Saturday, March 14, 2015

Cake Layers

The last couple of cake slices I’ve had suffered from the same problem, one that I have found to be quite relevant in layered cake: the middle layer was too close to the top. Now think about it: you’ve got cake, which provides consistency and some flavor, and frosting, which (ideally) is what really gives the cake its flavor. (There are of course people who eat just the frosting, but that’s a different issue.) The frosting is on top. And unless the cake is small enough to get a complete cross-section onto your fork, you’re going to have to take at least one bite without that top frosting for every bite you take with it.

This is the major challenge of eating cake. And in a single-layer cake, pretty much your only option is to set aside some of the frosting from the top or edge to mix with the bottom part of the cake. Obviously, single-layer cakes should be fairly short.

Things are different with multiple layers, though. That extra layer of frosting is there to make sure the lower half of the cake gets frosting too. But how much frosting does it get? Well ideally, it would get the same amount as the top, from a layer of about the same thickness halfway down. If the layer is more than halfway down, that’s fine – you just include cake from both sides of the middle layer. But if the frosting layer is less than halfway down, you’re left with the same problem as before, only worse: a bite from the top half intersects two layers of frosting, while a bite from the bottom half gets none! In this case, you’re back to extreme measures like siphoning off frosting from other parts of the cake – but avoiding that is the whole point of putting an additional layer in there to start with! I can only imagine that cakes like that were invented by people who cram the entire height of the slice into their mouths at once, never taking time to consider the taste of the individual layers or the woes of people left to compensate for the cake makers’ lack of foresight or consideration.

Shame on them.