Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cherpumple Part 1: An Exercise of Epic Baking

At times, we all do things we aren’t proud of. I’m sure that, for example, Ronald Reagan would prefer to forget that whole Iran-Contra thing. And in retrospect, Martha Stewart would probably be a little more precise about her answers to questions about stock trading. It happens to all of us.

And this weekend, I did something I’m not very proud of.

I made a cherpumple.

That three layer dessert which involves one layer of spice cake containing a pumpkin pie, one layer of yellow cake containing an apple pie, and one layer of white cake containing a cherry pie. All surrounded with cream cheese frosting. It's a spectacle that doesn't belong in my kitchen

The motivation for this? It all started on Jenna’s blog. You should read about it there, where you, yes you, can also bid on this very cherpumple and make it your own.

Also, since a cherpumple involves no chocolate, I will make this a post about chocolate by giving you a link Jenna’s recipe for Sweet and Salty Thumbprint Cookies. This recipe include bittersweet chocolate AND unsweetened cocoa powder. It's a win all around.

So now that we’ve officially made this a post about chocolate, how, yes how, does one make a cherpumple? The inventor, Charles Phoenix cheats and uses store bought pies and cake mixes. Not me.

I made pie crust from scratch.

Then made pies from scratch.

I wrapped them tightly and froze them, because this makes it appreciably easier to move the pie into the pan for baking.

You may notice that I baked the pies in disposable cake pans. Why cake pans? Because the edges are vertical, which I figured would be better for structural integrity of the final stack. I also used cake pans because I found 8” disposable cake pans, which means that when I used my 10” springform pan to bake the pie-cake layers, I would have 1” of pure cake all around the edges. Also good for structure.

After the pie baking was complete, I started making cakes. Again, from scratch.

As in, I did the whole butter-sugar creaming thing.

And added in dry ingredients that I mixed myself.

I baked a stand-alone layer of about 2 cups of batter in a 10” springform pan lined with parchment paper at 350° F for 20 minutes; the purpose of doing this was to ensure that I had a solid mass of cake in each layer.

It is worth noting that if you make a cherpumple, especially if you do so by making pies and cakes from scratch, and spend a good amount of time talking about the process and modifications you are making to optimize structural integrity, your friends and family will worry about you. One of them might come over to check on you and eat some leftover chili.

While said friend is visiting, it’s completely socially acceptable to work on baking one of the pie-cake layers. I checked. And then I spread a little batter at the bottom of a 10” springform pan lined with parchment paper.

Then, as my slightly horrified friend watched, I dropped a pie on top of the batter.

I poured the remaining batter around the pie edges and on top of the pie.

Then it baked at 350° F for NINETY MINUTES. That’s how much of a monstrosity each layer is.

I chilled this layer to ensure that it would be easier to work with, placed it on top of the previously-baked layer, and tightly wrapped them in plastic wrap before freezing them.

Oh, and I did this three times. Three pies from scratch. Three homemade batches of cake batter. Three sessions of baking a pie into a cake.

My friend is still worried about me.

And I haven’t even posted about the frosting and assembly process. That post shows up on Thursday. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, go to Jenna’s blog to bid on this beauty.


  1. Wow. You're hard core! I'm looking forward to seeing the fully assembled cake/pie thingamajig!

  2. It's coming Thursday. Assuming I haven't suffered cream cheese frosting overdose in the meantime. The post will also include details of problems I most definitely did NOT have, such as: breaking my springform pan, setting off my smoke alarm...

  3. AHH. I literally told my friend a couple days ago that I kind of wanted to make one of these just to make one. You are beyond awesome for not only doing so, but making it all from scratch. Wow. It's awesome that it's being auctioned off! Really looking forward to seeing it finished!

  4. I'm looking forward to having my freezer back. Also, I've contemplated a chocolate version of this. Peanut butter pie in chocolate cake. Chocolate cheesecake in vanilla cake. Chocolate frosting.

  5. Oh, boy! You'd still need another layer though, right? Chocolate pie in peanut butter cake...or in raspberry cake? hmm...

  6. I won't lie to you.

    Cherpumples kind of freak me out. I first read about them on a link to a blog on BlogHer. The person in me who used to weigh over 200 pounds freaks out at the thought of that much dessert all in once place.

    However, I give you suuuuper props for making the pies from scratch too!

    And I won't lie to you about this either...

    ...if someone put a slice down in front of me....

    ...I'd probably eat it!

  7. Jessica, we definitely discussed that. We're not sure. Maybe chocolate custard pie in a banana cake? And now you throw in raspberry cake. But what about raspberry pie? In chocolate cake. Do we need a 4th layer?

  8. Alexa, they're definitely a little monstrous, and I was scared of having those quantities of cream cheese frosting around. I think I limited my consumption to about 1/3 cup during the whole process.

    A slice of this, if sufficiently thin, wouldn't be so heavy on the calories/fat. Now if you cut it into 12 slices...uh...gross...

  9. BANANA! How did I miss that one? You'd totally have an Elvis thing going on.

  10. Are you going to make your own sauce next? :)

    Thanks for the picture--I actually don't look too bad! It was an honor to be present at the making of the cherpumple.

  11. I do make my own sauce. See http://districtchocoholic.blogspot.com/2010/10/pumpkin-season-pumpkin-spice-brownies.html

    Do you want to be featured on the blog more often, Ryan? So far, you are referenced in three posts.

  12. Elvipumple puts Cherpumple in a whole new light. What's next, Princepumple? Hello, purple theme!

  13. YES. Princepumple. Purple velvet cake.

  14. I am fascinated by the cherpumple, but I'm a novice when it comes to baking. Do you bake the pies ahead of time, or do you put them in the cake batter raw?

  15. You definitely bake the pies beforehand, but then I froze them so that I could place them in the springform pan more easily. This is more an exercise in structural management than baking.

  16. what if I used a fresh pie, that isn't frozen, HOW long would that need to bake? I have put it in a springform pan. Thanks

  17. @WiJoyMom I didn't freeze the pumpkin pie, and that one baked about 10 minutes less - so still about the same amount of time. Be sure to check the cake every 5 minutes after it's been in the oven about 50 minutes.

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