CakeSpy Note: This is part of a series of Pie Slam Profiles, featuring the recipes and stories of each of the 9 entrants in last week's Pi(e) Day Pie Slam! This entry came from Alexander, who made the ultimate dessert: a Pake (a pie baked into a cake!). Here's his story:
Though we all know of Thomas Cake, know the holiday and have seen the statues of him, most do not know his humble beginnings.
As a young cupcake Thomas attended a mostly pie school. The tartlets would all surround him, throw pits at him, mock his egg content, pull at his ruffled cupcake clothes and call him nothing without frosting.
Thomas hoped to find a friend in the also maligned Concord grape tartlet but Concord’s cruelty ran deepest of them all. He’d shove Thomas into the wet dirt, calling him a mud pie.
The adult pies would look the other way, saying things like “Tartlets will be tartlets,” and “that little cupcake just needs a thicker crust.”
As Thomas grew older, almost a full sized cake, he began stuffing himself with cherries to try and fit in with the pies. But his cake brethren despised those of their kind who filled themselves with fruit, for nothing was more reviled than a fruit cake. Once, his father caught him hiding cherries and shouted, “You are not my son! I didn’t raise a black forest cake! I raised a good, simple chocolate cake!”
But the political winds were changing: At a national level, the cakes formed an alliance with the also oppressed crumbles, a sizable minority that usually sided with the pies, but were sick of playing second fiddle to them. In a violent coup, cakes and crumbles overthrew the ruling pie majority and secured power through brute force. The now ruling Cake Party banned pies from appearing at Thanksgiving and the pumpkin pies wept.
At first, Thomas reveled in the power of his new social status. He need only threaten to report his pie classmates to the ruling party and he would get whatever he wanted.
But one day, Thomas saw Concord pie by a big mud puddle. As Thomas lifted Concord by the scruff of his tin, intending to make Concord eat humble pie, the Apple pies guffawed in anticipation, their cruel laughter reminding Thomas of his position only weeks before. Instead he gently lowered Concord to dry land and asked, “Can’t we all just get along?”
From then on, Thomas became an advocate for downtrodden desserts. Pie, cake, brownies, cookies clafouti and even donuts soon marched to his rallying cry of dessert equality. Even the soufflés rose to the occasion.
The King Cake feared Thomas’ 350 degree rhetoric. One day, Thomas simply disappeared, never to be seen again. Rumor had it, the King Cake had personally stabbed Thomas in the back with a cake server, but most believe he was simply dumped in a compost pile and left to rot.
But, Thomas’s ideas live on! The next time you think of ordering a cake for a birthday or consider entering a pie into a fair, remember Thomas’s teachings! Consider instead, a panna cotta or maybe even a Pavlova. Don’t be slave to your sweet preconceptions! Remember, our enemies are not the pies or the cakes but the soups, the salads, the main course, the Atkin’s Diet! Sweet solidarity!
Chocolate and Cherry Pake
- Make a "sturdy" pie crust. I usually follow Ken Haedrich's food processor recipe from his book "Pie."
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 sticks cold butter, 1/2 cup cold water. Follow standard crust directions, but mix two egg yolks into the cold water to make the crust sturdier.
- 1-1/2 lb. Bing cherries, pitted (4-1/2 cups)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup MINUTE Tapioca
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
- Mix fillings and let sit for 15 minutes, Fill crusts and bake at 400 for 45-50 minutes.
- Make a basic chocolate cake batter. I usually use something similar to this (a decently sturdy cake, not the total fall apart cake on the back of Hershey's Cocoa Powder box (a surprisingly good recipe):
- Prepare two cake pans. Pour just enough batter to cover the bottom of one pan, then place the cherry pie into it. Drop the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles and to settle the pie in the batter. Just barely cover the exposed top of the pie with batter. Pour the remaining batter into the other pan.
- Bake. The cake pan with the pie will take much longer as the pie is absorbing most of the heat (especially if the pie has already cooled.) Remove the normal pan when it's done, remove the pie/cake pan when it's slightly underdone. Let both cool, then cut the normal cake layer into two or three layers (depending on the thickness.)
- Make a buttercream (1/2 cup butter, 3 1/2 confectioner's, 1 pinch salt, 1 teaspoon coffee or espresso.)
- Place the cake enclosed pie as the bottom layer. Frost with butter cream. Place a normal cake layer on top of it. Frost and sprinkle with cherries and cherry kirschwasser. Do the same for the remaining layers, but do not frost and cherry the final layer.
- Cover the entire pake with stabilized whipped cream and decorate with chocolate shavings. Refrigerate so the whipped cream doesn't go bad.