This is STILL not a food blog. But...

 I've been bakin' Picaken.

Yes. The incredibly odd "Picaken" has taken a foothold in my house, where we celebrated 3 birthdays in 3 weeks, each calling for its own version of Frankenstein's monster; a cake with a heart of pie.

I already posted a play by play of my first Picaken experience; the diabolical grafting of a blackberry pie and a lemon cake. But people are still asking for the recipe (which I don't have, because I just make it up as I go), so here's a general guideline:

Step 1. WORK OUT. I am not kidding - go burn some calories. You'll thank me later.

Step 2. BAKE A PIE. Really. Any pie will do. If you aren't into baking pies from scratch, then buy one. I promise people will be too filled with horror and intrigue when they see that you've crossbred a pie and a cake to wonder whether or not the pie was fresh or frozen.

Step 3. PUT IT IN A CAKE. Pour about a cup of cake batter into a prepared springform pan, then... dump a pie in it. I really HATE this part. This is the awful, awful moment when you loosen a gorgeous, freshly baked pie from its tin and flip it into cake batter as if it wouldn't have tasted perfectly delicious all by its lonesome.

You may need a drink to get through this. It will mess with your head that much.  

Step 4. THROW THAT SUCKER IN THE OVEN and bake it until it's done. You can check for doneness by any manner of child abuse: shake it, slap it, stab it, poke it with toothpicks. If it's not done when you think it should be, shout "What is WRONG with you?!" at it.  

(If, at some point, it looks like a Gremlin that you fed after midnight, you're doing it right.)

For the love of all things holy, make your own icing. That stuff in a tub may be fine for an ordinary cake, but this is no ordinary cake. This is a Picaken, people, A PICAKEN

But, really, make your own icing. It only takes 5 minutes! (plus 2 and a half hours to clean up the layer of powdered sugar dust that will inevitably cover every surface of your house)

Step 6. WORK OUT.  I am NOT kidding. You're gonna need it. 

Ok. Let's recap: 

You make a lemon pie. You put it in a vanilla cake. You cover it in buttercream.

Then, if you're me, you make a cherry pie. You put it in a chocolate cake. You cover it with buttercream.

And here's a handy tip: If your Picaken doesn't seem rich enough or decadent enough or sickeningly sweet enough -with its pie and crust and cake and frosting - add ice-cream.

I can honestly tell you, I'm Picakened out. I go to bed at night and pray, "Please, God, no more Picaken."

Making it is a real pain in the ass. And eating it is.... making my ass a pain.

But I don't get a lot of opportunity to spoil my family rotten, to do extravagant kinds of things for them. If I can give them something extraordinary on their birthday, something beautiful, something kind of amazing in its own weird way, I'm gonna do it. And I'm gonna do it as well as I possibly can, just to say "I love you. You're worth my time. You're worth a pie AND a cake."

And I hope, when my son's face was bright with candlelight and the rest of us were boisterously singing about how happy we are that he was simply born, he knew that he is loved and cherished, and that he is surround by people who pray that his wish will, indeed, come true.

Even if that wish is for a pie baked into a cake. :)

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HAPPY 14th BIRTHDAY, Dylan!!! 


HAPPY 18th BIRTHDAY, Stephen!!! 

May your wishes come true...

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Have you bought into the "Picaken" trend? It's so weird, right?!