“You have to make it,” said Sara.

“I don’t think I do,” I responded.

“You do,” Sara insisted. “I really think you do.”

“But,” I began, “it’s…horrible. It’s three pies baked into three cakes, slathered in cream cheese frosting and then–”

“I KNOW!” Sara interjected. “It’s glorious!”

“But–”

“You can do it! I believe in you!”

“Who would even eat it?”

“Everyone. Everyone would eat it. You have to do it.”

“Well…maybe.”

“Dear god, yes.”

And that, my friends, is how I came to make my very own version of the legendary cherpumple, the turducken of desserts. Originally conceived as three separate pies (cherry, pumpkin, and apple, hence the name) baked into three separate layers of cake (white cake, spice cake, and layer cake), then stacked, frosted, and served to people who were, presumably, no longer living in fear of death, the cherpumple stands as a confounding symbol of all that go both simultaneously right and wrong in a single dessert.

This, of course, is why I had to make one. And who better to make one for than the woman who initially talked me into even thinking of tackling this beast of a baked good. In the interest of modesty, and also because I very much like my friend Sara and wish to do her no harm, my version of the cherpumple is a decidedly more subdued affair. I took three pies and combined them into one (consisting of a layer of pumpkin butter topped with sautéed apples and dotted with sour cherry preserves), buried the pie in a tomb of spice cake, then frosted the concoction in a blizzard of cream cheese delight. It weighed 8 pounds. And, to my utter surprise, it was actually pretty tasty.

If you’re interested in making your own mini cherpumple, or if you’re interested in reading more about the cherpumple, you can find the recipe, as well as many, many more photos, on my food and cooking site, Savory Salty Sweet.

Check out more of my cakes here:

Rum Cake
Mini Cherpumple
Orange Butter Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Devil’s Food Cake with Cream Cheese Icing