Does Pittsburgh Really Make the Best Cake in America?

PittGirl puts the Prantl’s burnt almond torte to ultimate test: a 9-month-old baby.



 

"Who’s got the best cake in the country? Pittsburgh does!” “Best cake in all of America! Woo!”

This was the virtual chest-bumping reaction in April, when Huffington Post writer Julie R. Thomson declared Prantl’s Bakery’s burnt-almond torte to be the “Greatest Cake America Has Ever Made.”

If there’s one thing we ’Burghers love, it’s the chance to cheer about our city and show the rest of the world that we’re not “Pittsburgh? Really?” We’re “Pittsburgh. Really!” We like to brag about our restaurants, our resiliency and our skyline (which makes your skyline look like a 6-year-old’s Play-Doh and booger creation).

I am one of Prantl’s most-rabid cheerleaders. But when the Huffington Post piece came out, I didn’t run down Grant Street whooping while Instagramming ecstatic selfies of me with Prantl’s icing on my face and almond slices stuck to my eyebrows. Because I realized that the news outlet didn’t hold a contest or blind taste test. It didn’t use any science at all. It just published a post from one person among Earth’s billions of people and let her proclaim Prantl’s burnt-almond torte as the “Greatest Cake America Has Ever Made.”

This is the problem with the Internet, typed the crotchety old lady. Widely read websites publish reader-submitted opinion pieces and slap hyperbolic titles on them as if that alone makes them truth: “The official greatest song of the summer.” “The ultimate listing of the top skylines in the world.” “The definitive ranking of dogs stuck in couches.”

Definitive by what standard — science? No, by the standard of the dude who spent five hours of his life sifting through pictures of dogs in couches and decided the panic-eyed Chihuahua fully wedged in a sleeper sofa beat the pug butt-stuck between the leather cushions. This is today’s Internet, ladies and gentlemen.

So when I saw that a headline writer called Prantl’s cake the greatest cake in America, I remained calm. Not three days prior, I had determined whether Prantl’s was the best cake in Pittsburgh. And I did it with science. Kind of.

The occasion was my sister’s birthday dinner at our parents’ house. Burnt-almond torte is her favorite, so I bought one from Prantl’s. But my cousin, not knowing I had already taken care of the cake, grabbed one from Oakmont Bakery.

There they sat. Two burnt-almond tortes. Eyeing each other like boxers at a weigh-in. White box. Black box. I considered one to be the best cake in Pittsburgh; my Oakmont-dwelling cousin considered the other to be the champion.

There can be only one. Let’s rumble!

We devised a blind taste test with my sister, our niece and me. In the end, my niece and I picked Prantl’s, while my sister settled on Oakmont. When I had heard that I chose Prantl’s, I leapt from the couch and punched the air triumphantly. Prantl’s was better. I knew it. Science had just proven it. But then things got interesting.

We decided that if we really wanted to call this science, we couldn’t use a sample size of three based on a population of 313 million Americans. So we had every person at the party take the same blind taste test.

Partygoers crowded around the person taking the test. We watched in absolute silence. We waited breathlessly for each decision as if Maury Povich was about to read paternity results. “When it comes to this cake . . . OAKMONT IS YOUR CHOICE!” *wild cheering and incredulous weeping*

Soon, it was tied. Siblings divided. Marriages splintering before our very eyes. We were so desperate for a winner that we attempted to have a 9-month-old baby cast a vote, but she just inhaled both pieces of cake and burped. What good are you, baby? We’re trying to do science here.

We were eyeing the dog as a possible voter, when we realized there was one cousin who hadn’t yet taken the test. This was it. The tie-breaker. For truth. For science. For cake.

He tasted. Chewed. Swallowed. Tasted. Chewed. Swallowed. Silence.

JUST TELL US ALREADY, MAURY!

He chose Oakmont.

They’re both fantastic cakes, and it’s likely a matter of personal preference. But be on the lookout for my future BuzzFeed piece called “The definitive ranking of the Top 10 ways I reacted childishly to Oakmont Bakery narrowly beating out my beloved Prantl’s.”

Spoiler alert: No. 5 is *table flip* — and No. 2 is “I believe the baby chose Prantl’s.” 
 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

2016 Homes of the Year

2016 Homes of the Year

Our independent panel of judges recognizes three local, unique residences as our Homes of the Year in the categories of New Build, Renovation and Green.
Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

With so many options in and around the city, every couple can find the special space that feels just right — whether they’re looking for nature, rustic charm, fairytale romance, stained-glass beauty, treasured religious ritual or classic tradition.
Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Delve below the surface to explore the underground areas that serve as vital pathways to our region.
Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Chefs who grew up in Pittsburgh are shaping the culinary scene in other cities across the country — and gaining national recognition in the process.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Go Behind the Scenes at the Sen. John Heinz History Center

Go Behind the Scenes at the Sen. John Heinz History Center

The newest long-term area in the museum offers visitors a snapshot into the preservation of western Pennsylvania history, one artifact at a time.
Comeback Kid - Jung Ho Kang Returns to the Practice Field

Comeback Kid - Jung Ho Kang Returns to the Practice Field

Kang shared a video of his rehab work since suffering the knee injury that ended his season 16 games shy of the playoffs last year.
Back From the Dead? Parkway Center Focus of New Development Talk

Back From the Dead? Parkway Center Focus of New Development Talk

Aside from a Giant Eagle, the mall has been empty for the past three years.
Great Catch: Easiest Way to Tasty Lenten Fish Frys

Great Catch: Easiest Way to Tasty Lenten Fish Frys

Looking for a delicious battered fish sandwich or golden-brown pierogies on Friday? Here’s a handy guide plus a few fun facts about our fascination with fish.

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our new, daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

2016 Homes of the Year

2016 Homes of the Year

Our independent panel of judges recognizes three local, unique residences as our Homes of the Year in the categories of New Build, Renovation and Green.
Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

With so many options in and around the city, every couple can find the special space that feels just right — whether they’re looking for nature, rustic charm, fairytale romance, stained-glass beauty, treasured religious ritual or classic tradition.
Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Delve below the surface to explore the underground areas that serve as vital pathways to our region.
Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Chefs who grew up in Pittsburgh are shaping the culinary scene in other cities across the country — and gaining national recognition in the process.
Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

The meat-centric restaurant in the Strip District is helping to redefine Pittsburgh's dining expectations.
Cranking Out Old School Valentines Sealed with a Quirk

Cranking Out Old School Valentines Sealed with a Quirk

In Lawrenceville, a love for letterpress leads to a business whose greeting cards reach audiences across the country.
Edit Module

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Go Behind the Scenes at the Sen. John Heinz History Center

Go Behind the Scenes at the Sen. John Heinz History Center

The newest long-term area in the museum offers visitors a snapshot into the preservation of western Pennsylvania history, one artifact at a time.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

City leaders considered many options for Pittsburgh's confluence including something that looked like it was designed by the Jetsons, or an absolutely bonkers, batpoop insane idea by the one and only Frank Lloyd Wright.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pittsburgh Chef Move: Lily Tran New Executive Chef of Soba

Pittsburgh Chef Move: Lily Tran New Executive Chef of Soba

Tran takes over big Burrito's Ellsworth Ave. restaurant from Dustin Gardner, who moves back to Casbah on Highland Ave.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
7 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

7 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

Easy access from universities, wallet-friendly prices and really good food make these our favorite choices for the university set.

Comments


End Your Work Day at Muddy Waters' Oyster Happy Hour

End Your Work Day at Muddy Waters' Oyster Happy Hour

Some of the best oysters available in Pittsburgh can be yours for a steal at the new East Liberty spot.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Super Bowl Predictions: Can I Have That One Back?

Super Bowl Predictions: Can I Have That One Back?

Denver's upset win over Carolina -- predicted by hardly anyone (including yours truly) -- should be interpreted as good news for Steelers' fans.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Shirts We Love For Valentine’s Day

Shirts We Love For Valentine’s Day

Let your heart do the talking with these fun sweaters from Rosewood Boutique.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Leave Your Kids at Home and See 'Deadpool'

Leave Your Kids at Home and See 'Deadpool'

The R-rated superhero flick is foul-mouthed fun. Plus reviews of "How to Be Single," "Where to Invade Next" and more.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Going the Distance: International Introductions

Going the Distance: International Introductions

On Day Three of our Week of Wedded Bliss, we tracked down three of our Real Pittsburgh Weddings couples who went the distance and found one another abroad.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Say Hello (and Goodbye) to These Home & Lifestyle Shops

Say Hello (and Goodbye) to These Home & Lifestyle Shops

Divertido and Jack + Jules close in Lawrenceville, while the neighborhood welcomes Brambler Boutique. Plus, Splurge expands to a new location in Fox Chapel.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Mock Crime Scene to be Held at Waynesburg University

Mock Crime Scene to be Held at Waynesburg University

The event is for high school students who are interested in criminal justice, law enforcement and forensic science.

Comments