you can't have your cake and eat it
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to you can't have your cake and eat it: You can't have your cake and eat it too
have (one's) cake and eat it (too)
To have or do two things that one desires that are normally contradictory or impossible to have or do simultaneously. Because "have" can also mean "eat," this expression may seem redundant. However, it is based on the meaning of "have" as "to possess," i.e., to maintain possession of one's cake while still eating it, an obvious impossibility. You're never going to save enough money to buy a house if you keep buying expensive appliances and cars. You can't have your cake and eat it, too. Too many people want to have their cake and eat it, demanding all sorts of social benefits from the government but being unwilling to pay any taxes to fund them.