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

Deep In The Heart of Downtown

Deep In The Heart of Downtown

Downtown Pittsburgh is booming. The Golden Triangle has grown in ways that previous generations may never have envisioned, and the perception of the neighborhood at the heart of Pittsburgh is changing rapidly –– for the better.
And The Winner Is....

And The Winner Is....

Meet the top vote getter in our 2016 Cutest Pet Contest.
The Region's Top Dentists 2016

The Region's Top Dentists 2016

Our latest list includes 368 topDentists in eight specialities from around the region.
The 10 Best Smiles in Pittsburgh

The 10 Best Smiles in Pittsburgh

Plus - we poll dentists included in our 2016 list of topDentists for their opinions and tips gleaned from years of experience in their profession.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Michael Keaton to Receive Big Hollywood Honor

Michael Keaton to Receive Big Hollywood Honor

The recognition comes less than month before the release of Keaton's newest film, which is generating some early Oscar buzz.
Ready for Takeoff: Pittsburgh Airport Hosts First 5K

Ready for Takeoff: Pittsburgh Airport Hosts First 5K

The course directs runners over taxiways usually reserved for incoming and departing planes.
Remembering “Chilly Billy” Cardille

Remembering “Chilly Billy” Cardille

The longtime Pittsburgh television personality had been suffering from liver cancer.
Ladies Night: W Bowl Championship Football Game Comes to Pittsburgh

Ladies Night: W Bowl Championship Football Game Comes to Pittsburgh

Co-owned by Franco Harris, the W Bowl brings together players from across the Women’s Football Alliance in a fierce competition.

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

Deep In The Heart of Downtown

Deep In The Heart of Downtown

Downtown Pittsburgh is booming. The Golden Triangle has grown in ways that previous generations may never have envisioned, and the perception of the neighborhood at the heart of Pittsburgh is changing rapidly –– for the better.
And The Winner Is....

And The Winner Is....

Meet the top vote getter in our 2016 Cutest Pet Contest.
The Region's Top Dentists 2016

The Region's Top Dentists 2016

Our latest list includes 368 topDentists in eight specialities from around the region.
The 10 Best Smiles in Pittsburgh

The 10 Best Smiles in Pittsburgh

Plus - we poll dentists included in our 2016 list of topDentists for their opinions and tips gleaned from years of experience in their profession.
Restaurant Review: Smallman Galley

Restaurant Review: Smallman Galley

The first crop of chefs in the Strip District restaurant incubator are four real.
A Clear Head, A Cannon for an Arm

A Clear Head, A Cannon for an Arm

After his first taste of big-league ball, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Tyler Glasnow is ready for his close-up.
Edit Module

 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Michael Keaton to Receive Big Hollywood Honor

Michael Keaton to Receive Big Hollywood Honor

The recognition comes less than month before the release of Keaton's newest film, which is generating some early Oscar buzz.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
A Thyme and Place

A Thyme and Place

Old friends Tricia Cohen and Lisa Graves reconnect via Facebook and collaborate on a historical cookbook.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Best 7 Spots in Pittsburgh to Watch the 2016 Euro Cup

The Best 7 Spots in Pittsburgh to Watch the 2016 Euro Cup

Grab your kits, scarfs and get ready to watch the Euro 2016 Pittsburgh-style. We'll show you where to go to get your fan on.

Comments


After Dark Hall of Fame: Sharp Edge

After Dark Hall of Fame: Sharp Edge

The local pubs that fly the Sharp Edge banner remain a favorite for top-notch beer and tantalizing grub.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Up-and-Down Bucs Survive First Half With Hope Intact

Up-and-Down Bucs Survive First Half With Hope Intact

The Pirates did just enough in the days before the All-Star break to embrace the second half of the season with anticipation if not expectation.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Namaste! Sandals Made from Yoga Mats

Namaste! Sandals Made from Yoga Mats

Sanuk’s Yoga Sling Sandal are super comfy yet chic.

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.
The New Ghostbusters Is a Worthy Addition to the Franchise

The New Ghostbusters Is a Worthy Addition to the Franchise

Reviews of "Ghostbusters" and "The Infiltrator," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
A Whimsical Wedding in Wonderland

A Whimsical Wedding in Wonderland

This Pittsburgh bride brought all the details together for a flawless “Alice in Wonderland”-themed wedding.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Ten Thousand Villages Celebrates Grand Reopening

Ten Thousand Villages Celebrates Grand Reopening

The new, larger location in Squirrel Hill features an expanded selection of handcrafted merchandise.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Online Education at Edinboro University Nationally Ranked

Online Education at Edinboro University Nationally Ranked

The university landed in the top 10 schools for disabled students seeking an online education.

Comments