What is the Difference between Cake and Pastry?

Maybe you have been eating cakes and calling them pastry or you have been obsessed with pastry and calling them cakes. The confusion is common as a recent study revealed that about 70% of foodies have no idea what the difference between cake and pastry is. All they want to do is to enjoy the mushy taste as the mouth-watering ingredients melt in the mouth. 

The simple and short answer to this question is that cakes are defined as modified bread that is baked by mixing eggs, butter, oil, wheat flour, and sugar. Most cakes feature multiple layering and edible decorations depending on preference.

The pastry is also made from wheat flour and it is defined as a baked paste or dough made from water, flour, and shortening which is fat, that becomes solid at room temperature. For more advice, check out what the pastry pros have to say, especially a pastry chef school.   

Common Types of Pastry

The difference between cake and pastry is in the ingredients used to make each of them. It is correct to refer to pastries as cakes solely based on the ingredients used to make them. 

Examples of pastry are not limited to, the following:

  • Tarts.
  • Choux.
  • Suet crust.
  • Flaky.
  • Filo.
  • Puff.

On the other hand, cakes are associated with the celebration of important cultural events. Imagine the reactions at a wedding without a multi-layered, exotic flavored cake. Or when a child learns there is no birthday cake.

Technically, cakes are a bit bigger compared to pastries. The main feature of a pastry is the crust while that of a cake is the icing.

The Making of Pastry

Natalie Way Bakes defines pastry as unleavened dough made from flour, some water, and any form of fat like lard. Sweet baked products as also referred to as pastries and the popular ones are sweet rolls, piecrusts, and Danish pastries.

For example, puff pastry is made by using bits of butter to layer pastry dough. After this is baked, the moisture from the butter produces steam, which in turn makes the dough to divide into many thin flaky layers.

The Making of Cake

There are cakes of all sorts. A few examples include sponge cake, carrot cake, chocolate cake, lemon pound cake among many more. The secret to baking a cake is maintaining an accurate measurement of the needed ingredients. 

Then you have to have the proper baking pans and follow the guidelines to baking a particular cake flavor. Another tip is that dry ingredients should be sifted to make it easier to distribute them evenly on a cake batter. Again, eggs should not be over beaten and baking pans are prepared in a special way to prevent sticking. 

The following are some notable difference between cake and pastry.

Their Nutritional Value Differences

Cakes are made from many ingredients and so they carry more nutrients as compared to those found in pastry. 

To bake a cake one requires eggs, sugar, oil, flour, oil, and many others such as fruits. These ingredients classify cakes as being balanced diets. In comparison, the pastry is made from water, butter, and wheat flour.

The nutritional composition of cake is vitamins, fatty acids, carbohydrates, and proteins among others and that of pastry is fatty acids and carbohydrates.

Cultural Significance

As mentioned above cakes are used to mark once in a lifetime occasions such as weddings and birthdays. They define events, but the pastry is only limited to being consumed as part of a breakfast meals. Pastries are known to be taken in the accompaniment of soft drinks or any beverage of choice, whether it is coffee or tea.

This cultural significance has given rise to a whole industry of cake providers who charge as much as $100,000 for customized varieties that tower to the ceilings. On the other hand, pastries are much cheaper unless when bought in significantly large amounts.  

Physical Difference between cake and pastry

Pastries are mostly oval-shaped or any other child-friendly shapes, whereas cakes can be made in any shape and form. Some cakes resemble character figurines, objects like Ferraris, houses, and others are just blocks of towers weighing almost a ton.

Pastries will perfectly fit in your pocket something that becomes a bit tricky with a cake. This is because cakes are fragile and they need to maintain their original shape until the delivery has been made.

Cakes come in every flavor imaginable under the sun, but pastries are limited to the common flavors, although some chefs are ambitiously experimenting with options.


The pastry is cake and the difference is how each is prepared and what ingredients are included. The common element is that they are both made from wheat flour. Other than that, cakes are far more nutritious, but the pastry is great as a biting or snack. A fun fact is that pastries were invented for a consumer who was allergic to ingredients found in cakes. That is the origin and the delicious difference between cake and pastry.  

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