Many people have by now heard of the Turducken holiday feast; consisting of a chicken, stuffed into a duck, stuffed into a Turkey, with layers of stuffing between them. What many people haven’t yet discovered is the Cherpumple, a dessert variation on the Tuducken, consisting of three pies baked into three separate cakes, and then each stacked as a layer and frosted together. There are many flavor variations, but the pies tend to stay the same: CHERry, PUMpkin, and apPLE. Thus, “cherpumple”, because one pie alone cannot rise to the challenge of a Turducken.
As you may or may not know, a few members of the TSheets crew have a competitive streak within them, so when a challenge comes along it is almost always accepted. With that said, I had to attempt the Cherpumple. Much to my surprise, it was a success! So for all you hopefuls out there looking for a way to terrify and delight your holiday dinner guests, here is my recipe for success:
First, here’s what you’ll need:
A cherry pie, a pumpkin pie and an apple pie. Honestly, you can slave over a hot oven for hours making devastatingly elegant pies…or you can recognize that they are going to be tucked away inside of a cake and nobody will notice your hard work and buy some pre-made ones on the fly. Either choice is just fine.
You will want to go ahead and bake these pies at least a day in advance so that they are fully cooled when they’re ready to go into their next stage.
Next you will need three cake batters; either from scratch or a box, it’s entirely up to your preference. The typical Cherpumple recipe calls for a white cake, a yellow cake and a spice cake, however, I don’t think it really matters. Since I am a bit of a chocolate lover, I decided no self-respecting cake/pie could be made without any chocolate, and I wanted some stability for the flavors so I opted for the other two cakes to be yellow cake.
With my formula this means a apple pie tucked into a yellow cake, a cherry pie baked into a chocolate cake and a pumpkin pie secreted away in another yellow cake.
To get started, grease a pan at least as large as your pie. For example, if you have an 8 inch pie, you’ll want at least an 8 inch cake pan, though, an extra inch of space will give you some added security against any leaks, spills, etc. For mine, I had one 8 inch pie, and two 9 inch pies, and I used three 9 inch spring-form pans. If I could go back and do it again, I’d use all 8 inch pies, but this was just an initial test – live and learn, right?
Here is your process for each individual layer:
1. Preheat your non-convection oven to 325F; this is going to be a very thick layer – in the neighborhood of 2.5 to 3 inches – so we want a lower temp and a longer cooking time to prevent burning. Plus, I was using a very dark metal spring-form pan, which would typically warrant a lower cooking temperature anyway.
2. Spray some Baker’s Joy, Pam, Crisco, Can-O-Butter – whatever you’ve got handy – around the bottom and sides of your pan. Normally, I’m very against greasing pans at all, especially the sides, but given how much height we’ve got with the pie being baked into the cake, we won’t need to worry about the cake not rising enough. So, go ahead, spray on!
3. Pour 1/4 to 1/3 of your first cake batter into the bottom of the pan. We just want to cover the bottom, and make a soft cushion for the pie, so make sure the whole bottom is covered but leave enough to cover the top.
4. Stab the pie. Not because it was giving you sass earlier in the day. Not because you’ve been storing pent up rage due to extended exposure to your family around the holidays. But because it’s good for the pie. I’m not saying go Sweeney Todd on that bad boy, but we want to puncture the surface so we can get some batter into the pie itself for some extra hold and stability. A few pops with a butter knife should do the trick.
5. Place the pie onto the “batter cushion” in the spring-form pan. I had a lot of trouble with the crust crumbling in this step, so after my first pie I decided it was easier to just flip the pie quickly into the pan, then lift off the metal pie tin. Yes. This is very important. REMOVE the metal pie tin – it’s sure to put a damper on any holiday festivity, especially for those with dental fillings.
6. Pour the rest of the batter on top of the pie. I used a spatula to help get the batter evenly around the edges. Also, it doesn’t hurt to slam the filled pan against your counter a few times (if your counter and pan can handle it) to make sure you get rid of any air bubbles.
7. Bake the cake/pie. Each of mine ended up being about 50 to 60 minutes total cook time, but it’s a good rule of thumb to check it every ten minutes after the initial 30 minute mark. Please note, you won’t be able to use the classic toothpick or butterknife trick to see if your cake is done…mainly because there’s a pie in the middle to throw you off. To see if it’s done look for the edges of the cake to be pulling away from the pan slightly, the middle should be set and not jiggle when moved, and when putting light pressure on the top of the cake it should bounce back.
After you repeat this with each layer, cool them all completely before frosting. Also, pay attention to the weight and stability of each pie layer. My heaviest and sturdiest was the pumpkin layer, which meant it was going on the very bottom. Also, for frosting, you have your choice of options, but I figured with this heavy of a dessert the best option would be a light whipped cream frosting, so that’s what I did. I also followed standard frosting procedure, one terrifyingly large layer at a time.
Let me tell you, this cake was a behemoth. Just a ridiculously large cake, with an absurd number of calories, and a potential pain to put together. But, it was also fun! And the look on people’s faces when you cut through those crazy layers and reveal the monster within is absolutely priceless. So go ahead, take the TSheets Cherpumple Challenge and give it a try, then let us know your story!
Here’s to a Happy Holiday Season, filled with Delicious Eatings!