Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cherpumple Part 2: Completing the Ultimate Structural Baking Challenge

In case you missed part 1 of the Great Cherpumple Development of 2010, you should read it before you read this post. Then you’ll understand why I made a 10.5” diameter monstrosity of cake, pie and frosting that stands 7.5” tall.

Well, you probably still won’t. But aren’t you the nosy one, reading about it anyway?

So we left off with all the pie-cake layers complete. This is the point where most cherpumple makers just used pre-made cream cheese frosting.

But not me. I mean, I made the pies and cakes from scratch! And really, how hard is it to gather up a little softened butter and cream cheese?

And once you’ve done that, it’s super easy to whip it together.

After doing that, adding some powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt is easy.

So I made my own frosting for this thing. Not a big deal.

Then I had to start assembling this thing. This is where things can go wrong in the structural stability department. To avoid this, I’d frozen the layers individually for two days, but I was still unsure. But there’s nothing to do but plow ahead like a crazy woman, so I got out a prepared cake board.

Then I spread some cream cheese frosting on the bottom.

This was to anchor the first layer: the spice cake with a pumpkin pie baked in.
I put cream cheese frosting on top of that layer.

Because I needed something to hold the yellow cake with an apple pie baked in.

And that, layer, of course, needed cream cheese frosting on top of it.

And to finish it off, a white cake with a cherry pie baked into it.

I then wrapped THE WHOLE THING and froze it for a full day, thus allowing the frosting to better anchor the layers together. The next day, I pulled it out along with more cream cheese frosting, and frosted up the sides and top.

And there, ladies and gents, is a cherpumple. Made from scratch. Don’t forget to go to Jenna’s blog to bid on it and make it your very own.

Now before we call that a wrap, several people have asked questions about this process, and I want to answer them.

  • First, how much did this &)*^%*& thing cost to make? I saved receipts, and estimate $36. Totally worth it for the experience. You should do it, too.
  • Second, how much time did I waste, er, spend on this? As far as actually creating it goes, it took about twelve hours, though some of that time was baking time when I could do things around my apartment, but couldn’t leave because the oven was on. Again, totally worth it.

And a few other things I want you to know about. Specifically, I want you to know that while making this cherpumple, the following things DEFINITELY did not happen:

  • I did not set off my smoke alarm. Nope.
  • I did not contemplate calling it quits while the first pie-cake was baking.
  • No way did I eat a dinner composed mostly of cream cheese frosting.
  • I certainly didn’t break a springform pan at 6:15 am.
  • There’s no chance that I almost called my mom to whine afterwards.
  • I most definitely did not spend most of a 60 minute medical scan thinking about how to approach frosting the cherpumple while optimizing its structural integrity.
  • My friend who observed part of the cherpumple making did not spend half an hour debating different ways to make a chocolate version of this beast. We had other things to talk about. Honestly.

So there you have it. A chermpumple, from scratch, from start to finish. Now go bid on it.


  1. Oh man - that cost $36? My lord. I LOVE all the step-by-step photos - it looks like an architectural feat!

  2. Dare I say it? It actually looks like something I would eat. Maybe one slice in 3 parts...

    If I lived in D.C. and had money, I would totally vote. That beast is a winner.

    By the way, I checked out the bidding place and saw that it has to be kept in one piece for the auction? Whoever wins better send photos of the cutting!

  3. Thanks, Jenna! I could have also titled this "When Engineers Bake."

    I actually took about 80 more photos, one for each major step in making each pie and cake. But it seemed repetitive for the blog. Maybe I will write a book about it.

  4. Yeah, we have to sell it as one piece. But we did discuss making mini-cherpumple cupcakes for sale (with small pies made in mini-muffin pans baked inside cupcakes).

    Photos from the auction "winner" will be required. I assume they'd take them anyway.

  5. This is amazing! I was just reading about these today.

  6. It's a culinary feat of strength more than anything else. Next time, a chocolate version of this.

    Good grief, we don't need a next time...

  7. I've made two cherpumples (for parties) and a one layer using chocolate cake and pecan pie. TASTY.

    I use box mixes and frozen pies, but am considering homemade for the pumpkin pie/spice cake layer I'm taking to a Thanksgiving dinner party.

  8. It's utterly impossible to read this post without an enormous gleeful smile and giggles throughout. Love it! Would it be bad to admit that for the past week, I've been considering making cream cheese frosting just so I can eat it straight? I think I've only had cream cheese frosting once in my life, on a store-bought carrot cake, and I've suddenly decided that my life isn't worth living until I've eaten entire bowl of it.

  9. Woah. Chocolate cake and pecan pie? Delicious. I need to do that standalone. And GO FOR IT on the from scratch - you can make a denser cake that gives it more structure so that it will (hopefully) hold up better when sliced.

  10. Glad to provide a little entertainment, Hannah. And there is NOTHING wrong with making cream cheese frosting so you can eat it straight. If it would make you feel better, get some graham crackers to eat it on.

  11. Wow, that is impressive and intense!!

  12. Thanks, Julie! Now you know why I want to wait a few days for the cookie exchange ;).

  13. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading your adventures in cherpumple. You are a talented writer as well as baker. I look forward to visiting you daily. As for the $36, a steal I tell you. Couldn't afford to make a Bon Appetit White Chocolate Spiced Pear Tiramisu Trifle. The pear brandy alone was $49. Cheers! Lauren

  14. Happy to provide entertainment, Lauren. I feel like I should have set up streaming video for parts of this. I'm not sure how much this was "baking" as much as it was "building."

    White Chocolate Spieced Pear Tiramisu Trifle??? Oh I need to do that...

  15. Bon Appetit's White Chocolate Spiced Pear Tiramisu Trifle: the picture is worth everything

    I'm sure the recipe can be found at if not I'll mail it to you somehow. I'd wish you luck but after the chepumple, this sucker will be a walk in the park for you. Lauren

  16. Cherpumple! So funny. Cream cheese frosting makes everything better :-)

  17. Oh my, Lauren. That photo made me want to run to my chocolate cabinet, grab a chunk of Callebaut white chocolate, and start gnawing on it.

  18. Jenny, you're completely right. I think most desserts are just a little better with cream cheese frosting. And in this case, it held the whole thing together!

  19. I only just added one and one. This is many layers of awesome.

  20. It's 7.5" tall. I haven't gotten a weight on it yet. It's still in my freezer.

  21. speaking of you have a spare one?? how the hell did you fit that giant in there? or do you not use your freezer for anything other than freezing cakes? so many questions

  22. Rebecca, I had to clear out space in my (one and only) freezer by cooking up 4 lbs of vegetables on Monday night. I eat a lot of vegetables during the week, so it worked out.

  23. Thank you so much for this post!! I really wanted to make "frankencake", but was a bit daunted by several hours in the car on Thanksgiving. The extra mini-layer, springform pan and freezing are sheer genius.

  24. You're welcome! It was fun to write about. I would be worried about a long car ride as well. My suggestion would be to pick custard-based pies (like pumpkin), as those layers are most stable, and to construct/frost it onsite if possible. Transport the frozen layers in a cooler.