The battle of whether a cake is a pastry or a pastry is a cake has troubled people for a while now. This has mainly been contributed by restaurants since we only have a pastry chef, who is the same person that will prepare cakes there. While there, they are tasked with preparing all that requires baking, which includes loaves of bread, cake pie, muffins, sweetbread, cooking and laminated dough pastries. It can be a confusing subject since they both use more or less the same ingredients, and they are both snacks in their own way. The base ingredient is flour in both, and can easily qualify one to be the other, but that is not the case.
When you look deeper into the items used to prepare and the method used to prepare either of the snacks, you will notice some differences that separate them from each other. In cakes, we use flour, fat, sugar, and leaveners like eggs to form the material which is then put in an oven to bake for a certain period. The ingredients may vary sometimes, depending on the type of cake you are going for. Others may even add color to the cake to make it look more appealing to the eye and to add some flavor to it as well. The raw material in the latter is primarily flour and fat. Like cakes, they also have decorations or colors added to them that are scaled down a bit if compared closely. They’re made to adopt oval shapes and flavors to make them sweet.
Cakes are mainly used in social gatherings, often shared by many to mark a certain occasion. Events like birthdays, graduation ceremonies, or weddings use cake to celebrate the life before and mark the beginning of a new journey, the next step in your life. Even those who do not fancy cake, take a bite on this day to celebrate with the hosts. They’ve been normalized on these occasions to the point where if such a gathering is called, and a cake is not in sight, that would be the first major flaw to be noticed. It is not uncommon, however uncourteous it may be, for us to hear people asking if there will be cake at the event before making plans to attend. The cake is always the highlight of the event, especially in happy scenarios, since rarely do we see a cake being cut and shared with people in a burial ceremony.
Pastries are often served as desserts or can be used as snacks, good for breakfast as well. Unlike cakes that are one-piece baked for many, these are eaten in servings, meaning they are prepared in plenty for people to pick those which will satisfy them. They are also served at events but do not carry the same responsibility as the cake does. Such will be used as side dishes, snacks, or desserts in these settings. In terms of nutritional value, cakes are packed with proteins, vitamins, and carbohydrates, whereas pastries are mainly composed of carbohydrates with fatty acids, vitamins as well if fruits are included in them.
Another notable difference would be the procedure in making them. Both items can be baked to make them edible, but some pastries can be inserted in hot oil to cook. Examples of such include doughnuts, which are later added with layers of sweeteners and flavors on top to give them that special touch. For pastries to be considered, fat must be incorporated into the dough. Without considering the method of intrusion, doughnuts can be considered to be pastry. Cakes cannot be fried in oil, their only method of preparation is by baking them.
Oil is not infused in them which separates them from the pastry. These oils can be used when mixing the dough so that the result can be a moist substance that will remain moist for days after baking.
In many ways, a cake can be considered as a pastry, but vice versa is not entirely true. Other differences could be used to distinguish one from the other. We should enjoy the delight of having both delicacies in our menus, and enjoy them while we still can. They both give us a level of satisfaction in their own way since these snacks serve different purposes.