For times when a pie or a cake simply is not enough.

PIECAKEN is a whole pie baked inside of a cake. Any cake. Any pie. PIECAKEN has endless flavour combinations, which is why this web page exists. So when a pie or a cake simply is not enough, turn to this page for recipes, ideas, photos and events dedicated to PIECAKEN. It is a celebration all on its own, baked into one delicious dessert.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Ultimate Holiday Piecaken: Thanksgiving, Christmas and Holiday Cheer All-In-One Epic Dessert

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have been making Piecakens all year long, although forgetting to write about them here. But a few days ago I made an epic Piecaken that combined all the flavours of the Holiday Season in one cake.  It has the pumpkin pie, the gingerbread cookies and the Bailey's holiday cheer in each slice! So we start with a Gingerbread cookie crust, then a pumpkin pie inside an aromatic vanilla cheesecake, topped with a Bailey's milk chocolate ganache. Delicious!

To make one, start one day prior to serving, and do the following:

1. Buy a Pumpkin Pie. Or make one (you can use my pumpkin pie recipe from here). Chill in fridge while you make the other parts.

2. Make a gingerbread cookie crust.
Break up about 10 to 15 medium-large gingerbread cookies. I bought mine at a farmer's market. Either whirl them in the blender to get crumbs, or place in a Ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin or another heavy object like the back of a glass or thermos. Melt 1/3 cup butter and mix with the cookies in a medium bowl. Toss in 2 tbsp. of granulated sugar. Stir until combined. Press into the bottom of a 9" cake pan, lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 350º F. Let cool while you make the vanilla cheesecake.

3.  Bake a double batch your favourite vanilla cheesecake recipe. There is a good one on the inside or back of the Philadelphia cream cheese packages. You can also use this recipe (click here) from this blog. Ensure you add one to two teaspoons of real vanilla to it the batter.

4. Assemble your cake. Pour 1/2 the batter in the bottom of the pan. Remove the pie plate from the pie then place the pie in the center of the batter, then pour the remainder of the batter on top. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350º F. Check it at the 45 minute and one hour points to ensure the top is not burning. If it is getting dark (some ovens do this, this doesn't happen to me but I've seen it happen to others), cover loosely with foil, shiny side facing the cake. It is preferable not to do this, so cover only if necessary. Once baked, let cool for one hour on the stove, then overnight in the fridge.

5.  Place 8 ounces of chopped good quality milk chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Add 1/2 cup Baileys plus 1 tbsp. liquid whipping cream (or coffee cream if that's all you have on hand). Microwave for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If some lumps remain, add back into the microwave for 5 to 7 seconds. Stir again. Once smooth, pour the ganache over the cake. Let chill in the fridge for 1 hour before slicing.

6. Slice with a hot knife. Either pre-slice it next to the sink, running hot water over the knife between each slice (and wipe your knife also with a paper towel between each slice). This will give clean edges and help you get through the ganache without squishing the cheesecake out of the cake. It helps to hold a table knife in your opposite hand to use to hold the ganache up a little on each slide while cutting to prevent squishing (is `squishing` not a professional term? :-) ).

7. Enjoy! (and remember to wear loose pants)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fall Piecakens: Pumpkin Pie in a Cheesecake & Apple Piecaken !

It's that time of year again: it's pumpkin season! So get those pumpkin pies you are making into cake, because let's face it: pumpkin piecaken is the best kind of piecaken. But if you're backyard is anything like mine, and you have too many apples to know what to do with, then it may also be time to make a Fall piecaken treat: apple pie in a cheesecake!

Here are a few photos of my Fall piecakens this year, which are sliced and headed to Buoy's Eatery here on Manitoulin Island. I've also included the links to the recipes here on the blog.
Pumpkin Pie in a Cheesecake:

You can top it with pumpkin-spiced icing (1/2 tsp mace and 1 tsp cinnamon added to your favourite vanilla buttercream icing) or with milk chocolate ganache, like in the recipe I posted here:
Apple Pie in a Vanilla Cheesecake
with Dulce de Leche Caramel Buttercream:
Simply mix a half cup Dulce de Leche caramel sauce into your favourite vanilla buttercream and top the piecaken with dollups of caramel sauce and you have the perfect Fall piecaken!
This one is a regular apple pie (with a pie crust on top), but the recipe is pretty much the same for my Apple Crumble-top Piecaken here:

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Key Lime Piecaken: Key Lime Pie in a Vanilla Cake

This delicious key lime pie is sandwiched between two layers of vanilla cake and topped with Lime-Infused Buttercream icing and shredded coconut. What a perfect summer dessert.

The truth is, this Piecaken is actually a Faken Piecaken - a term created here on Manitoulin Island a few years ago when we held a sort of Piecaken Festival. You see, a 'real' piecaken is the art of baking a cake, with a whole pie inside. But some pies cannot be put back in the oven a second time, like a banana cream pie, chocolate pie, or a key lime pie.  This category also covers off those who want to be lazy bakers, because let's face it, a 'faken piecaken' is a lot easier to make and requires much less cooking time than a regular piecaken!

And so, since I had a request to make a Key Lime Pie inside of a cake, I had to make it the Faken Piecaken way. This was just fine with me, because my cake could bake for just the right amount of time, and the whole thing layered really nicely. In fact, it turned out beautifully, with the key lime pie being the perfect filling for a vanilla cake.

Key Lime Pie

A similar recipe was on the Taste of Home website, but has since been removed before I could write it down.  This is the original link. But then I made the pie a few more times from memory.  The ingredients may not be exactly the same as the original, but my version is working out very well! Also, the whipped white chocolate cream topping is ALL MINE! I made it up on the spot and it was delicious! So even if you don't put this key lime pie inside a cake, it is delicious all on it's own with the whipped white chocolate cream and some white chocolate shavings.  Probably the best key lime pie you will ever eat. EVER.


Filling (may be enough for 1 pie + 1 small pie, or use remaining filling as a custard or pudding)
  • 2 cans of condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. grated lime peel (Key Lime or regular lime is fine)
  • 3/4 cup lime juice (Key Lime or regular)
  • 2 tsp vanilla

  • 2 cups crushed graham wafer crackers (or crumbs)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter (unsalted preferably, but either is fine)
  • 1 tbsp. butter for greasing pan
  • 1 round of parchment paper larger by 2" all the way around than the 8" base of the cake pan
  • 1 8" round cake pan

Whipped White Chocolate Cream Topping (if not putting the pie in a cake, or to top cake with)
Click here for recipe.

Important tools:  At lease two 8" cake pans, but preferably 3 of them. Two 8" pans and an 8" pie plate would be fine too.

Key Lime Pie Instructions:

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 350º F.

1. Prepare your 'pie plate' (8" cake pan) by lining it with a round of parchment paper that comes higher than the pie crust edges will be. Butter the cake pan bottom and sides, then press in the parchment paper and stick it to the pan.  Make cuts all the way around down the sides to get the paper to overlap and lay smooth against the sides of the pan (I'll try to post a picture or video to demonstrate this). Then grease the parchment paper as well.
2. Melt the butter in the microwave for 30 to 40 seconds or in a small saucepan on the stovetop, depending on your preference.
4. Place your crumbs and sugar in a bowl and stir to combine.
5. Pour in the butter and mix with a spatula until the crumb-sugar mix is moist.
6. Press the moist mix into the cake pan and
7. Bake crust for 10 to 14 minutes, until top edges start to brown. Remove from oven and let cool on a cooling rack while you make the filling.

For the filling:

1. Place the sweetened condensed milk in large bowl. Add the sour cream, vanilla and lime juice.
2. Grate your lime zest with a small grater (the style for Parmesan cheese). Then sprinkle in and blend with a hand mixer, blender, whisk of a stand mixer or a submersion blender (basically whatever you have to blend!).
3. Pour into the baked and cooled pie crust.
4. Bake in a preheated 350º F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the very edges of the filling start to bubble.  No browning for this pie! It just needs to stiffen up a bit in the oven.
5. Let cool on a cooling rack for an hour or more, then place in the fridge to chill until cold (about 6 hours). Meanwhile, make your cakes for the Piecaken.

If you decide to make just the pie and want a great topping with white chocolate in the whipped cream (which will hold for days), click here for the recipe on my chocolate blog.

For the Cake:

You can use a packaged cake mix if you like, such as a white cake or an Angel Food Cake baked in 8" pans, or follow the recipe below, which my daughter modified from my own 'secret' recipe that I use for my business.

You need:

White chocolate shavings or shredded coconut for pressing into the sides of the cake.

1. Place the flour, sugar and baking powder in a medium-sized mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer. Lightly beat for 10 seconds to disperse the ingredients. Add the canola oil and beat on medium until it is worked in and dry ingredients are moist (20 seconds), then add the eggs and beat for another 20 seconds to incorporate.
2. Using a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl and blend again on medium high for 10 to 20 seconds until mixture is smooth. Do not overbeat. Add the milk and vanilla extract and beat just until they are incorporated.
3. Pour into two 8" greased and parchment-lined cake pans. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, just until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool on a cooling rack for 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely.

Assemble the Piecaken

1. On your cake serving plate, place one of the vanilla cake rounds. Ice it with vanilla buttercream (see recipe, if needed) and ensure there is about 1/8" to 1/4" of icing.
2. Carefully remove your chilled/cold pie from the pie plate and parchment paper. You can lift the parchment paper out of the pie shell by holding it by the upper edges and then carefully unwrap (you'll see here why it is important to have a well set and very cold pie!). Place the pie on top of the cake round, ensuring it is evenly in the middle.
3. Ice the top of the pie with the vanilla buttercream, again 1/8" to 1/4" thick.
4. Place the second cake round on top. Gently ice the entire piecaken with a thin layer of icing. 
5. Refrigerate for about 20 to 30 minutes to harden the thin layer of icing, then remove fromt he fridge and completely ice and decorate the cake, either with more buttercream or lime-flavoured buttercream (see tip below)*. Press coconut or white chocolate into the outside of the cake while the icing is still room temperature, or grate a little lime rind on top for a pretty colour.

Voila! You have Key Lime Piecaken! Serve within 2 days, otherwise your cake will dry out.  The pie will likely be good for about 4 days.

*Tip for Lime-Flavored Icing:
-flavour your buttercream with lime oil, or key lime pie flavouring, or if you don't have access to flavourings and oils, simply soak large pieces of lime rind in the icing sugar for 24 hours before making your icing - then remove the rind pieces just before incorporating the icing sugar into the icing recipe.

Friday, June 24, 2016

What's up with Piecaken? Plus, an incredible Blueberry Banana Piecaken!

Since the 'piecaken' went viral last Fall, (and consequently, this site and all of the piecaken pictures on it have make the rounds on the Internet), oddly I have been making less piecakens.  Of course, I've done some re-bakes of recipes from this site, and have provided the odd one to a restaurant that I supply with desert, but I haven't made anything spectacularly new in a while.  So with summer tourism season in full swing on Manitoulin Island, I am planning to make quite a few piecakens over the summer months for Buoy's Eatery in Gore Bay.  And perhaps, if there is time, I'll host some sort of Piecaken Week, just to keep the momentum rolling and an excuse to write about it here.

For now, here are some pics and quick 'how-to' of a lovely Blueberry-Banana piecaken that I made last month:

Blueberry Pie In A Banana Cake PIECAKEN

1. Make a blueberry pie (or buy one! Farmer's Markets are a great place to get one right now).  Use my recipe from this post:
2. Make your favourite banana bread or cake recipe. I make one with buttermilk in it - I'm sure a Google search can pull one up easily (this one looks good, but you might want to double the recipe - if there is too much batter, make a few cupcakes or muffins with it).
3. Pour some (about 1/3 of the batter) cake batter into the bottom of a 10" springform pan, then flip your pie over upside down into the centre of the pan (onto the batter layer).

4. Pour the remaining batter around the sides and on top of the pie crust. Give the pan a little shake to smooth it out.
5. Bake in a 350º F oven for about 1 hour to 1.5 hours (basically until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean).
6. Let cool completely (an hour on the counter, then in the fridge for about 6 hours - or overnight).
7. Decorate with vanilla buttercream icing. Use my icing recipe from this post (and try not to get distracted by the deliciousness of the Peach Piecaken while over there):
8. Serve with fresh blueberries on top - it is the season, after all!


Friday, January 29, 2016

Blueberry-Lemon Cheesecake Piecaken - Simple & Fun Recipe!

I was inspired to make this Lemon Blueberry Piecaken when I saw the most adorable blueberry pie at the SuperStore over the holidays. I know pie should really be described as 'yummy', 'tasty' or even 'scrumptious'. But this pie really was adorable. It was only 2.5 inches across, and came in cute single-serving containers. My first thought was: that will be perfect in a lemon cheesecake! The rest just sort of happened.

To make a mini piecaken, you really need a small 5" to 7" cake pan. If you have that, you can make a small piecaken with any small pie inside! If you can't find pies like the one I bought, make the blueberry pie recipe on my blog here and simply cut smaller circles of dough to fit in small/mini pie plates (find these at any grocery store, and even pre-made mini pie crusts in the freezer section!).

For the lemon flavouring, you can use natural lemon oil, if you have it.  Or you can plan 1 day in advance and peel large pieces of lemon rind off a few lemons.  Then soak them in the sugar that you plan to use for the dessert.

Here is how you tackle the rest of it:

To make a shortbread cheesecake crust, mix together the following ingredients:

  • About 10 small shortbread cookies or lemon cookies, broken up
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
Press into a parchment-lined 5" to 7" cake pan until the bottom is covered and up the slides about a 1/2". Bake for 14 minutes in a preheated oven set at 350 degrees F. Remove from oven and let cool for a little while you prepare the filling.

For the small cheesecake, beat together:
  • 1 package cream cheese, softened (warmed in microwave with NO packaging for about 25 seconds)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 lemon (you need the rind only should soak in the agave for 8 to 24 hours)
Then pour half the batter into your prepared cheesecake crust, then place your pie in the middle of the batter, and pour the remaining batter on top. Spread around and bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 to 40 minutes, checking to be sure the middle looks cooked but still lightly jiggly. Stick a knife in the middle to be sure raw cheesecake is not coming out of the center still before pulling it out of the oven.

Cover with marshmallow (Martha Stewart has a recipe here, but simply spread over cake immediately, before it sets into squares. For lemon marshmallows, just add lemon oil or soak your sugar & corn syrup in lemon first). You can simply sprinkle icing sugar over top to prevent stickiness. Or torch it with a chef's torch, like I did. Lemon buttercream would also be a nice topping or white chocolate ganache and coconut pressed into the sides.

I know this recipe is very casual compared to my other recipes. Use the Comments section below if you have questions, and I will try to answer them as soon as I can.

Good luck!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Piecaken Fun!

 Last week, I made two Piecakens as donation for a school Christmas concert. So I gave one of my recipes a festive spin, and made changes to another one to see if I could improve.

The first was the chocolate-raspberry piecaken (click here for the recipe), which is the same recipe that went viral a few weeks back.  And no, that is not a chocolate cherry piecaken, as some people have thought - it's a raspberry pie in that chocolate cake! Although chocolate and cherry are a great combination, I find that larger groups tend to prefer raspberry and dark chocolate because the taste of cherry can turn many people off. So a Raspberry-Chocolate Piecaken, I made, but with one change - I made a crumble-top raspberry pie. It became festive with the addition of a chocolaty Christmas tree and some icing to represent snow. A few shiny truffles and Christmasy chocolates topped it off.

Scroll down to find out how to make a chocolaty Christmas tree!

The second cake was my Apple-Crumble-Top Piecaken recipe - which is an apple pie inside a cheesecake.  This time I made an more traditional apple pie that was fully encased in a pie crust.  And I did not bake the crumble top onto the cheesecake.  Instead, I baked the cheesecake (with pie inside, of course!), then let it cool and pour Dulce de Leche caramel sauce on the top.  I then sprinkled an abundance of cookie crumble on top, that I pre-toasted (and cooled!) in the oven separately.  I felt this would make the cake easier to cut.  It also made it easier to include caramel sauce.  After all, who doesn't love apple pie with caramel sauce??

Here is my recipe for cookie crumble topping...

Cookie Crumble Topping Recipe:

You need:
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup butter, melted for 55 seconds in the microwave
1/4 cup granulated sugar (or brown sugar, but I like chunky organic cane sugar for this)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix together in a small-to-medium-sized bowl.  Using your hands, squish together to make larger chunks or balls (about 1" or less in size). Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, checking them at 10 minutes to be sure they don't burn and simply, toast and brown a little to harden them a bit. Let cool fully, then sprinkle over your cheesecake.

How to Make a Simple Chocolate Christmas Tree:

You can make Christmas trees out of chocolate with no real tools but a Ziplock bag. Simply place melted, tempered chocolate in a Ziplock bag, cut one tiny corner off and squirt the chocolate onto a piece of waxed paper in swooshing motion to make a tree.  If you don't like the look of your tree, you can use a gloved finger to make more swooshing motions to better shape the tree until you get the shape you want (provided the chocolate is still wet and hasn't set).  Make sure you make a tree 'trunk' so you can stick it into the cake.  Let the chocolate tree set in the fridge on the waxed paper for 15 minutes, then tuck it into the top of the cake. Use white icing to decorate around the base of the tree for 'snow'.  You can even decorate the tree with candies or candy cane pieces to make it more festive.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Apple Crumble Pie Inside a Cheesecake Piecaken!

Since my piecaken photos and recipes went viral this week, showing up in all sorts of media publications, including New York Times online, Playbuzz, Distractify, and many more, I thought it might be time to get baking and feed all my readers with another piecaken idea and recipe.

With the winter comfort-food season upon us, I figured it was time to bring in some apple pie.  And since I am all about crumble-top pies and cheesecake, why not put a crumble-bottom apple pie inside a crumble-top cheesecake?  Cinnamon, shortbread, oats, apples and cream cheese all in one sweet cake? Oh yeah.

There is no real pie crust in this cake, so you can make your life simple and buy a store-bought apple crumble if you like. Or you can use an apple pie instead, crust and all.  Make it your own! But if you need a crumble-bottom pie recipe and a crumble-top cheesecake recipe, you've come to the right place. So let's get started!

Recipe: Apple-Crumble Cheesecake Piecaken

Time: 3 to 4 hours, including cooking time. You can do this in one evening if you start early enough - it is best to chill overnight before slicing. Or spread our baking over two days (i.e. make your crumble pie Friday night, bake it inside the cake on Saturday morning. Chill then slice 6 hours later for Saturday evening dinner!).

For the cake:
8" Springform baking pan (this makes about 10 good sized pieces, but if you want to go bigger, double your cheesecake recipe and use a 9" or 10" pan and increase the baking time by 15 minutes).

Cake Crumble Top Ingredients:
1 cup instant oats
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted

Cake Batter & Crust:
About 2 cups of shortbread or oatmeal cookies, broken up (place in a plastic freezer bag, seel, then crush them with a rolling pin or cup while in the bag).
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 and 1/4 packages of cream cheese (250 gram packages), room temperature
2/3 cups + 1/3 cup of sugar
3 large eggs
1 and 1/4 cup sour cream
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Optional: vanilla extract

For the Pie:
Small 6" to 7" cake pan, tart pan or pie pan, buttered and lined with parchment paper.

Pie Crust:
1 cup instant oats
1/4 cup brown or golden cane sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup butter (I used unsalted, but use what you have on hand)

3 apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp. lemon juice


Start by making your crumble-bottom pie (or store-bought apple crumble if you wish).

1. Place sliced apples, lemon juice, cinnamon and brown sugar in a medium bowl and mix together to coat apples. Set aside.

2. Melt your butter in a small dish in the microwave for 40-45 seconds.

3. Place your brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon into a medium bowl and stir together.

4. Pour the melted butter over top of the dry ingredients and stir.

5. Press the mixture into the bottom of your small cake or pie pan and up the .

6. Place your apple slices on top of the crust, in a circular pattern (although not necessary) and once all the apples are in, pour the remaining liquid on top of the whole thing to ensure the apples are coated.

7. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees F.

8. Let the pie cool for 1 hour while you make your cake (or longer if you wish).

Make the Cake Crust and Batter, and Assemble for Baking:

1. Prepare your  springform pan by greasing the bottom and sides, then lining the bottom with a round of parchment paper and buttering the top of the paper too.

2.Place the crushed cookies, melted butter and 1/3 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Mixed together until cookies are damply coated with butter. Press into the bottom of the pan evenly, and slightly up the sides if you have enough cookie crumbs.

3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees F.

4. While the crust is baking and cooling, beat the cream cheese for 1 minute in a stand mixer, stopping the mixer occasionally to stir in the un-softened bits in the bottom.

5. Add the sugar slowly and beat until incorporated (30 seconds).

6. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring between each addition to ensure no lumps form.

7. Add the sour cream and beat just until mixed. 

8. Add the cinnamon, and the vanilla (if using) and stir in.

9. Pour just under 1/2 the batter onto the cake crust.

10. Flip your crumble pie upside down onto the centre of the cake batter in your springform pan.  If it comes apart a little in the process,  don't worry,  just tuck it back together, leaving a ring of cake batter around the edges at least 1" wide.

11. Pour the rest of the batter on top of the crumble pie, and spread around to cover entirely.

12. Place in the oven, and set your timer to bake for 15 minutes (to start!).

13. During the first 15 minutes of baking time, prepare your crumble-top by melting the butter in a medium bowl, then toss in the sugar, oats, flour and cinnamon and stir until moist.

14. When the timer beeps, pull your cake out of the oven (or just move the rack out with the cake on it and leave the oven door open). Sprinkle the crumble top in the middle of the cake. Put your cake back in the oven and add 45 minutes to the cooking time.

15. When 45 minutes is up, check the cake to ensure it only jiggles a little and looks cooked (usually a cheesecake cake lifts/rises around the edges, indicating it is done).  If it looks undercooked in the middle, add 10 minutes. When ready, simply turn off the oven and let the cake cool with the door open.  Then, after 30 minutes, remove it from the oven and let cool for another hour before refrigerating for at least 4 hours before slicing.

Slicing Tip:
Use a hot knife to slice the cake.  Also, hold the crumble or top of the cake up a little with your fingers each time you slice it, so you don't squish all the pie out of the cake with each slice.  If you cut carefully, you will get great results!  Heat your knife with warm water and dry with a paper towel between each and every slice.