‘I hate cake. Birthday cake, wedding cake, feckin’ Christmas cake’

Food Month Food Court - Cake: Orna Mulcahy has fond memories of the Kylemore bakery chesscake, while Robin Gill can’t stand cake of any sort

FOR: Orna Mulcahy
I blame my Dad and his ferocious sweet tooth. He'd come home from work on Fridays with a chocolate cake from the Kylemore bakery that was so dense and rich it's amazing we didn't all end up with diabetes.

Called a chess cake, it was huge, with chocolate and plain sponge squares lashed together with a sticky chocolate goo that took ages to scrub off the plates. Another family might have made this monster last a week, but we usually demolished it at one sitting (mind you, there were nine of us), with maybe a small piece left in the box overnight and Gestapo-like interrogations next morning when it would be discovered gone.

“Just a sliver for me” my mother would say, and now I hear myself saying the same thing whenever there’s cake. A sliver looks nice and dainty on the plate. It speaks of self-control and in fact it feels better to eat a small piece rather than a big wodge.

But then you find yourself, as if in a dream, reaching across with the knife and cutting off another sliver, and another. Then cutting a last piece to even up the angles. You can get through about a quarter of a cake that way, easily.


But just to say that the cake has to be a proper layered affair. Not a tray bake, not a tart, not a pavlova, not a roulade. Nothing that wobbles. Cake should be firm, and it should be high – at least two layers, though four is better. It should be light and springy and it should have filling and icing. It should be served on a pretty plate and eaten while sitting down, not standing up in the blue light of the open fridge. It should be home made and it should hold together when you cut it.

Coffee and walnut is the current favourite. It’s easy to make and easier to get right than chocolate which so often goes wrong and ends up dry or oozing. It lasts well if you don’t take more than a sliver.

AGAINST: Robin Gill
I hate cake. All cake, birthday cake, wedding cake, feckin' Christmas cake, GET THE BOAT. I hate icing, sponge, sugar, artificial colourings.

The thought of eating a big slice of cake after a stunning meal makes me want to barf. Give me cheese! Ham ! Fruit! Bread ... just don’t give me a cake because I will hate you.

The entire notion is diabeticle. Sorry, spellcheck, diabolical. I won't be watching Bake Off ... I would rather eat a cake.

I'll be watching MasterChef instead and getting a bowl of coddle down my fat neck.

Orna Mulcahy is an Irish Times editor. Robin Gill is a chef and restaurateur.