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Updated on Apr 16, 2019. Posted on Apr 15, 2019

Let's Settle This Once And For All: Is Cheesecake A Cake, Pie, Or Tart?

Where are my bakers out there? I'm spiraling out of control.

Hello everyone, let's talk cheesecake.

Weight Watchers

It's creamy, delicious, and arguably one of the best desserts around. But as I was inhaling one (or three) slices the other day, I got to thinking: Why is cake even in the title? This is nothing like a cake? Right?

A co-worker disagreed with me and insisted that it's definitely a type of cake (we're not friends anymore), so I asked my homegirl Merriam-Webster to define cake for me and she came through with these three definitions:

Merriam-Webster

Now as far as the first definition goes, most cheesecakes I know don't identify as "breadlike," so that's thrown out the window. The third definition compares it to fish cakes, which is a whole other post on its own. So we're left with the second definition, which seems a bit more sound to me, but "a raising agent?" In a traditional cheesecake? I don't know!!

FOX

So then I started to wonder, has cheesecake just been a pie using the word "cake" as a pseudonym? And so back to Merriam I went! This definition made a little more sense to me, personally.

Merriam-Webster

Cheesecake has a filling and a pastry shell, so it should check out. Meaninggg..it's a pie right? RIGHT?! I'm spiraling.

FOX

And just when I thought I had cracked the case, I went to the internet to see what other people were saying and was presented with a third option by Eater that I hadn't even considered until now: "Cheesecake is clearly a tart."

Eater / Via eater.com

For consistency's sake, here is Merriam's definition of a tart:

Merriam-Webster

Now, I'm no baker. I've only ever badly baked pre-made cookie dough, but based on this definition, it sounded to me like tarts ARE basically fancy pies, like, the word pie is LITERALLY in the definition. So, back to the internet I went, because I was more confused than when I started this mess.

Lifetime

According to The Kitchn, a difference between the two does exist and it basically comes down whether or not there is a top/side crust on the dish, the type of pan used, and the consistency of the crust.

The Kitchn

Based on this new evidence, it sounds to me like cheesecakes can be tarts, but aren't always?? I honestly don't know what to believe anymore, and yes, I am overthinking this.

MaximoTV

So basically, I need your help now because clearly I can't form a solid opinion of my own. What do you think? Is cheesecake a cake, pie, tart, or something I haven't even thought of?

  1. Cheesecake is...

    Cheesecake is...

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Cheesecake is...
  1.  
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    A cake.
  2.  
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    A pie.
  3.  
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    A tart.
  4.  
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    Something else.