red Velvet cake is not, per the accusations of its detractors, merely a cake with food coloring. The cocoa is what makes it special, and the chemical reaction of its ingredients — buttermilk and vinegar in particular — bring out the red hues in the cocoa (the red anthocyanin, to be extract). The richness of Red Velvet's color is the sum of a union between science and aesthetics.

Proponents of Red Velvet Cake thus justly argue that it is not, per the belief of its detractors, cake that merely features red food coloring. Rather, the red is steeped in patriotic history: When foods were rationed during World War II, beets were used to enhance the color of the cake. Red Velvet is the sweet tooth's battle against the Axis nations — it symbolizes the fight for good in the face of injustice, and is as patriotic as the red on any Allied flag. 


Despite its name, cheesecake is a creamy pie — like a DNA test to determine paternity, the cheesecake's crusty base, that which holds it together, confirms it is a pie. It is a versatile creation, lending itself to a variety of preparations that can pleasantly occupy and challenge cooks while pleasing a wide swatch of palates. Cheesecakes can be baked or unbaked; they can be made with heavy cream or sour cream or, of course, a variety of cheeses, ranging from cottage cheese to cream cheese to ricotta or mascarpone or any other soft cheese product.

Much like Red Velvet, Cheesecake also has deep historical routes — the ancient Greek Aegimus is said to have authored what could be considered the first cheesecake cookbook; ancient Roman Cato the Elder included two recipes for religious use in his text on farming and agriculture. Cheesecake rests in the sweet spot that is ancient democracy; it is to dessert as Latin is to the romance languages.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Cake v Pie: The Final Four!

This weekend’s Pie v Cake matches featured tears, cheers, and upsets!

#3 Red Velvet Cake left a trail of red all over the court as it took down #2 Ice Cream Cake by precisely 200 votes.

Even more shockingly, #4 German Chocolate Cake knocked out the #1 seed, Birthday Cake—also a squeaker, coming down to a matter of 250-odd votes.

 Red Velvet and German Chocolate will ascend to the Final Four, guaranteeing that the championship match will not feature a #1 seed and demonstrating to us all that the universe is not set in stone.  (And that Red Velvet is awesome in spite of all the naysayers that had it out in the first round.  Koth.)

Over in the Pie Conference, the pie-loving public was forced to look deep inside themselves and listen to their soul, making the tough decision to vote #1 Apple the winner over the nostalgic favorite #4 Pumpkin Pie.

And in what was a less-close match (some might call it a massacre of epic proportions), #2 Cheesecake won over #3Key Lime.

And now, the Conference Finals — a conference champion will emerge from the field of its peers, and will move on to fight for the ultimate honor.

This is...the Final Four.
#3 Red Velvet Cake squares off against #4 German Chocolate
#1 Apple Pie looks deep into the eyes of #2 Cheesecake

The future is wide open.

Godspeed, sugary friends.  It all comes down to this.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cake v Pie: Sweet Sixteen Results

Behold!  From 32 desserts we have whittled down the competition to Eight.  It was a fierce battle filled with sugar, icing and crumbs flying everywhere.

Birthday and Apple are still turning out strong support.  Neither Pound Cake nor Pecan Pie could muster up enough supporters to take down their respective #1 seeds.

In the Pie conference Boston Cream got, well, creamed by heavy-hitter Pumpkin.

And it was no cakewalk for German Chocolate—it just barely beat Coffee to advance to the next round.  Will it prevail over Birthday Cake next round?  Reply hazy, try again.

Wedding Cake lost at the blood-red hands of Red Velvet.  Not a pretty sight.

Key Lime Pie, meanwhile, made a pulpy blue mess of fallen favorite Blueberry.  A moment of silence, please.

Moving on, 2-seed Ice Cream froze out its competition Carrot Cake.  No love lost there!

And in the final Pie Conference match-up, Cheesecake handily took down 10-seed underdog French Silk, which just couldn’t rally after its surprising defeat of fan favorite Cherry Pie.

And so in this brutal competition for Dessert Supremacy, we are down to Eight.

Next week in Cake, it’s by the books:

1 seed Birthday Cake takes on 4 seed German Chocolate
3 seed Red Velvet is up against 2 seed Ice Cream

In Pie, all the top seeds made it too:

#1 Apple goes against seasonal heavyweight #4 Pumpkin
#3 Key Lime pits its regional flavor against #2 Cheesecake

This is, folks.  Time to batten the hatches and prepare for a storm of sugar, because it’s about to get ugly out there!