Cake: A Tale of Cryptic Confectionery in Three Acts
While ambling in the city recently I was struck with a sudden craving for Delicious Cake. This isn’t a feeling that hits me often – more frequently my sweet tooth will ache for a muffin, a donut, or a custard tart. But I digress. On this day it wanted some cake and, well, who am I to argue?
In a shopfront on George Street I spotted this little number covered in cocoa, with crusty sides and chocolate frills. So I read the sign, and was paralyzed by an unforeseen internal monologue…
- Slice: $3.60
- 8 Inches: $36.00
- Full Month: $20.00
Now slices I understand. A fraction of the cake, made by cutting in in half, then those halves in half, then those quarters in half, and so on. Slices are produced in powers of two. Easy!
So, inches, huh? Okay. Not metric, but we can work with that. Eight inches must be the diameter of the cake. Yeah that makes sense. So the whole cake is the price of…ten slices? Okay, that’s a nice round figure but it’s not a power of two. How do they cut the cake into ten slices? A cake-cutting robot? No, that’s not really very clever Andy, make sure that doesn’t end up in the blog post.
Full Month. What? They’re introducing a factor of time now? Hang on. Maybe a full month means a full cake. It’s baker’s jargon! Let’s see, 8 times about 3 makes about 20 dollars. No. Yes! No. Then what’s 8 Inches?
And so I stood there at the window, frozen in place by this puzzle of pastry. Until I remembered the fact that I don’t actually like Tiramisu. Now don’t get me wrong here – coffee is great! Cake is great! Mixing them is great! But pre-mixing them just doesn’t work for me. Now flustered, I had lost my appetite…
Epilogue. This enigmatic encounter haunted me long enough to research the facts, like a legitimate writer might have pretended to do in days of yore. So gentle readers, let the record show that Tiramisu is actually a recent invention of dubious origin, and furthermore I have it on good authority that this particular specimen is Not Delicious.
Full Month seems to have referred to a Chinese custom. Apparently, when a baby is born it is traditional for friends and relatives to give the parents a small gift of money. When that baby turns one month old its parents then return the favour with a small box of cake.
8 Inches? Still no idea. It’s a mystery I can live with for now…
UPDATE: Mystery solved! See comment from Sara.