Dessert as an adjective?

mikichan

Senior Member
Chinese
Do you ever use "Dessert" as an adjective?

Ex. "dessert cake" to say "cake for dessert"?

Thank you!
 
  • estoy_lerniendo

    Senior Member
    English - U.S. (Midwest)
    I can't think of any circumstance where I would replace "cake for dessert" :thumbsup: with "dessert cake." :thumbsdown:

    Are there any situations that you're thinking of?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Dessert" may be used as an adjective sometimes, to denote something "not savoury", or "not for savoury dishes": "Dessert recipes", "dessert plates" come to mind. "Dessert cake" would be odd because cake isn't usually served as a "dessert course". What kind of cake are you thinking of describing as "dessert cake"?
     

    estoy_lerniendo

    Senior Member
    English - U.S. (Midwest)
    I suppose I could think of a very contrived example, such as:

    (waiter in a restaurant) "On our menu, we have an appetizer cake, an entrée cake, and a dessert cake." :confused:
     

    mikichan

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you velisarius and estoy_lerniendo! I don't have any particular sentence. I just wondered about it. Thank you again!
     

    andych

    Member
    English (British)
    A non-contrived, everyday usage is "dessert spoon" which is the size up from "tea spoon" and down from "table spoon". Very common usage.
     

    andych

    Member
    English (British)
    Not to mention dessert grapes (as opposed to table grapes) that make dessert wines like Sauternes, rather than table wines. Plenty of examples available!
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    "Dessert cake" would be odd because cake isn't usually served as a "dessert course".
    Oh yes it is! In these parts, if you go to a restaurant, it would be unusual if the dessert menu did not include at least one cake option. It might be cheesecake, or apple pie, or a rich chocolatey gateau, typically served with whipped or pouring cream, or with custard or ice cream, possibly even with dessert sauce.

    I nevertheless agree that "dessert cake" would be odd, but for a different reason. Cake is cake, whatever the recipe. There isn't really any type of cake that you would serve for dessert that you might not also serve as a mid-afternoon snack with coffee.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Sorry I was so parochial in my answer. In Br. English a piece of pie wouldn't be called a cake, but gateau-type cakes, I suppose, could be served as a dessert.
     

    andych

    Member
    English (British)
    Oh yes it is! In these parts, if you go to a restaurant, it would be unusual if the dessert menu did not include at least one cake option. It might be cheesecake, or apple pie, or a rich chocolatey gateau, typically served with whipped or pouring cream, or with custard or ice cream, possibly even with dessert sauce.

    I nevertheless agree that "dessert cake" would be odd, but for a different reason. Cake is cake, whatever the recipe. There isn't really any type of cake that you would serve for dessert that you might not also serve as a mid-afternoon snack with coffee.
    There are other types of cake, or at least things that are called cake that can be served as savoury dishes or parts of savoury dishes. You see them in posh cooking shows on TV. Spinach and lentil cake, or whatever. I think a cake is just a block of stuff which we've come to think of as sweet and snackish (or dessertish) but this isn't literally true.

    All of which just confirms that there is such a thing as dessert cake.
     

    andych

    Member
    English (British)
    Sorry I was so parochial in my answer. In Br. English a piece of pie wouldn't be called a cake, but gateau-type cakes, I suppose, could be served as a dessert.
    Indeed, and often are. On most dessert menus you'll see some sort of chocolate cake (Death By Chocolate etc.).

    Crikey. I'm feeling peckish.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    There are a couple of fruits that have "dessert" as an adjective: dessert pear; dessert apple. This is to distinguish them from a cooking apple; cooking pear. The dessert type you eat fresh; it is usually sweet and juicy, you use the cooking variety to make pies, etc., as they are usually too sour, hard or dry to eat.
     

    roxcyn

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English [AmE]
    Oh yes it is! In these parts, if you go to a restaurant, it would be unusual if the dessert menu did not include at least one cake option. It might be cheesecake, or apple pie, or a rich chocolatey gateau, typically served with whipped or pouring cream, or with custard or ice cream, possibly even with dessert sauce.

    I nevertheless agree that "dessert cake" would be odd, but for a different reason. Cake is cake, whatever the recipe. There isn't really any type of cake that you would serve for dessert that you might not also serve as a mid-afternoon snack with coffee.
    Correct. You may hear "dessert cake" in a restaurant or recipe setting. I'll give you an example:

    On Allrecipes.com they list "Pumpkin Chocolate Dessert Cake Recipe" as a recipe. See http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pumpkin-chocolate-dessert-cake/
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Correct. You may hear "dessert cake" in a restaurant or recipe setting. I'll give you an example:

    On Allrecipes.com they list "Pumpkin Chocolate Dessert Cake Recipe" as a recipe. See http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pumpkin-chocolate-dessert-cake/
    This usage seems redundant to me. I might have missed something in the thread, but what cake is not a dessert? It couldn't very well be "Chocolate Main Dish Cake" (except in my home, where no one's the wiser. ;) )
     

    roxcyn

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English [AmE]
    I think it's used to give more emphasis. There are other examples where we do it in English: soda pop and "Don't go breaking my heart."
     

    srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I think it might be read as "Pumpkin Chocolate Dessert, a Cake Recipe" with the usual allowances for headlines. That stops it from being a dessert cake, however.

    Edit: or Pumpkin-Chocolate-Dessert Cake Recipe which produces a new adjective. If that were it, I doubt they would have been shy about the hyphens in a headline.
     
    Last edited:

    andych

    Member
    English (British)
    This usage seems redundant to me. I might have missed something in the thread, but what cake is not a dessert? It couldn't very well be "Chocolate Main Dish Cake" (except in my home, where no one's the wiser. ;) )
    There are plenty of cakes that wouldn't be eaten as a dessert e.g. drier sponges, dense fruit cakes etc which would be more typically eaten with a nice cup of tea at 3.30 pm. While it's probably not defined anywhere, I think a dessert cake (as in one eaten after a meal) has to be moist and much sweeter.

    And as mentioned earlier, you do see the word cake used in some up-market savoury dishes.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    There are plenty of cakes that wouldn't be eaten as a dessert e.g. drier sponges, dense fruit cakes etc which would be more typically eaten with a nice cup of tea at 3.30 pm. While it's probably not defined anywhere, I think a dessert cake (as in one eaten after a meal) has to be moist and much sweeter.
    That's an interesting point. Would you call the cakes you mentioned "tea cakes"? I can see how that would be a useful distinction.
     
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