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It’s like the cherry on top of the cake

This one was heard on the Animal Planet tv show, Treehouse Masters.  Daryl, the foreman, was referring to a door on the treehouse that looked like a sarcophagus.  It is a congruent conflation of  “icing on the cake”  and “cherry on top”, both meaning an extra enhancement to something.  There are certainly cherries that appear on the top of some cakes, but not as common as sundaes.  In fact there is a Quebec idiom, “la cerise sur le sundae”, also with the same meaning but the cherry is on the sundae, not cake.  A shout out to my high school buddy, Marti Fenimore, for sending this one in!

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4 Comments on “It’s like the cherry on top of the cake”

  1. I like the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” line. In this case, I think people should stick to the icing line, not the cherry line. Everyone knows the icing line so when someone said the cherry line to me today I thought “wow, this person is an idiot.” When really I was the idiot because I never heard of the cherry saying lol.

  2. John Daykin says:

    I would like to challenge the author to prove that a “cherry on the cake” is a malaphor. I believe the author to be American (favoring his cherry on an ice cream sundae) whereas the idiom might be British. Until at least the middle of last century the glace cherry was an exotic and luxurious tidbit frequently used to top British cakes. Combine austerity with unimaginative baking and a cake with a layer of white icing spread on top, and a cherry on top of the white icing, was a staple of British Sunday teatime in working class homes hoping perhaps intending a little middle class affectation and look “posh”, or to celebrate a birthday. The cherry might appear on top of a full sized sandwich or sponge cake, or on top of what are currently called “cupcakes”, but which were then known as “buns” in Britain. Peeling the cherry off the top and eating it was the highlight of the cake or bun for most children, along with licking the icing, and who got the single cherry on a large cake could cause tearful arguments.

    • davemalaphor says:

      Well said (and researched), John. This just goes to show you that a malaphor in one country might be an accepted idiom or description in another. The quote was from a US tv show, but perhaps the speaker was British? Anyway, thanks for pointing this out. Not the best malaphor of the bunch, but look around the site at some of the others….
      Dave


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