Cherpumple – You’re On Notice

by moderndomestic on November 8, 2010

Photo via Serious Eats

Americans are really good at making good food so excessive it’s disgusting. I’m sure by now you’ve read about the “cherpumple” – a pie baked into a cake. Specifically, it’s an apple pie baked into a spice cake, a pumpkin pie baked into a yellow cake, and a cherry pie baked into a white cake. Slap it all together with some icing, and you have something that’s truly . . . wrong. So very wrong. It’s so wrong I’m putting it on notice.

Now, believe me – I’m really not into the whole “it’s only good if it’s fancy and refined” attitude towards food. In fact, most plated desserts – with their tiny little components of cake and ice cream and whatnot all perfectly arranged like a miniature masterpiece on the plate – leave me cold.

My problem with the cherpumple isn’t that it’s unrefined, or messy – it’s that it does an injustice to both the pie and cake. Pie, at its essence, is about the textural contrast between a crisp pastry crust and a sweet and fruity filling. What do you do if you encase a pie crust in cake batter? A soggy pie crust.

And cake should be about texture, and the marriage of light, buttery cake and the sweet and smooth icing. Using cake as a glorified wrapper for a fully baked pie is just wrong – your cake will never cook through in the center unless you cook the hell out of the sides. It’s going to be one nasty, tough piece of cake.

There’s no way a cherpumple is going to taste good, unless all you’re going for is the sugar. And it’s wrong – it’s wrong to make and sell and promote a dessert that fundamentally can’t taste good.

Ultimately, this is a dessert that’s just about spectacle, and has nothing to do with the integrity of its ingredients, components, or flavors. And if there’s anything we need less of in American dining, it’s excess for the sake of excess.

What do you think of the churpumple? Would you eat it? Make it? Do you like the concept? Does it bug you as much as it bugs me?

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

The Black Dog November 9, 2010 at 8:43 am

To quote Aliie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half

“Most likely it will either solve all the problems in the world or end humanity in a hyperglycemic blaze of glory.”


Shaw Girl November 9, 2010 at 8:46 am

That is an abomination against dessert! And you hit the nail on the head as to why. It doesn’t even look appetizing. It looks like something you’d find in a bakery’s garbage disposal. Ewww.


rebecca November 9, 2010 at 9:10 am

I find the frosting to be the most offensive aspect of this experiment. However I try pretty much anything so I would say yes I would try it but I would probably not eat it in its entirety. I am also disturbed at the disrespect to the pie in the picture above. that pumpkin looks so sad mashed into the spice cake. How rude.


David November 9, 2010 at 9:13 am

It’s the classic “could we do it,” rather than “should we do it.” This dessert seems more driven by the engineering challenge rather than an artistic vision, meaning that the end goal is about impressing you that the baker was able to put this together rather than persuading you to eat it.


moderndomestic November 9, 2010 at 3:12 pm

But it’s not hard to do. Bake a pie. Pour cake batter over it. Repeat. Just as long as your cake batter has enough structural integrity (i.e., use a pound cake, not a chiffon cake), it’s not hard. I think it looks like crap.


David November 10, 2010 at 12:28 am

Right, but the thinking behind it wasn’t “will this taste good?” or “is this a tasty flavor combination?” Instead, they said, “I bet this has the structural integrity to … .” They end up with structural integrity and something that is not tasty (sorry probonogeek, we disagree again).


Nick (Macheesmo) November 9, 2010 at 9:53 am

HOLY! ?!

I agree with David though… the amazing part about this thing is that it can actually be made. You’d have to be crazy to want one of these though…


Kenneth Moore November 9, 2010 at 9:59 am

Ew. Also, the pies are upside down. Actually, I like them better that way–it makes the dish seem more approachable and human.

I could see how the flavours of the pumpkin pie and the spice cake could go together–in that sense, it would be almost like a huge truffle or something, with a delicious gooey centre. But seriously. The idea of a cherpumple makes me want to vomit just a tad.


moderndomestic November 9, 2010 at 3:13 pm

See, why not just make a pumpkin spice cake? Much better way to meld the flavors than to combine an actual pumpkin pie with an actual spice cake.


Superking November 9, 2010 at 11:14 am

Umm, looks good to me. Most deserts really are about cramming as much sugar as possible into your gaping maw. I don’t see how this is any worse than, say, a $3 cupcake. I find the cupcake more offensive given how expensive it is relative to what you’re getting.


moderndomestic November 9, 2010 at 2:17 pm

I disagree – I think that most desserts are about matching appealing flavors and textures together in a delicious experience. I dislike desserts that are just sweet – good chocolate dessert, for instance, taste like chocolate, with the sugar bringing out and balancing the chocolate flavor. But candy corn or cotton candy – stuff that actually just tastes like sugar? It’s gross.


rebecca November 10, 2010 at 8:51 am

Oh no you didn’t!! Cupcakes are genius!


Lexa November 9, 2010 at 11:42 am

Seriously. it doesn’t even look good. I love overkill more than most, but nothing about this screams “Eat me!”


moderndomestic November 9, 2010 at 2:18 pm

I know, right? Desserts should taste good. That is the whole point!


probonogeek November 9, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Sorry, I have to disagree. This dessert looks amazing. For all of the discussion of textures and what not, the BEST pies are ones where the filling has permeated the crust and, yes, turned it soggy. I would jump at the chance to enjoy this “monstrosity.”


moderndomestic November 9, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Wait . . . you like soggy pie crust? Who likes soggy pie crust?


probonogeek November 9, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I love soggy pie crust! There is no better pie than “day-after” pie. I’m already building a group of people to reconstruct Cherpumple. It will be glorious.


moderndomestic November 9, 2010 at 3:11 pm

You’re lucky the success of my self hosting depends on your technical skill, buster.

Actually, when you do it you should do a guest post – I’d be kind of fascinated to see how it turns out for you.

Ugh. I HATE soggy pie crust. I spent excessive time and effort to avoid it in my pies.


Olga @ MangoTomato November 9, 2010 at 2:53 pm

so very gross. it’d be like combining a subway sandwich with a burger and a fish filet.


Linno November 9, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Two words: Hot Mess
It makes me a little ill just looking at it. That said, I can accept it for the sheer novelty factor, and can see how it could be a ‘fun’ dessert. But personally I think it looks gross.


Victoria (District Chocoholic) November 9, 2010 at 9:10 pm

I could be convinced to try one layer of this, with the pie filling only (no crust). I suppose the concept would be “Pie with Cake Crust.” It’s worth trying, no?


Deb Cullinan November 10, 2010 at 7:45 am

The only way this should be served as a dessert is after someone has consumed a main course of turducken!


Ashley November 11, 2010 at 5:53 pm

That is so unfortunate looking. It’s like the dessert version of a turducken. No way would I ever eat this. Yuck.


Tania November 12, 2010 at 8:32 am

No ways!!! this is crazy! I share your sentiments!


Peggy November 12, 2010 at 9:52 am

I definitely agree with everything you’re saying here! I mean, seriously? What a large waste!


Kittymama December 26, 2010 at 1:39 am

oh, moderndomestic, have you actually tasted a cherpumple before insisting it couldn’t taste good? It’s not perfect pie, it’s not perfect cake — it’s something bigger than both of them!


Baker March 19, 2011 at 12:48 pm

I’m attempting to make the Cherpumple with my girlfriend this weekend. I think it looks nasty, and is a very easy concept… But the thrill in making something ‘different’ really grabbed me.

It will be donated to our local shelter if it holds. I sure won’t eat any- I’m a diabetic, and she won’t eat any- she gave up sweets for lent.

Wish us luck.


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