I can’t believe our Illustrated Geek Cookbook Kickstarter raised $4000 in one week! I love you all so much I baked you a cake. Since this is Kitchen Overlord, that cake is a Superhero Cherpumple.
Behold the Fantastic Four’s Thing holding up the base with an apple pie baked into spice cake. Above him, the X-Men’s Phoenix rises with a pumpkin pie baked inside a deliciously green cheesecake confection. To top them all off, Deadpool’s cherry eyes watch you from inside his chocolatly shell.
This may look insanely complicated, but like any good crossover, the reality is both cheaper to buy and easier to follow than you anticipated. (Seriously. If you have 4 hours to spare, you can make one of these for less than $20. Bask in the admiration of your friends without ever hinting that this wasn’t exactly rocket science.)
Marvel Comics Inspired Cherpumple
1 box spice cake mix
1 box vanilla pudding
1 pre-baked apple pie
1 box yellow cake mix
1 box cheesecake flavor pudding
1 pre-baked pumpkin pie
1 tbsp green food coloring
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 box chocolate pudding
1 pre-baked cherry pie
4 tubs cream cheese icing
1 thick bamboo kabob skewer
At it’s heart, a cherpumple is nothing more than tasty pies baked inside even tastier cakes.
Instead of following the aptly X-Men-tasticly named Charles Phoenix’s easy instructions, a lot of people end up with delicious wads of sugary failure because they try to bake a frozen pie into a store bought cake mix.
This is doomed to failure.
Store bought cake mix is designed to give you a dessert fluffier than a loaf of white bread. That won’t work for a cherpumple. Go grab any baked pie and drop it on top of a loaf of Wonder Bread. I’ll wait. Really. If you ended up with anything other than a flattened wad of sad, white dough, you’re reading this from Elon Musk’s Mars Colony. Sorry about the dated internet archive, colonists. Maybe you’ll find out about Khan’s eugenics wars in the next data stream update.
For those of you here on Earth, you’re going to need a sturdier, denser cake in order to support the weight of your pies. Don’t worry. I’m not going to suggest something crazy like making a cake out of flour, sugar, and friends. Instead, the easiest way to do this is to add a big box of pudding to the mix. The pudding both enhances the flavor and thickens the batter, making for a denser, more durable cake.
I chose to enhance the Thing inspired spice cake with plain vanilla pudding, the Phoenix inspired vanilla cake with cheesecake pudding (because c’mon, for many years she was the X-Men’s token cheesecake character) and the chocolate Deadpool layer with even more chocolate.
First, you want to make each layer of cake. Mix the batter according to package directions with the addition of one box of pudding powder. (Don’t include any of the pudding’s other ingredients. You just want the powder to thicken up the cake mix.)
That means, for the Thing layer, add in whatever eggs, oil, and water the box instructs, PLUS one large box of vanilla pudding powder to give it a little backbone.
Once you’ve mixed up your batters, aggressively butter three deep, round cake pans. Since I wanted to fit an entire pie inside each cake, I used a trio of 9 inch springform cheesecake pans. If you only have one deep, round pan, you can always bake one cake at a time, let it rest, free it from the pan, and repeat the process with the next cake. It’ll take you a day and a half, but the end result is worth it.
Pour half your vanilla pudding powder infused spice cake batter into a pan. Carefully upend the apple pie on top of the batter. Gently pour the rest of the spice cake over the pie, gently spreading it around with the back of a spoon so the pie is entirely covered.
Repeat the process with the chocolate pudding infused chocolate cake, but this time inserting the cherry pie inside.
For the Phoenix layer, make sure to mix 1 tbsp of green food coloring into the vanilla cake batter. Once that and the thickening cheesecake pudding are mixed in, pour half the batter into a pan, top it with a fully cooked pumpkin pie, and cover the rest with more batter until it’s completely smothered.
Bake all three cakes according to the package directions. Yes, there’s a secret pie lurking within, but trust me, the pie won’t be hurt in the slightest by the cake baking up to its full potential.
Now comes the hard part. Once the cakes are fully baked, let them sit on a counter until completely cooled. If you lose patience and explore too soon, your fragile cakes will completely fall apart on you. Wait for it.
A couple hours later, decant your precious bounty. Now oh so carefully use a breadknife to sever the tops. Cakes naturally puff up to create an oval dome during baking. You want to make a clean, smooth incision horizontally across the top of each cake to ensure you have a flat cylinder.
Once you have three flat, round, cake discs, it’s time for the final assembly.
Place the Thing layer on a durable, heavy serving platter. This cake is surprisingly heavy once finished, so seriously, get out your strongest serving dish. Make sure the pie is facing top end up.
Slather the entire cake with icing.
Center the Phoenix layer on top. Once more, make sure the pie obeys gravity and is thus positioned face-up.
Slather that layer with even more icing.
Finally, put the Deadpool layer on top of the other two. By now, this will come as a shock to you, but you need to slather the entire cake in even more icing.
To prevent the cake from sliding around and getting confused, slide a long, thick bamboo kabob skewer into the middle as a stabilizing anchor. You can remove it just before serving. Use your finger to smooth a little icing over the hole and no one will know any better.
Smear another tub of icing around the sides, making sure everything is covered, smothered, and holds up the illusion of creating a single, monolithic, somewhat gigantic layer cake. Be prepared for screams of shock and joy when someone cuts into it.
If a six pound of cake is more than you and your friends are likely to consume in a single sitting, you can achieve the same effect with boxed cake mix and pre-baked mini-pies. I opted for cherry, apple, and peach instead of cherry, apple, and pumpkin, because that’s what my store had in stock. It never hurts to be practical.
I followed the exact same overall directions, but this time, instead of baking one large pie into one large cake mold, I baked two tiny pies into one large loaf pan.
Pour half the batter into a square sided loaf pan. Now put a fully cooked mini pie at each end, not quite touching the eges of the pan. Cover it entirely with the rest of the cake mix and bake it according to package directions.
Once the cakes have cooled, you can cut them in half and harvest two identical nerdy pies baked inside cakes. In principle, this is a ton easier, but in practice, the tall, narrow towers are incredibly unstable and really want to collapse on you given the slightest provocation. I say go ahead and bake the full sized cherpumple. It’s easier, just as cheap, and even more impressive.
Each dense, pie-infused slice of superhero cherpumple is as intimidating as a skrull invasion so make sure you have take-home containers on hand for people who don’t have the fortitude to finish an entire slice.
Need more Marvel-ous recipes?
Scott Summers Optic Blasted Bread
Punk Storm Cake Pops
Hail Hydra Pull Apart Tentacle Bread
Coulson’s Tahitian Vanilla SHIELD Pull Apart Bread
Captain America’s Breakfast SHIELD
Hulk Smash Sage Loaf
Iron Man Arc Reactor Sweet Rolls
Iron Man Cocktail
Hunger Clobberin’ Orange Monkey Bread
Share our Cookbook Kickstarter Link with all your friends! They’ll get a kick-ass cookbook and you’ll get pages upon pages of free, downloadable CARBS AGAINST HUMANITY cards from our first stretch goal!