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Watch How Pastry Chef Zac Young Makes His Showstopping Christmas PieCaken

And learn some handy tricks on building a layer cake at home.

christmas piecaken eggnog cheesecake Photo: courtesy PieCaken Bakeshop

It began as a bit of a joke that got out of hand. What if you made the sweets version of a turducken (a chicken stuffed in a duck stuffed in a turkey)? What you’d end up with was Zac Young’s PieCaken. The initial iteration combined Thanksgiving favorites pecan pie, pumpkin pie, spice cake, cinnamon buttercream and topped off with apple pie filling inspired by the McDonald’s pies Young used to love as a kid. The PieCaken became a sensation.

Now, through his online PieCaken Bakeshop, Young is offering a Christmas version that’s a chocolate pecan pie, eggnog cheesecake and red velvet cake with amaretto buttercream frosting and cherry pie filling on top.

Yet, this whimsical creation comes with a lot of old school French technique. After working at Bouchon Bakery and as pastry chef at Butter in New York, Young went to France to learn from some legendary pastry chefs and chocolatiers. Armed with that technique, he was able to create the architectural feat that is the PieCaken. In this episode of Robb Report Culinary School, Young joins culinary editor Jeremy Repanich to talk through the creation of the PieCaken, while also giving a masterclass on making your own buttercream at home and constructing a layer cake.

Odds and Ends and Additional Links

  • When frosting your cake, Young says disposable pastry bags are the best way to go.
  • Get really sharp, professional-looking sides with a good bench scraper.
  • To smooth between the layers, use a medium-sized offset spatula.
  • If you plan to make layer cakes often, it’s really helpful to have a rotating stand to use while decorating. Young says to make sure to go with a metal one that has enough weight to be sturdy as you work.
  • You can follow Young on Instagram @zac_young.
  • Head to Robb Report’s Instagram page to check out more episodes of Culinary School, including Top Chef winner Mei Lin’s congee and James Beard Award-winner Chris Shepherd’s recipe for bacon chile jam.

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