Is Cheesecake A Pie Or A Cake?

We're weighing in on this hot debate.

Key Lime Cheesecake

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Cheesecake is the ultimate indulgent dessert and makes for the perfect addition to any occasion. With its tangy-meets-sweet flavor and luscious creamy texture, it's sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Plus, you can opt to serve cheesecake plain or top each slice with fruit, chocolate, or even caramel.

While we know it’s delicious, this treat causes some debate as to its dessert classification. Is cheesecake a cake? Or is cheesecake a pie? In this explainer, we’='re getting to the bottom of it.

What Is Cheesecake?

First things first, what exactly is a cheesecake—and how is it made?

Classic cheesecake starts with a buttery pressed crust most often made by combining graham crackers, a bit of sugar, and butter. Depending on the flavor combination of cheesecake, the graham crackers might be swapped out for chocolate cookie crumbs or even ginger snaps.

The crust is then topped with a rich and creamy custard-like filling mainly made up of cream cheese, sugar, and eggs. After it’s baked, the filling firms up while cooling to the perfect consistency to cut a slice.

Cheesecakes can also be prepped using the no-bake route, but they’re still made similarly with a base crust and a luscious cream cheese filling, minus the eggs!

Cake Vs. Pie

To decide whether a cheesecake should be classified as cake or pie, it’s important to look at what cakes and pies are.

A cake is typically made by combining a mixture of dry ingredients, including flour and leavening agents, with some mixture of wet ingredients including eggs, milk, oil, and butter. That batter is then baked in a pan to make a bread-like sweet.

A pie, on the other hand, typically has a buttery pastry crust as the base. Then, it’s baked with a sweet filling, often made of fruit. Pies can also be savory, and of course, there are plenty of pies with a creamy base such as pumpkin or custard pie.

Is Cheesecake Pie or Cake?

Despite the name, cheesecake is not a cake. By Merriam-Webster’s definition, cake is a bread-like dessert that's baked from a thick batter. And cheesecake's qualities don’t fit that bill.

On the other hand, while cheesecake is closer to a pie given its crust and filling structure, it doesn’t quite fit alongside those types of flaky desserts either.

Given cheesecake's structure, ingredients, and the way it is baked, cooked, and served, we’re chiming in to say that cheesecake is a hybrid between cake and pie. It’s not possible to pick a clear-cut side. It’s a category all on its own, and it’s a delicious one at that.

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