Dessert Hacking, My New Addiction

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Anti-Health, Chooch, Cooking, Dessert Hacks, ExperiMENTAL, Family, Friends

Maybe it’s just boredom with traditional desserts, but since the first planning stages of cherpumple baking in August I’ve been looking at desserts differently.

My immediate thought after the first viewing of the “how-to” video was that I needed to attempt it with one of my cheesecakes baked inside a chocolate cake for the first cherpumple. Sadly, it was a failure on two fronts. First, the chocolate cake batter never completely cooked and was raw in places. This was, in hindsight, due to the density and temperature of the cheesecake. I’m sure I can overcome the issues in future attempts. The second disappointment halted future attempts for now – my husband, son and I decided that you couldn’t even taste the cheesecake as it just absorbed the chocolate flavor. (I’ll get back to those later, as I’ve got some possibly tasty solutions to this problem.)

Even so, they let out cries of horror when I tossed it in the trash.

Another modification to the cherpumple was at the request of P.G. Holyfield, which I surprised him with during his visit this weekend. After trying the cherpumple I baked for BlenderCon, he pulled me to the side and let me know that he would love to try a chocolate cake/pecan pie layer. As expected, it turned out to be extremely delicious. My concern over what would happen to the inner pie layer was unnecessary. It retained its moisture and texture and also added its distinctive flavor to the chocolate in a very tasty way.

Note: My husband coined the term “PiCake” for any cake/pie layers or stacked layers, so that’s what I’m calling those that are not true Cherpumples (cherry/pumpkin/apple pies baked in white/spice/yellow cakes).

Behold the ChocoCan PiCake

Another friend that has not yet experienced the cherpumple, Tee Morris, let me know last week that he wants to try it. He also suggested a chocolate layer with pumpkin pie inside. While I personally don’t like chocolate mixed with pumpkin pie spices, I can’t deny Tee his request and will make him that layer.

Then there’s the layer I’m dying to try, and have already added it to my Christmas baking list. It will have a chocolate cake with a cherry pie inside. I’m a huge fan of chocolate covered cherries, and I think it will be most delicious!

I’ll post updates with the results of those modifications, assuming I don’t forget again. I’ll also post future dessert hacks, as they are attempted, with photos. The list is very long, so it will take awhile.

Oh, and I’m baking the pumpkin pie/spice PiCake for Thanksgiving. Don’t judge me. It’s good enough that it bears repeating.

Cherpumple Exploits

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Anti-Health, Cooking, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Dessert Hacks, ExperiMENTAL, Family, Firsts, Friends, Our Kids, Podcast

Fiddle dee dee. I came to post an update on my cherpumple exploits only to discover that I never posted anything about it here. Shocking!

A cherpumple is a dessert phenomenon that I first heard about thanks to J.C. Hutchins, when he tweeted a link to a picture of it either at the end of July or beginning of August. Intrigued by the link, I naturally googled it and found a video showing how to make your own.

Chooch and I were amazed, and discussed possibly making it for BlenderCon, our annual party that was coming up a few weeks later. We got the name BlenderCon from the name of our blended family podcast, Into the Blender. We decided against it because we’d already spent quite a bit on what was needed for our chocolate fountain, which has been a part of the tradition since we held the first BlenderCon in 2008.

A week or so later, I was listening to Jared Axelrod’s Fables of the Flying City and he was discussing the sixth anniversary of podcasting. (No, August of 2010 wasn’t the fifth anniversary as Apple celebrated. It was just the fifth anniversary of Apple listing podcasts in their iTunes store.) Jared felt strongly that something needed to be done in August to celebrate it, and I realized, hey! We’re doing something in August! And Jared’s coming to it! We should make the cherpumple! Sixth anniversary, six desserts in one! Perfect!

I baked it the night before the party, and stressed because it was not as pretty as I’d hoped, mainly because of the cream cheese frosting I used (very sticky and unforgiving), as recommended in the video. In spite of the imperfections, the dessert was a hit. It’s definitely more of a spectacle than a dessert, but was enjoyed by all. Our dear friend P.G. Holyfield even took up the challenge I laid down to combine cherpumple with chocolate fountain. I’m happy to say he survived the sugar overdose and has mostly recovered. Mostly.

For further explanation, a cherpumple is a three layer dessert that includes a cake and a pie in each layer. The top layer is yellow cake with an apple pie baked inside; the middle layer is a white cake with a cherry pie baked inside; the bottom layer is a spice cake with a pumpkin pie inside. Once baked, you stack and frost as you would any layer cake. It was re-named the CakePieCakePieCakePie that night, and our friend Dr. John Cmar announced that 5 diabetics living nearby had just dropped dead because of the amount of sugar in the dessert. I’m pretty sure he was kidding.

Paul Fischer blew out the number “6” candle on top since he was the person in the room that had been podcasting the longest, and then we started carefully cutting slices. It’s as difficult as you might expect. Most people doubled up and really just wanted to taste each of the levels. The best flavor, as we were told by most guests, was the spice cake/pumpkin pie layer. I’d have to agree. The two flavors are perfectly suited and completely enjoyable.

It was such a huge hit, that when we were planning my son’s farewell party a month later we decided that I should make it again. I made a few changes, such as making all the layers 10″, instead of 8, 9 and 10″. More importantly, I dumped the cream cheese frosting in favor of vanilla frosting. It turned out much prettier and the flavor didn’t seem different at all. Besides, most folks were diving straight into the layers without going near the frosting.

When Chooch lifted the cake to move it before the party, he decided we needed to weigh it since it was so heavy. It tipped the scales at 17 pounds. I started to feel really guilty at that point.

It was again, a huge success. Just like before, everyone just wanted to try each of the layers and most ended up in the trash. The majority again held that the pumpkin/spice layer was the best.

I’ve sworn off making the full, three layer monstrosity. We’ll see if that sticks.