Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a big week. With Christmas about a week away, now’s the time to start thinking about your plan for the big day. Now, some of you might be like me. You may have had your plan locked and loaded since December 26th of last year. Or, some of you might be going, “Gosh, I’ve seen Christmas decorations in stores for 5 months now. Is it finally here?!” Whoever you are, today’s recipe is a plan changer. If you’re looking to impress or perplex your holiday guests, this if your solution. I introduce to you, The PieCaken.
“The Pie-what-en”, you say? Let me explain. Most of us have heard of the TurDuckEn. Yes, that dish which consists of a chicken, stuffed into a duck, stuffed into a turkey. It’s a head scratcher, for sure. I (along with many other bakers out there, who are more creative than myself) have decided to put a spin on the savory dish to make it a sweet one. Hence, the PieCaken: a pie, stuffed into a cake. A bit more appetizing if you ask me!
While there are so many possible flavor combinations out there, I figured we should go with the season. That’s why, today, we’ll be stuffing a pumpkin pie, into an apple spice cake. Then, of course, finishing it with a cinnamon glaze. There’s lots to do, so let’s get started!
You’ll start with your favorite pie crust. You can use this one from a few of my other recipes, or a good old pack of Pillsbury’s finest. With these crusts, you’ll cut out circles that are about 4-5 inches in diameter. Place those in the cavities of a standard muffin tin, and use a fork to dock (poke holes in) in the sides and bottoms of the crust. Then, line the crust with a piece of foil, and fill with either pie weights, or my cheaper solution, dry beans. You’ll then pre-bake these crusts for 5-6 minutes, until the edges are slightly brown.
Meanwhile, make your pumpkin pie filling. This simply involves whisking together pumpkin, brown sugar and eggs, and then adding your spices, cornstarch, cream and milk.
Then, you’ll spoon your pumpkin filling into each cavity, until they are a little over 3/4 full. Bake for about 15-17 minutes, until the filling is set, and you’ve got your pies done. Check!
Moving on to the cake! This cake is so moist and so flavorful. And, the apples baked inside? The cherries on the cake! (Kind of…) What’s better, is that the cake simply involves mixing the dry ingredients in a separate bowl from the wet, and slowly incorporating the two. No equipment involved. Not even all that much elbow grease! Once all of the ingredients are friends, mix in the cut up apples and you’re set to assemble!
Here goes, folks. Prepare two jumbo muffin tins, by spraying them with cooking oil. Spoon about two tablespoons of cake batter into each cavity. Then, place your mini pumpkin pies, face down, into each. We’ll be serving these in the opposite direction then they are baked, so your pies will eventually end up right side up. (The teacher in me is going, “do those words make sense?”)
Then, use the rest of your batter to fill in the tins. You’ll end up giving about another quarter cup to each. With a butter knife, make sure to push the batter down the sides of the cavities. Ain’t nobody got time for a naked pie giving away the surprise on the inside!
Bake these at 350 degrees, for about 22 minutes.
Once your cakes are cooled, you can go ahead and glaze them. To make the glaze, just throw all those ingredients together, and mix until it’s a consistency you’re happy with.
And there, folks, is your Christmas show stopper. Be prepared to explain the concept to many confused family members, many times. Then, be prepared to graciously accept thanks as they praise you for being the most innovative dessert-maker in all the land. Finally, be prepared to be asked to bring them to every Christmas gathering from now until forever.
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 8 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
- ½ cup water, ice cold
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 ¼ cups brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 medium apples, peeled and diced into very small chunks
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
- Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter and toss to coat.
- Turn the mixture out on to a floured surface, and use a floured rolling pin to flatten the butter into sheets in the flour. Continue until butter is well distributed in dry ingredients.
- Put mixture back into bowl and freeze for 10 minutes.
- Remove bowl from freezer and add in water. Using your hand, clump the dough together until a ball forms. If still crumbly, add a teaspoon of water at a time until a ball forms.
- Divide the dough into two even disks.
- Wrap the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Roll out pie dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out circles with about a 4 inch diameter.
- Press circles into a well greased cupcake tin. Dock the dough circles with a fork to prevent shrinkage.
- Place a layer of foil in each cavity. Fill the foil with pie weights or dried beans.
- Pre-bake pie crusts for 5 minutes, or until edges turn slightly brown.
- Whisk together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar and eggs.
- Add in the spices, cornstarch, cream and milk.
- Once combined, fill each pre-baked cavity ¾ full.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until pumpkin filling is set.
- After letting the pies sit for at least 10 minutes in the muffin tin, remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
- Combine oil, yogurt, sugars, eggs and vanilla, in a large bowl.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine dry ingredients.
- Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
- Fold in the chopped apples.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Spray two 6-cavity jumbo muffin tins with baking spray.
- Spoon 2 tablespoons of cake batter into each cavity.
- Place a mini pumpkin pie in each, with the filling side facing down.
- Divide the remainder of the bake batter, by fourths of a cup, into each of the 12 cavities.
- Make sure to encase each pie by guiding the cake batter along the sides of the tin.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and set.
- After allowing the cakes to cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes, invert on to a cooling rack to continue cooling.
- Combine all ingredients; glaze will be thick.
- Spoon over each PieCaken. Use the back of a spoon to spread smoothly.
- **Store bought pie crust is a great alternative and time saver here!