An epic four-in-one layered dessert led to a pumpkin purée shortage in New York when it was created in 2015! Created by renowned pastry chef Zac Young, A pie, a cake, a pie, a cake, all bound and covered with a delicious buttercream. Soon a famous television host becomes involved and boom, worldwide fame. Chef Young was named one of the “Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America” in 2015, Now you can make a Chef K version of this famous cake or pie, or cake, or cheesecake, aw it’s just easier to call it a piecaken.
This version will include a Pecan pie as the base, layered with a Ginger ale sponge; an apple pie works as the third layer and finally a New York crust less cheesecake tops it all. Yet we are not done, we will arrange strawberries to crown and brush a clear glaze over. This cake will feed 10-12 so make it for that special occasion. Find all the recipes below, you will want to build the dessert in the order as listed, however for freshness and timing of your product bake them as listed as follows.
Pie Crust for Pecan and Apple Pies (Make twice, do not double)
2 and 1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed (spoon & leveled)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (230g; 16 Tbsp) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/2 cup (120ml) ice water, plus more as needed
Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter on top.
Using a pastry cutter, food processor, or pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until all flour is coated. Mix until pea-sized bits of flour are coated with butter.
Measure 1/2 cup (120ml) of water in a cup. Add ice. Stir it around. From that, measure 1/2 cup (120ml) of water since the ice has melted a bit. Drizzle the cold water in, 2 Tablespoons (30ml) at a time, and stir after each addition. Stop adding water when the dough comes together easily and begins to form large clumps. The dough will feel moist and a little sticky, but not feel overly wet. Do not add any more water than you need to. I always use about 1/2 cup (120ml) of ice water.
Place pie dough on a lightly floured work surface. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form it into a ball. Divide dough in half. Using your hands, flatten each half into a 1-inch thick disc.
Wrap each disc tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 5 days before using in a pie recipe.
When rolling out the chilled pie dough discs, use gentle force with your rolling pin. Start from the center of the disc and work your way out in all directions, turning the dough with your hands between rolls. Smooth out the edges if you notice cracks. Keeping your work surface, rolling pin, and hands lightly floured makes rolling out easier.
Proceed with the pie per your recipe’s instructions.
Homemade Pie Crust (recipe above)
8–9 large apples, cored, peeled, and sliced into 1/4-inch slices (11–12 cups, or 1375–1500g total)*
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (31g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
1 Tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each: ground allspice & ground nutmeg
Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk
The crust: Prepare pie crust recipe.
Make the filling: In a large bowl, stir the apple slices, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg together until thoroughly combined. Set filling aside as the oven preheats. This gives the filling a chance to rest.
Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
Roll out the chilled pie dough: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator). Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9×2-inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Spoon the filling into the crust and discard the leftover juices in the bottom of the bowl.
Finish assembling: Remove the other disc of chilled pie dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough into a circle that is 12 inches diameter. Cover with the 2nd pie crust. Crimp or flute the edges to seal.
Lightly brush the top of the pie crust with the egg wash. Place the pie onto a large baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Keeping the pie in the oven, turn the temperature down to 375°F (190°C) and bake for an additional 30–35 minutes. After the first 20 minutes of bake time, I place a pie crust shield on top of the pie to prevent the edges from browning too quickly.
Allow the pie to cool for 3 full hours at room temperature before serving. This time allows the filling to thicken up. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
1 unbaked Pie Crust above
Egg wash for pie crust: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk or heavy cream
2 and 1/2 cups (250g) shelled pecans (pecan halves)
3 large eggs
1 cup (240ml) dark corn syrup*
1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
The crust: Prepare pie crust.
After the pie dough chills, adjust oven rack to the lower third position and preheat to 350°F (177°C).
Roll out the chilled pie crust onto a lightly floured surface. Remember, when rolling out the pie dough, always use gentle force with your rolling pin. Start from the center and work your way out in all directions, rotating the dough with your hands as you go. Roll it out into a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough in a 9×2 inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it’s smooth. Fold the overhanging dough back over the edge and use your hands to mold the edge into a nice thick rim around the pie. Crimp the edges with a fork or use your fingers to flute the edges. Brush the edges with egg wash.
The filling: roughly chop the pecans– some whole, some lightly chopped is fine. Spread pecans evenly inside pie crust. Whisk the eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, melted butter, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl until combined. Pour over pecans.
Bake the pie for 50-55 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. After the first 20 minutes of bake time, I tent a sheet of foil on top of the pie to prevent the edges from browning too quickly. Remove finished pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. The pie filling will settle as it cools.
Cover and store leftovers at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
New York Cheesecake
16 ounces cream cheese (2 packages) room temperature
3 large eggs room temperature
1 cups sour cream room temperature
4 tablespoon butter room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Tightly wrap 2 layers of aluminum foil around the outside of a 10 inch springform pan covering bottom and sides.
Generously coat inside of pan with butter. Line with parchment paper.
Preheat oven to 350º F. (180°C)
Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
Add eggs one at a time until blended.
Add sour cream and mix until smooth.
Mix the sugar with cornstarch, the add, along with the vanilla and lemon juice, beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Pour into springform pan and place in a roasting pan large enough to prevent sides from touching.
Place into oven and carefully pour boiling water into roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of springform pan. (be careful not to splash any water onto cake)
Bake for 2 hours, or until cake is lightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the water bath (bain-marie.)
Remove from water bath (bain-marie), remove foil and refrigerate completely to completely set before unlatching and removing rim (best to leave chill overnight).
Cake must be well chilled to set properly before using.
Ginger Ale Cake
1 cup butter softened
2 cups sugar
3 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Ginger Ale
1 cup Ginger Ale
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Prepare 2- 8″ round cake pans by buttering and flouring.
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla, continuing to beat well.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In another small bowl, whisk together ginger ale and sour cream.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, combine well, then half of the ginger ale-sour cream mixture, then 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining ginger ale mixture and the final addition of flour.
Divide the batter evenly in the prepared pans.
Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes, until set to the touch and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. (Rotate the cakes halfway through baking time because ovens can cook unevenly and this will cause issues with layering the cake layer.)
While the cakes bake reduce the 1 cup of Ginger Ale for syrup by half. Brush this syrup over the cakes as soon as they come out of the oven.
Cool the cakes in the pan for five minutes before turning out to finish cooling on a cooling rack.
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup Butter, Slightly Softened
8 oz. Cream Cheese, slightly softened
1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
1 heaping tablespoon Lemon Zest
5 cups Powdered Sugar
Juice and zest a lemon. You will need 1/4 cup of lemon juice and 1 heaping tablespoon of lemon zest. For us, that was one large lemon.
Add the cream cheese, butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the mixer. Both the butter and the cream cheese should be “slightly softened” which means it is still cold but has been out of the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
Mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined (about 2 minutes.) Scrap the mixture down from the sides of the bowl before the next step.
Measure 5 cups of Powdered Sugar and add it to the measuring bowl. Sift the powdered sugar to get rid of lumps (if needful) and cover the mixer with a towel during the mixing process to keep the powdered sugar from flying out of the mixer.
Start your mixer (or electric beater) on the lowest setting and keep it on low until the cream cheese/butter and sugar are incorporated (about 30 seconds). Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and then increase the speed to medium-high and mix for another 30-45 seconds so the frosting gets light and fluffy.
Taste your frosting to determine if it needs more lemon zest, you should put it in the refrigerator for an hour or so, that will help the butter and cream cheese firm up and the lemon flavor to develop.
5.30 oz sugar
5.30 oz water
0.25 oz powder gelatin
1.25 oz cold water (for gelatin swelling)
Bloom the gelatin in cold water by sprinkling it over the water and giving a quick stir.
Bring to a boil the water and the sugar to make a syrup. Let the syrup cool down to 140°F and stir in the gelatin.
Let the mixture cool before brushing on the top. If the glaze hardens, make it fluid again by microwaving slightly and brush the cake with it. The remaining glaze can be kept in the fridge for several days.
1-1½ quarts (Liters) of fresh berries (we are using strawberries)
For sliced berries: Thinly slice 1 quart of strawberries. Using a paring knife, slice the strawberries lengthwise to between ⅛-inch and ¼-inch thickness. Using whole berries are great as well.
Place strawberries on the cake with their points facing out. Starting from the outside perimeter of the cake, place a ring of strawberries (flat-side down) with the points facing out.
Create overlapping circles until the cake is covered. Continue layering concentric rings of strawberries around the cake, overlapping each layer slightly, until you reach the center. The strawberries begin to stand up as you create more rings, giving the cake height and dimension. Use a strawberry end piece for the center.
Paint a thin layer of the glaze (above) over the strawberries. If required, heat ¼ cup of the glaze in the microwave until soft. Using a pastry brush, paint a thin layer of preserves over the strawberries to give them a nice sheen.
Be sure the cake is well chilled, use a very hot knife to cut through for ease of slicing.