It started off harmless enough, back in March, I stumbled across a silly post about something called a Cherpumple on the website That’s Nerdalicious. That naturally prompted me to forward it to my expert baker friend where we had a hearty laugh over the whole concept. The photo was both entertaining, “Who would even think to make a thing like that?!” and horrifying, “OMG who would even eat a thing like that?!” and after a few quick emails back in forth it was all but forgotten.
Or was it...?
The Cherpumple topic kept creeping up over the comings weeks and months but the conversations started to be more about the “how’s” and less about the “why’s” someone would even to begin to make such a thing. Obviously more research had to be done. Extensive Google-ing brought us to Charles Phoenix’s website which not only had a very entertaining how-to video but a recipe and fan examples!
(Click on images below for larger versions)
|Getting lost in the flour||Carrots, carrots, carrots!||Whirling dervish of frosting||Whipped to perfection!|
Encouraged by what we found we decided to attempt our very own Monster-Pie-Cake assent or plunge (depending on how you want to look at it...) and the serious planning kicked in. Hours were spent testing the pie/cake combinations and their recipes, selecting the best ingredients, gathering the proper equipment, considering the theme plus planning the baking and final assembly.
The plan was solid enough; bake the pies on the first day, then bake the pies in the cakes on the second, cool and decorate. The theme was Fall/Thanksgiving so the pie/cake combos we finally decided upon were:
• Apple Pie in a Spice Cake • Pecan Pie in a Chocolate Cake • Pumpkin Pie in a Carrot Cake
|Pecan Pie||Apple Pie||Pumpkin Pie|
Day one went well enough as the pies came out of the oven looking picture perfect and armed with the knowledge that our added touches of hand toasted pecans and dried fruit soaked in an exotically named rum were only going to add to the flavor spectacle - our spirits were high.
|Is that a pie in your cake?||Pie-cake-y!||hours later...||finally!|
Day two started off with deceptive ease as the apple pie de-tined smoothly in almost eager anticipation of its spice cake batter bath and headed into the oven in record time. Of course that’s when the clouds started to darken overhead. The pie-cake combos took waaaay longer to cook and cool then we had initially calculated and to make matters worse our trustworthy cream cheese frosting was acting up. Very late into the night we decided that decoration would have to wait for the following day.
Held up on the side of our imposing pie-cake precipice, fretting about frosting, powdered sugar supplies running low, we found ourselves wondering if we’d ever reach the end of our pie-cake journey or have to abort the mission and turn back in defeat. And that’s when the secret of the Cherpumple/Pepumple/PieCaken finally revealed itself to us. I could tell you the secret but that would rob you of the thrill and wonderment of the pie-cake nirvana that awaits you in your own attempt(s).
While we have yet to reach the ultimate 3-tiered Shangri-La of the pie-cake world we did make a spectacular 2-tiered PieCaken:
An apple pie in spice cake with a cream cheese & orange liquor crumb coat underneath a pecan pie in chocolate cake covered in chocolate ganache with an outer frosting of whipped cream, the sides sprinkled with edible gold flakes, topped with hand made milk & white chocolates shaped into maple leaves and brushed with edible copper & gold dusts. Our final PieCaken weighed over 20lbs, cut beautifully and was devoured in roughly 10 minutes of being presented.
FYI – We did make that final pumpkin pie in carrot cake combo but we ended up pouring cognac into it over the next 3 days, decorating it with the remaining cream cheese frosting, edible gold flakes, maple leaf chocolates and enjoyed it for desert at Thanksgiving.
A huge thank you to Charles Phoenix and his fellow Cherpumple explorers, your success & disaster stories were a source of endless entertainment & inspiration. Best of luck to all the future monster-pie-cakers out there and remember - Go BIG or Go Home!