Do You Prefer Cake or Pie?

Photo by GourmetPhoto by GourmetBy Siobhan Adcock,

Last Friday the Treats Truck rolled into position near the Epicurious office. We're Kim Ima fans from way back and were delighted by the Treats Truck Baking Book when it came out last November (despite a growing sense of overall food truck fatigue, I'd still rather pick up a sack of treats from the truck on Friday than bake them myself).

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Besides straightforward and careful recipes, the book is full of punchy, colorful illustrations, friendly tips (to make a great pie crust, "make sure the ingredients are very cold: you can even chill the flour!"), and cheerfully philosophical observations about the human race's age-old attachment to treats. One of my favorite passages addresses the great cake vs. pie debate:

"I have a favorite question I like to ask: If you could have only cake or only pie for the rest of your life, which would it be? Now, most people know the answer without even thinking. I actually think the world is divded between those who'd choose cake and those who'd choose pie. Though occasionally, I do meet someone who struggles with the question. I can only watch the internal struggle for a moment or two before reassuring them. 'But isn't it lucky that's not the way the world works? You don't actually have to choose.' Whew!"

Which would it be for you? Cake or pie? Perhaps these two tasty recipes can help settle the score...

Recipes to try:

Carrot Cake
By Kim Ima, The Treats Truck Baking Book

"We serve a lot of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. People love the moist cake with the creamy frosting-and, from our informal polling, our customers prefer their carrot cake without raisins or nuts and with lots of cream cheese frosting!"

• 1 pound carrots (6 or 7 large carrots), peeled
• 2 1/2 cups flour
• 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
• 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
• 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
• 4 eggs, lightly beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round pans or one 9 by 13-inch pan or with cooking spray or oil. In addition, you can also place a cut-out parchment circle on the bottom of the pan.

2. Grate the carrots with a grater (the old-school way!) or a food processor. I prefer medium-grated carrots-not too big, not too fine.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, confectioner's sugar, and brown sugar. Stir in the oil and eggs, then the carrots.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

5. Cool completely, then frost cream cheese frosting.

See also: 5 Secrets to Perfect Pancakes

Peach Pie

"Peach pie is such a happy pie. Maybe because peaches are in season during the summer, peach pie seems to call out for taking it easy and enjoying the day."


• 1 batch butter crust pie dough
• 5 to 6 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches (see tip)
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, or as desired
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom, optional
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, potato starch, or flour
• 3 tablespoons butter

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Roll out the pie dough and place the bottom crust in the pie pan. In a large bowl, toss the peaches with the lemon juice and sugars. Add the spices and vanilla, as desired. Add the thickener of your choice and stir to coat the peaches. Pour the peaches into the piecrust. Dot with butter.

3. Add the top crust and make slits for the steam to escape.

4. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

You can peel the peaches as they are, or blanch them in hot water for 30 to 40 seconds, then put them in a bowl of cold water to cool before peeling.

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