“Why can’t you be like every other kid?”

“I don’t like cake, mom. Could I have a birthday pie?”

“I never heard… How about banana bread?”


What’s the deal with cake? It’s sweet, full of air, dissolves in your mouth with no satisfying crunch or chewiness. Yes it can be decorated to look pretty and that’s all fine and good but I’d rather have peach — or mince! — pie, or any pie.

“It’ll be fun! There’ll be cake!” I’ve heard that, too. What’s fun about cake?

I made a cake once that didn’t fit the description above. It had 13 eggs in it, about 1/2 ton butter, some sugar, melted chocolate and no flour whatsoever. It was also absurdly, ridiculously, out of this world, amazingly delicious. Mexican Tres Leches cake is also worth eating. It was the featured dessert at a reception/party for one of my marriages.

In preparing for Iceland I tried to read an Icelandic novel Under the Glacier by Haldor Laxness. In it, a young cleric is sent to the area of Snaefellsnes Glacier where Journey to the Center of the Earth is set, to find out what’s going on with the church there. He doesn’t get answers to his question, and he doesn’t get any decent food. He’s just offered an immense variety of cake. He was starving for protein or just normal ordinary food because he was a normal, ordinary guy not a Bishop. Somehow the people had the idea that Bishops didn’t eat dried fish, only cake.

So there I was in Iceland, in a restaurant, had a nice lunch and the waitress said, “Would you like dessert?” My friend asked what they had and the waitress said, “We have cake. You can see all our cake over there,” and she pointed to the counter near the entrance of the restaurant. That’s when I understood. I saw a cake that resembled THE flourless masterpiece I had once made and asked for that. Close, very close, but missing half a dozen eggs and 1/4 ton of butter. Also, I suspect it contained a tincture of flour. The airport, too, had a very ample supply of cake. I regret not taking any photos of cake in Iceland but Iceland was a long strange trip.

But, in Iceland, the category of “cake” includes pie. 🙂

20 thoughts on “Cake

  1. Even though I wrote a poem about cake for the daily prompt, it is not my go to dessert. I prefer peach or cherry pie. I was raised on boxed cake mixes with canned icing. If I am going have cake it would be one of those pink on pink concoctions.

  2. I’m the opposite. I LOVE cake. I ADORE cake.
    Pie? Meh … waste of calories. I used to have a piece of pie and then wonder what’s for dessert. Now I just skip the pie … unless it’s meat pie. That’s a different story.

  3. For every birthday, my younger son requested I make him Key Lime Pie. So I did. But none of that nasty green food coloring, thank you very much. That pie was so good.

  4. I was never one for cake really, except when I made it because I knew what was in it. I am more for the special stuff with the interesting creams and toppings, but alas the creams are a thing of the past due to lactose, and I should leave the cake as well due to diabetes. I often wonder if there is anything left I can eat.

    • 😦 I think that’s harsh, considering, especially, how good Swiss pastries are and how good the milk is. The best cookie of my whole life came out of a bakery in Eglisau, a tiny village on the Rhine. It was really memorable – merengue and chocolate. Maybe merengue and chocolate? Well, that’s sugar, too. There’s no justice.

      • I never did actually like milk and never drank it as such, only in disguise. We have a bakers in Solothurn that has the licence as the only one to make the genuine Solothurnerkuchen. They are quite good.

  5. So, Martha, do you know of a country where they only serve cookies? Especially the gooey, soft ones, please. Decorated or plain, it’s all the same to me. I’m planning to move there! 🙂

  6. My husband always preferred pie to cake as well. He was good about eating whatever I made, but if I gave him a choice, it was pie. Of course, he was a very good cook himself, so he never had to go without what he liked if he didn’t want to.

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