Please welcome former MLK'er and now our guest, Jenn McKinlay.
Jenn amazes me. She is the successful New York Times selling author of two series, the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries and the Library Lover’s mysteries. She also writes under the names Lucy Lawrence and Josie Belle...which, if you can count, means there are possibly four new titles out at any one time! Her newest release is RED VELVET REVENGE coming in July 2012. I had the delightful pleasure to read this book! Delicious.
Welcome, Jenn, from Avery. :)
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Writers, I’ve noticed, are an obsessive lot. We get thoughts stuck in our heads and we become practically non-functional until we have exorcised the ideas that are ailing us, which could be anything from figuring out a particularly challenging scene, a reluctant character or a twisty plot point. For me, this sort of obsessiveness also spills over into my daily life, which my family has learned to tolerate as one of the perks of living with me. I like to think I’m teaching them flexibility but probably, they are really learning to humor the crazy lady.
Anyway, my latest obsession is with the cherpumple. The whattle? Yes, you heard me right. The cherpumple. It is a three layer -- CHERry pie in chocolate cake -- PUMPkin pie in carrot cake -- apPLE pie in spice cake -- combination that leaves one equally dazzled and repulsed. It was developed by Charles Phoenix as dessert’s answer to the turducken (you know the turkey stuffed with a chicken stuffed with a duck).
Amazing, no? Now, as much as I wanted to tackle the entire cherpumple, I was mostly obsessed with the cherry-chocolate layer and so, I decided to give it a go. Charles doesn’t use chocolate as the cake for his cherry pie. I saw that somewhere else and decided it was definitely the way to go. My fellow librarian Jordan, the one who introduced me to the cherpumple, was leaving our library for a promotion. I decided to make it for her good-bye party. Needless to say, the pressure was on not to screw it up!
I am happy to report that it was easy peasy just as Charles Phoenix’s video demonstrates. I baked the pie, Mrs. Smith’s classic cherry, according to the box’s directions the night before and let it cool overnight. The next day I got out my trusty springform pan and made my cake batter. I used a boxed mix, Pillsbury Chocolate, not wanting to invest too much time if it proved disastrous. I put a half inch of batter in the pan then I carefully removed the pie from its aluminum pan and put it in the cake batter. I poured the rest of the batter over the pie and put it in the oven to bake according to the mix’s instructions. I set the timer for 35 minutes and then tested it. It was still gooey on top so I gave it another ten minutes. Ding! It was perfect.
Then I made a batch of vanilla buttercream. One cup of butter, 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 3 tablespoons of milk. When the cake cooled, I carefully took it out of the pan and then frosted it and we were ready to go.
I took the cake to the party and was very nervous to see what it would like when we cut that baby open. It was also a lot heavier than a standard cake, and I was equally relieved that I didn’t drop it. Well, I have to say, “SUCCESS!” The cake set up perfectly around the pie and much to my surprise it was delicious.
If I do it again, I will serve the cake-pie with ice cream. The pie part of it seemed to demand it.
And that, my friends, is the cherpumple. Well, at least the “cher” part of it. Someday soon I am going to try the pumpkin and the apple layers, but I do think I will have to work up to putting all three together at once. It is stunning though, isn’t it?
Thanks for letting me bring my insanity to the Mystery Lover’s Kitchen! You ladies are the cherpumple of my eye. Yes, that’s a good thing. Happy reading and happy eating!
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Jenn McKinlay is the New York Times best selling author of the Cupcake Bakery mysteries and the Library Lover’s mysteries. She also writes under the names Lucy Lawrence and Josie Belle. You can contact her via her website: JENN MCKINLAY.