There are times to eat healthy, and then there's Derby, a time for all the mint juleps and bourbon balls and whiskey you can stuff into your face. In the land of the deep fried, the chocolate dipped, the bacon infused, I decided to make the most ridiculous Derby dessert ever: a piecaken. A piecaken is a pie baked inside a cake, frosted like a regular cake but then when you cut into it--VOILA! Sweet, luscious, moist pie inside a soft cake covered in frosting. The idea for a Derby Piecaken came partially from my favorite blog, and partially from a desire to cram as much chocolate and bourbon into one space as humanly possible. Where there's a will, there's a way.
I am actually very lazy in the kitchen--who has time for all those dishes? So the daunting task of making a pie, and then a cake proved to be too much for me. So I bought myself a Kern's Derby-Pie© and a chocolate cake mix. I put the cake mix together in about five minutes, put half of it into a 9.5 inch spring form pan, then popped the pie on top of the batter already in the pan and spread the other half of the batter over the pie. I popped the monstrous thing into the oven at 350 degrees and cooked it for 35 minutes, checking regularly to make sure the pie wasn't burning, the cake was rising, and the world wasn't ending with the combination of two such wickedly indulgent confections.
While the baking was going on, I decided to whip up some Bourbon Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. While I am fairly slothful about baking most things, frosting is not something to skimp effort on. If you use store bought frosting out of a can for this recipe may the piecaken gods rain down their wrath upon you. You can't cover something this special with that over processed goop! Therefore I will share with you my favorite Bourbon Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe, (courtesy of my friend Sarah Strapp)
Sarah's Bourbon Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1 stick butter
1/3 cup crisco
1 stiff beaten egg white
5 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla (or to taste)
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup of Bourbon (to taste)
Cream together the fats, then add two cups of the sugar. Beat in the egg white, then add the rest of the sugar and beat until all the grit is gone. Add the vanilla, the salt and the Bourbon. I like my frosting very very thick and very very alcoholic, so you may want to adjust the amount of sugar and/or booze if you're not as excited about the prospect of high-test frosting.
After about 35 minutes I released the piecaken from the oven and popped off the sides of the spring form pan to let the thing cool. It looked precisely like a chocolate cake, leaving the unknowing observer without any warning of what lurked within! Once I frosted it, the whole room reeked of Bourbon and I was ready to cut into the piecaken. When I cut out a slice, there was the perfect outline of the Derby-Pie© inside the cake! I took a bite.
It was sinful. It was heavenly. It was everything you'd expect a dessert with that many cups of sugar and nuts and chocolate and alcohol to be. The Derby-Pie(c) lent moist filling and nutty crunch; the chocolate cake was a fluffy chocolaty background that provided the perfect platform for the frosting. The notes of butter and bourbon in the frosting blended really well with the succulence of the pie and the springiness of the cake. I brought the piecaken to my office and by the end of the day it had been completely devoured. My Derby-licious Piecaken was a rousing success!
photos: Abigail Orrick