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:
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!!
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.
Cheesecake has a filling and a pastry shell, so it should check out. Meaninggg..it's a pie right? RIGHT?! I'm spiraling.
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."
For consistency's sake, here is Merriam's definition of a tart:
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.
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.
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.
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?