Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Cherpumple

Cherpumple - Title Image

Warning:  This post may give you diabetes.

Guys, I am so darn excited to share this - my greatest baking accomplishment - ridiculously amazing dessert with you.

For anyone out of the loop here - a cherpumple is what I call "The Inception Dessert."  It is 3 different pies, each pie is then baked into 3 separate kinds of cake.  Then the three layers are stacked on top of each other and covered with icing.  A dessert inside of a dessert, if you will.

The original cherpumple, created by Charles Phoenix, is a cherry pie baked into a white cake, a pumpkin pie baked into a spice cake, and an apple pie baked into a yellow cake.

We stayed pretty true to the recipe, with one minor change - we baked the cherry pie into a chocolate cake.  To be honest, I can't believe my buddy Charlie up there didn't come up with that himself.  I mean, what goes better with berry than chocolate??

So the idea of a cherpumple first started making its rounds in my head while we were in Phoenix. Long story short, we talked about it a lot but never made it.  But, on the plane home, Dude and I talked a bit and realized the cherpumple wouldn't be as massive of a project if you enlisted two other people and had them each bake a layer!  So when we got home, we assembled our crew!  Enter Chris and Jody.

So, on Super Bowl (am I allowed to say that?) Sunday, we created the cherpumple.  Chris and Jody were amazing and assembled the chocolate/cherry and yellow/apple layers, so I only have pictures of the spice/pumpkin layer being created, but you'll get the idea.

So, first things first.  Get ready to spend some serious money on this cake, because you're going to need:
Cherpumple - Icing, pan, and mixer
  • 1 8" pumpkin pie (I used frozen)
  • 1 8" apple pie (they used fresh, with a pie crust top, not crumb)
  • 1 8" cherry pie (they used fresh)
  • 1 box of chocolate cake mix
  • 1 box of white or yellow cake mix
  • 1 box of spice cake mix
  • 3 tubs of cream cheese (or your favorite) frosing
  • 3 (or 1 rotating) 9" Springform pan
  • Probably a half-dozen eggs, a couple of cups of oil and some water for the cake mixes
If you bought frozen pies, the first step is to bake those pies and let them cool down to room temperature.  I baked my pie the night before and let it cool overnight in the fridge. 

Once your pies are cool, start preparing your cake mix.  Mix it up in whatever way the directions on the box call for.  I used 1/8th cup less water and oil than the box mix called for, thinking it would help the cake hold up a little better.

I think it did hold up marginally better than the other cakes, but my cakepie was also on the top and not holding any weight, so that obviously could have played a big part.

Cherpumple - cake mix

So your cake is all mixed.  Now grease the crap out of your Springform pan.  I used Pam; and if you have parchment paper, I would recommend placing a circle of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan.  Then, pour enough batter into the pan to just cover the bottom, roughly a cup and a quarter to a cup and a half.   

Cherpumple - cake mix in the bottom of the pan

Grab a helper so you can take pictures and have them remove the foil pan from your pie.  I'm sure I don't need to tell you how essential this step is.

Cherpumple - Removing foil pan from pie

Gently place the pie into your pan and wiggle it around by the crust to help settle it in.

Cherpumple - setting pie into pan
Seriously, he has the nicest hands, doesn't he??  Look at those nails!
I should also mention another crucial step here - have your helper take a spoonful of the pie from the middle just to make sure it tastes right.

Cherpumple - Pumpkin pie in spice cake batter, missing bite

Once your pie is situated, start pouring the remaining cake batter into the pan.  I started by pouring some around the edges and then over the top until it looked like this:

Cherpumple - Pie covered with spice cake batter

 I had enough batter left over to make 10 cupcakes.

Cherpumple - Leftover batter cupcakes

Now it's time to bake this bad mammajamma.  Let me tell you up front, it is going to take a looooonggg time.  Ignore the box and set your timer for an hour.  Check it every 5 or 10 minutes after that until the cake no longer jiggles in the middle.

The total baking time for my spice/pumpkin layer was an hour and 20 minutes.  I know it feels like your cake is burning and going to be rock hard, but I promise you it won't.

Cherpumple - Baked spice/pumpkin layer

This is the spice/pumpkin layer after baking.  You can see the edges look a little well-done, but they were not crispy whatsoever.

If you're making all these layers yourself, repeat these steps two more times with the cherry and apple pies.  Or, if you're lucky like me, set your cakepie somewhere (mine went outside in the snow) to cool and wait for your friends to bring their layers!

Before assembling your cherpumple, make sure every layer is at least room temperature.  Chris and Jody's was refrigerated overnight and like I said above, mine was outside in the snow, so it wouldn't hurt for them to be cooler than room temperature.

Cherpumple - All three layers on counter
From left:  Chocolate/Cherry, Yellow/Apple, Spice/Pumpkin
When you're ready to assemble, remove the outer circles of your Springform pans and grab a giant plate and start stacking your layers.

The easiest way we found to transfer the first layer is to flip the first cakepie layer upside down onto your (clean!) palm.  Remove the pan bottom - if it's a little sticky, you can do what we did and wiggle a flexible plastic cutting board in between the pan bottom and the cake - and put the plate face down onto the bottom of your cake.

I didn't take a picture of this step but here's a crudely Photoshopped diagram:
Cherpumple - Flipping first layer diagram
Plate  Cake  Hand
Now, keeping your palm on the top of the cake, flip everything over.  Plop some icing in the middle, spread it out, and you're ready for the second layer.

Cherpumple - Bottom layer with icing

 Follow the same procedure for your second layer, except instead of bringing the plate to your cakepie layer, bring the layer to the plate.

Cherpumple - second layer on plate

Add more icing.

Cherpumple - second layer with icing

Repeat one last time for the final layer.  We used the spice/pumpkin cakepie as the top layer because pumpkin was the only pie that didn't have a crust top, thus, in theory, making it less stable.  Who knows if this is really true.

Cherpumple - All three layers stacked
   
Now spread icing all over the entire cake.  Don't be shy, you're going to save yourself a negligible amount of calories if you skimp on the icing.  We used all three tubs of icing and to be honest, I think it was the perfect amount.

Cherpumple - All three layers iced
Somehow, I don't think cake decorating is in our future...
So once everything is iced, step back and appreciate your work for a second.  Then go grab the scale and see how heavy it is!!

Cherpumple - Weighing finished product - 15lbs!

Uh yeah, that says 15 pounds of cherpumple...  That is including the plate; but to be fair, the plate alone didn't register on the scale.

So anyways, I know you are dying to cut into this thing, but please trust me when I tell you to let it chill for at least an hour.  We put ours outside - until Chris wondered out loud what was keeping raccoons and squirrels from sampling it - mainly because it was easier and partially because I don't think it would have fit in the fridge.

So go occupy yourself for an hour.  Maybe spend that hour on the treadmill or something so you won't feel bad about eating a slice of the cherpumple later.

Once an hour has passed, get your plates ready!  We used the longest knife we had to cut this and didn't have an inch to spare.

Cherpumple - Time to cut the cherpumple!


Cherpumple - Cutting the cherpumple

I was really worried about the slices coming out in gloops and chunks; but even the first slice came out looking perfect.

Cherpumple - First slice

And here's the cherpumple with four slices taken out.

Cherpumple - Slice with cut cake in background

Honestly, isn't that the most beautiful thing you've ever seen??

What are you waiting for??  Dig in and enjoy all your hard work!  And once you've eaten your one piece, call some friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, even complete strangers because I can assure you, you will not be able to finish this on your own.

Cherpumple - Ready to eat!
Bonus points for anyone who can correctly guess how many different kinds of milk were on the table.
We all tried a bite that included every layer; but I think after that one bite, we all ended up just eating the layers separately.  The chocolate/cherry layer was definitely the crowd favorite.  If you've made or tried this before, what was your favorite?  Can you think of any other flavor combinations you'd like to try?

The cherpumple is definitely overwhelming but SO worth it.  Imagine your Valentine's face if you gave this to them instead of a batch of cookies or cupcakes!  Even better, make one for a party, but don't tell anyone what it is and watch their expression when they first cut it.

Or.  Wait.  Imagine how much you could sell a slice for at a bake sale.  Or one of those weird pie auction thingers where everyone's Mom bakes a pie and then you stand in a circle on numbers and play pie musical chairs and when the music stops the number you're standing on is the pie you win?  Is that a real thing or did I make it up?

Ok, I think all the sugar in this post must have gotten to me.  I'm going to sign off and go check my insulin levels!

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