Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Piecaken for Pi Day

Awhile ago I ran across a flickr picture of a "piecaken."  For the uninitiated, a piecaken is a cake with one or more pies baked into it.  The version in the link is a two-layer variety, but I realized that a single layer wouldn't actually be too difficult.  I also made the mistake of mentioning it at the office shortly after the announcement of the annual pi day celebration where we bring in pies of all shape to share with each other in celebration of this well known mathematical constant.  Unfortunately, I mentioned it within earshot of my director, who also happened to be the organizer of this party, and she virtually insisted that I had to bring one.  Despite my trepidations, not only in my rather lacking skill-set in this area (I'm not exactly the world's greatest baker), but also whether or not it would taste any good, I set forth to create one.



The actual process was a bit problematic, but mostly due to my own stupid mistakes -- such as turning the mixer to the high speed setting instead of the "off" position while extracting it from the batter, and misreading the instructions ("Why is this batter so thick?  Wait -- how much water was I supposed to add?").  I tried to make it as simple as possible and got everything store-bought:

The supplies
  • pre-made cherry pie 
  • chocolate cake mix 
  • can of chocolate frosting 
  • jar of maraschino cherries (optional) 
At that point it was pretty simple process:
  1. Mix the batter as per the instructions on the box
  2. Pour a little bit of batter into a round baking pan (I used about 1 1/3 cups)
  3. Place the de-tinned pie on top of the poured batter
  4. Pour some more batter on top 
  5. Bake as per cake instructions.  I found it took a little longer to fully bake than what the instructions indicated.
I made a mistake in step 4 by pouring too much batter -- it ended up "boiling over" during the baking process, so I don't know how much is an appropriate amount to add.  However, it actually came out okay, especially after I added the frosting and a few cherries for garnish:
The finished product
It actually tasted pretty good, although very rich.  And if the empty plate after our celebration finished was any indication, others apparently agreed with me!

I only worry about what sort of precedent I've now set for next year's pi day celebration...