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

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

We scoured the region to bring you 53 items we’ve deemed this year’s “Best of the ’Burgh,” as well as 8 stellar local Instagram accounts you don’t want to miss.
See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez is discontinuing her blog and column.
Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

The restaurant at Ace Hotel in East Liberty hits some high notes as it finds itself.
Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

During her final season of professional basketball, Cash remains ferocious on the court and selfless everywhere else.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Our JazzLive International Festival Cheat-Sheet

Our JazzLive International Festival Cheat-Sheet

We break down each day of the festival so you don’t have to improv your way through it.
Avatar-inspired Cirque Du Soleil Show Takes Off in Pittsburgh

Avatar-inspired Cirque Du Soleil Show Takes Off in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine has a backstage view of “Toruk: The First Flight,” which runs this week at Consol Energy Center.
Mellon Square Restoration Wins Docomomo US Design of Excellence Award

Mellon Square Restoration Wins Docomomo US Design of Excellence Award

The Pittsburgh Park Conservancy and City of Pittsburgh, in partnership with Heritage Landscapes, are recognized with the distinguished national design award for their restoration of Mellon Square, Downtown.
Ice-Cream Alert: Graeter's Scoop Shop to Open in Wexford

Ice-Cream Alert: Graeter's Scoop Shop to Open in Wexford

The 145-year-old Cincinnati-based ice-cream business will open its first Pennsylvania scoop-shop in July.

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

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

We scoured the region to bring you 53 items we’ve deemed this year’s “Best of the ’Burgh,” as well as 8 stellar local Instagram accounts you don’t want to miss.
See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez is discontinuing her blog and column.
Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

The restaurant at Ace Hotel in East Liberty hits some high notes as it finds itself.
Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

During her final season of professional basketball, Cash remains ferocious on the court and selfless everywhere else.
Idol Find: Pittsburgh Rapper Teams Up with Dad Jimmy McNichol for New Show

Idol Find: Pittsburgh Rapper Teams Up with Dad Jimmy McNichol for New Show

Research led Kellee Maize to discover she is the daughter of the former teen singing sensation. Now she and McNichol are teaming up to develop a television series to help other parents and children find each other.
Daytripping: Rating the Roller Coasters at Cedar Point

Daytripping: Rating the Roller Coasters at Cedar Point

One day, 18 roller coasters, four queasy stomachs, two cheeseburgers, one fried dough … whew.
Edit Module

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Our JazzLive International Festival Cheat-Sheet

Our JazzLive International Festival Cheat-Sheet

We break down each day of the festival so you don’t have to improv your way through it.

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
James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour Stops In Pittsburgh

James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour Stops In Pittsburgh

Justin Severino and Hilary Prescott Severino of Cure and Morcilla organized the event, which featured celebrated chefs from DC, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

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


Beer Cults and Brick Ovens: An Evening at Fuel & Fuddle

Beer Cults and Brick Ovens: An Evening at Fuel & Fuddle

The restaurant and bar in Oakland welcomes college students and locals alike.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Perspective Accompanies Long-Awaited Second Crosby Cup

Perspective Accompanies Long-Awaited Second Crosby Cup

The Pittsburgh Penguins may be more poised to establish a dynasty in 2016 than they were in 2009.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Add a Bygone Beacon to Your Living Room

Add a Bygone Beacon to Your Living Room

Vintage signs can add a pop of personality to your decor.

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.
Demons, Orcs, Hipsters and More at the Multiplex

Demons, Orcs, Hipsters and More at the Multiplex

Reviews of "The Conjuring 2," "Warcraft," "Maggie's Plan," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
True to Tradition: Incorporating Your Heritage at Your Wedding

True to Tradition: Incorporating Your Heritage at Your Wedding

Honoring tradition at weddings is important for many couples, whether that means including heirlooms and unique customs or hosting a full-blown second ceremony.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Decor Calling: Home Furnishings Go Mobile

Decor Calling: Home Furnishings Go Mobile

House15143 is Sewickley debuts “House Calls,” a mobile Airstream designed to bring the shopping experience to you (or an event near you).

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Summer Robotics Camp Offered to High-School Students

Summer Robotics Camp Offered to High-School Students

The camp is a collaboration between two area universities and is open to students entering grades 9-12.

Comments