The History and Origin of Piecaken – The Dessert Mash-up Invented by Zac Young

November 14, 2023

Piecaken, the whimsical dessert sensation that combines pie and cake into one Frankenstein-esque confection, has become an internet darling and party showstopper over the last few years. But where exactly did piecaken come from and who invented this clever creation?

The culinary mastermind behind piecaken is acclaimed pastry chef Zac Young. While the earliest piecakens were likely homemade creations by intrepid bakers, it was Young who helped popularize and perfect the piecaken, bringing it into the mainstream.

Zac Young’s Story

After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in London, Young began working under renowned chef Daniel Boulud at his flagship Restaurant Daniel in New York City. He later served as executive pastry chef for David Burke at Primehouse in Chicago.

Throughout his prolific career, Young earned numerous accolades for his envelope-pushing, innovative desserts. He dreamed of opening his own bakery focused on nostalgic Americana desserts with a modern twist.

In 2016, Young’s piecaken catapulted him into viral dessert fame and helped make his dream a reality.

The Invention of Piecaken

According to Young, he first had the idea for piecaken back in 2014. The concept was simple – combine two classic American desserts, pie and cake, into one awesome mega-dessert.

After lots of testing and tweaking, Young landed on a stacked crepe cake with whole pie baked into the middle layer as the ideal piecaken construction. He dubbed his creation the “Caketurducken” after the infamous turducken meat dishes.

In November 2016, Young debuted his masterful Caketurducken piecaken on Instagram. The post immediately went viral, gaining over 10k likes. The internet was enamored with this clever mashup of cake and pie layers.

Soon everyone wanted a slice of piecaken. Young’s creation was featured on The Rachael Ray Show, Food Network, Buzzfeed, and more. Piecaken became the hottest new food trend.

Piecaken Today

The viral success of his piecaken allowed Young to open his dream bakery, Huckleberry, in San Francisco in 2017. The shop specializes inYoung’s signature mashup desserts like piecaken along with twists on classic American sweets.

While Young may not have technically invented the first piecaken, he undoubtedly popularized the dessert phenomenon. He introduced piecaken to the masses and helped inspire bakers to create their own versions at home.

These days, piecaken is a staple dessert during the holidays and special occasions. A quick Google search uncovers endless piecaken recipes, tips, and tricks from amateur bakers.

Young’s famous Caketurducken piecaken remains the gold standard. It consists of a brown butter cake, baked apple pie, and honey spice cake stacked together with brown butter cream cheese frosting.

Why Piecaken Became So Popular

It’s easy to see why Zac Young’s piecaken took off so quickly:

  • Nostalgia – Piecaken evokes feelings of nostalgia and comfort. It brings together two old-fashioned desserts that everyone knows and loves. The fusion feels both familiar and new.
  • Novelty – A pie baked into a cake is unexpected and fun. The wow factor makes it perfect for birthdays, celebrations, or just because.
  • Flavor – With cake and pie combined, you get an explosion of flavors and textures in one dessert. Piecaken allows you to double down on deliciousness.
  • Customization – Home bakers can get creative with cake and pie combinations tailored to their taste. There are endless flavor possibilities.
  • Shareability – Piecaken is meant to be enjoyed by friends and family. The unique look and backstory make it very shareable on social media.

Thanks to Zac Young, piecaken has secured its place in the dessert canon as the ultimate mashup. It’s truly the best of both cake and pie worlds!

FAQ About Piecaken

Here are some common questions about piecaken origins and trends:

1. Was Zac Young really the inventor of the first piecaken?

He popularized piecaken, but others were likely experimenting with similar cake/pie hybrids. However, Young created the most famous version that sparked the craze.

2. What desserts has piecaken been combined with besides pie and cake?

Creative bakers have made cookiecakens, browniecakens, cheesecakens, and more. But classic cake and pie is still the best known.

3. What are some popular piecaken flavor combinations?

Apple pie with spice cake is classic. Chocolate pudding pie and vanilla cake is popular too. There’s really no limit.

4. Has piecaken remained trendy since its inception?

It’s remained popular, especially around the holidays. Piecaken has secured its place as a fun, decadent dessert mashup people want to make every year.

5. Where can you find the best piecaken?

Zac Young’s bakery Huckleberry in San Francisco is renowned for its epic Caketurducken piecaken. But homemade ones can be just as good!

Piecaken has proven it has more than just fleeting viral appeal. We have Zac Young to thank for dreaming up and sharing this brilliant dessert mashup with the world. Piecaken is here to stay!

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