Do You Believe In The Cake? Yes or No

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

Tobacco Treasures Ad


Senior Member
Jan 21, 2020
But I keep it thin by wiping the chamber with a doubled up pipe cleaner or a paper towel after each smoke. A few times yearly, 3-4, I scrape and sand excess cake down to as thin as I can without removing it completely.
I like a little more cake in my larger chambered pipes, but still trimmed down.
Well I guess technically my answer is yes then. Since this is along the lines of what I do but I thought I was in the NO cake camp. Hhmmm...

Richmond B. Funkenhouser

Preferred Member
Dec 6, 2019
That soft cake from not wiping out the bowl will throw off the flavor and make the pipe stank. I rinse my pipes after every couple of smokes, even my cobs.. except for one, because I am afraid that using water with cobs will hurt them in the long run. That one cob is my favorite.. the others I will just replace, as they are not an expensive thing.

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

Tobacco Treasures Ad


Preferred Member
Aug 4, 2019
Pacific Northwest
But l used to believe a good thick cake was desirable.
When I started smoking pipes (last century) the prevailing thought was that a pipe wasn’t properly broken in until it had a good thick cake to protect it from the heat and to absorb moisture from the burning tobacco. Also, a companion piece of accepted theory was you always smoked down the bottom of the bowl, like it or not, because failing to do so would result in a thin cake at the heal and doom the pipe to eventual burnout.
Now I ream back to at, or just before, the wood and wipe out the bowl and use the occasional water flush to maintain a thin hard carbon layer. Also, I no longer try to smoke to the bottom if it becomes unenjoyable.
Smoking slowly and not overheating the briar is the key to pipe longevity and having a good experience


Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
United States
I keep a nice thin layer of very hard cake made from flakes and plugs. It insulates the pipe and makes it smoke cooler and gives the pipe more favor as I dedicate my pipes. Cake that is britle and breaks off all the time is crap cake and I wouldn't let it in my pipe. I might have to ream my pipe once every couple of years.


Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
Helena, Alabama

I always took for granted that there would be buildup. I didn't know you could prevent it. That said, I've certainly noticed burning briar on occasion after reaming out a pipe.
I may be wrong, but I don’t remember anyone saying that they didn’t want at least a little coating of some sort. But, as far as thickness, some guys do seem to hang onto the idea that fat cake is good. I remember guys when I was growing up sorta being proud of how much cake they got in their dime store pipes. Then they’d just toss the pipe and start smoking a new one. But, really it wasn’t till I visited my first pipe shop that I realized that there were any pipes out there over $10.


Preferred Member
Mar 25, 2016
I used to do cake ... and would diligently ream down to just under the thickness of a dime and all that jazz. For the last several years, though, I wipe my chambers out. My more recently acquired pipes may have what looks like an enamel-like coating in the chamber walls, but no cake.

I really don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer to this one, though.

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

Tobacco Treasures Ad