Do You Believe In The Cake? Yes or No

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Preferred Member
Dec 31, 2012
I was hoping there was a poll option for threads, so this is what I ask because I'm a nerd when it comes to stats.

When you post to answer this question, start it by stating yes or no, then go into your response. This way I can quickly browse through the replies later and tally up the responses and find what percentage believe in building a cake and what don't. Posts afterwards in reply and conversation with others obviously don't think to state your answer again, just your initial response. I'll start.


But that's not a hard lined yes, I'm not a daily smoker, sometimes not even weekly etc, so several pipes don't really have a cake and that's fine. My main smokers do/did. Back when I joined this forum probably around 8 years ago, my impression was there was a lot of advocacy for building a cake. I've started frequenting the forum again and the sentiment seems to have changed, I've seen a lot of people saying it's a myth etc, hence why I'm interested in taking a poll.
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Mar 24, 2019
Liberty Township. OH

I wipe down the ash/clear any dottle and water-flush after smoking. A thin carbonized layer develops/maintains this way, not harmed by water flushing. My belief and totally a hunch....cake's main benefit is insulation (helping to absorb heat) and 'smoothing out a non-optimal smoker. Ie., helps absorb moisture and can sometimes improve airflow by filling in off-drilling in the chamber. For me proper cadence/pack controls heat and if a pipe is not a solid smoker off the bat it gets the heave-ho. Therefore I've got no need for cake; for me no benefit with the downside of reducing chamber space and increasing odor.


Nov 28, 2019
Yes and no.

The cake builds up and when it gets too thick(past a 1/16 of an inch ish) I'll scrape or sand it down. My small pipes and cob get scraped often with my czech tool to keep the cake down. But for the most part I let it build up a bit and knock it off.

Except the meer and clays which get wiped and kept as clean as possible. But even the clay gets a cake after a while so I hot water rinse it clean.


Senior Member
Dec 6, 2019
I do the paper towel wipe after almost every bowl, my daily beater pipe I also scrape regularly with the spoon part of a Czech tool.

Real estate is at a premium in my pipe bowls and I want as much as possible of it for tobacco. Also nice not having to deal with the hassle of reaming.


Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
Depends on the kind of cake, and I'm not referring to the difference between tiramisu and German chocolate, more a like thin hard carbon layer VS a thick flaky cake. The thin hard carbon layer gradually forms through use over time after you wipe out the chamber with toweling. The thick flaky cake comes from not wiping the bowl walls and using ash to build it. This type of cake builds up fast.

Of the two, I prefer the think hard carbon layer, because it's stronger and it's not going to fail because it's permeated with broken bits of combustible unsmoked tobacco that compromises its structure.

Thick cakes pose a threat to the structure of the pipe because they expand with heat and can crack the bowl.

Whichever way you go about building a cake, the superior thin carbon or the crappy flaky kind, keep it trimmed back, a dime's thickness or less.
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Senior Member
May 12, 2019
Big N-O-
I never understood wtf everyone was going on about - until I realized that like others above have mentioned - cake forms naturally and most tend to want to avoid it - I like a clean pipe - I don't want crap 'caking' up my bowls


Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
People really enjoy building thick crusty cake, and pipe smoking is all about enjoyment, so I'm all for it, for others. When I first started pipe smoking, I arbitrarily started wiping out the bowl after scooping out the ash, and I discovered I enjoyed not having to ream pipes. I don't think of the thin carbon layer I sustain as cake. Cake suggests to me an obvious layer of crust, but that's just me. Cake or not, the thin carbon layer does not reduce the diameter of the chamber to any detectable extent, let's say about a thirty-second of an inch if that. My forty year old pipes, several of them that I bought new, have lasted well and smoke sweet, so I enjoy staying with this plan. It suits me. Do what you enjoy.

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