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?