How To Make Thanksgiving Piecaken Dessert Cake


Thanksgiving Piecaken Recipe

If you’re looking for the perfect Thanksgiving dessert, then you might want to try this Thanksgiving piecaken recipe. This is the perfect combination of Thanksgiving cake, and pie all into one delicious dessert.

sliced piecaken on Christmas plate

If your family enjoys delicious desserts as mine does, then the dessert table is usually overflowing, and there are so many good options to choose from, it’s so difficult to decide which one to try. This is where the piecaken recipe comes in!

After you finish Thanksgiving dinner, you can enjoy a delicious slice of pie cake, which incorporates several delicious desserts into one, so that you can enjoy your favorite the first time you visit the dessert table, instead of having to go back multiple times.  

What is a Piecaken?

So, what exactly is a piecaken? Perhaps you have heard of a turducken, which is a turkey with a duck inside it. A piecaken is similar. Zac Young is the one credited with the creation of this delicious dessert invention. (Source

The original Thanksgiving piecaken cake, was made with a pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and spice cake, then topped with cinnamon buttercream, and decorated with an oat crumble, and apple pie filling. This really incorporates several different delicious desserts into one. 

What is in a Piecaken

The original piecaken had three main layers. The bottom layer is a pecan pie, the middle layer a pumpkin pie, and the top layer a spice cake layer. It is then frosted in between the layers and covering the entire cake with a cinnamon buttercream frosting. It was then topped with the oat crumble on the sides of the cake and finally finished off with an apple pie filling on top of the cake. 

But really, when it comes to a piecaken, the different layers that you create, can be whatever your favorite Thanksgiving desserts are. The sky is the limit, and nothing tells you what is right or wrong to include when making your piecaken. 

In addition to the original Thanksgiving piecaken, you might enjoy mixing things up, and making an upside-down apple cake rather than a spice cake or using a carrot cake instead of the traditional spice cake. Another delicious yet simple alternative is to use a boxed yellow cake mix or boxed chocolate cake mix. Whatever you prefer.

You can also mix things up with the pie layers. You can use your favorite type of pie in place of the pumpkin or pecan pie layers.

Still, another option is to add a layer of cheesecake rather than the traditional pumpkin or pecan pie layers. It’s entirely up to you, how you enjoy your Thanksgiving dessert, and what combination sounds good to you!

whole piecaken

Picaken Tips and Tricks Before You Begin

Stacking the Layers. Before you begin making your piecaken, consider what you were going to use as the bottom layer, and as the top of the cake. Make sure that your layers will hold up, and not fall apart on you.

It’s important that you put the solid layers near the bottom and the layers that might squish easier, near the top of the cake. 

Pie Layers. Homemade pies can often take a lot of time to make, especially when you are turning your pies into a cake. A great way to avoid taking a lot of time is to use premade pies purchased from your grocery store, or a local bakery, or to take shortcuts like using premade pie dough, and canned pie filling.

One of my favorite options is to use a box of Jiffy pie crust, that just has to have water added to it. This is a great shortcut to help the pie layers go much faster.

Leftover Cake Batter. If you happen to have any remaining cake batter, after your cake is done, you can easily turn it into delicious cupcakes by frosting it with any extra buttercream after your cake is made.

Cool Completely. It’s important if you’re making your layers from scratch, that you make sure each layer has had time to cool completely before you begin stacking and creating your piecaken.

It’s a good idea to allow plenty of time, and even make your layers individually, ahead of time and allow them to chill in the fridge before you begin assembling your cake.

Now that you know what exactly a piecaken is, let’s look at this delicious recipe for a Thanksgiving piecaken.

Thanksgiving Piecaken

Recommended Equipment

Springform pan for cheesecake or cake layers.

Parchment paper to line the pans with.

An electric mixer is not required, but helpful to have.

A large mixing bowl and a medium bowl give you a variety of sizes.

Plastic wrap to keep your cake moist after baking for storage.

Cooling rack for your baked goods to rest on after they are done baking.

Piping bag with your desired tips for decorating the cake if desired.

Serrated knife to help you cut the cake once finished.

piecaken slice removed

The Piecaken Recipe

Pumpkin Pie

Canned Pumpkin Pie Mix. If you buy canned pumpkin pie mix, such as Libby’s easy pumpkin pie mix, all you have to do is add a few additional ingredients to the canned pumpkin pie mix, then bake it according to the can instructions for a delicious pumpkin pie.

Eggs. You will need two large eggs for the canned pumpkin pie mix.

Evaporated Milk. You will also need a can of evaporated milk, to mix in with the canned pumpkin.

Pie Crust (bottom crust)

Jiffy Pie Crust Mix. I like to use a box of Jiffy piecrust mix because it is very easy to make, all you have to do is add water to the mix, to make a delicious piecrust. This is especially useful since you only need a bottom crust for the pumpkin pie.

Cold Water. You will want to have some cold water on hand, then add it to the pie crust mix according to the box’s instructions. 

Please note, if you prefer to make your pie crust from scratch, a fabulous recipe is our 3 Ingredient Pie Crust, using only flour, butter, and water. Check out the full recipe HERE.  

Carrot Spice Cake 

All-Purpose Flour. All-purpose flour can be used as the flour for your carrot cake. You don’t have to use any special cake flour for this recipe unless you really want to.

Sugar. Granulated sugar is the best option for your sweetener in this carrot spice cake.

Baking Soda and Baking Powder. Baking soda and baking powder are both needed as leavening agents to help your carrot spice cake rise.

Cinnamon. Cinnamon will help to season the carrot cake and make it taste fabulous.

Salt. You can use whatever type of salt you prepare for baking. Kosher salt, sea salt, and iodized salt are all good options.

Eggs. If possible, you will want to use a couple of larger-sized eggs for this cake recipe.

Vegetable oil. Vegetable oil is the best oil option for this cake recipe, however, you may substitute it with no oil or olive oil if needed.

Vanilla. Vanilla extract will help to flavor this delicious carrot spiced cake.

Carrots. You can use baby carrots or whole carrots that are peeled, and then shredded into thin pieces.

Pecans. Pecans are a delicious type of nuts to include in your cake layer if desired. However, if you prefer you can completely leave out the nuts, or substitute pecans or walnuts, or another type of nut. 

Pineapple. For the pineapple in this recipe, the best option is actually going to be a can of crushed pineapple. This will give you the best overall flavor, and texture of the cake.

top down on whole piecaken


Cream Cheese. For this cheesecake recipe, you would want to have three blocks that are each 8 ounces. You can use full fat for the best results, or third less fat if needed.

Sugar. You will want to have some granulated sugar on hand for this recipe.

Sour cream. Sour cream is also needed to make this cheesecake recipe. It works best if you use the full fat, although you can use the lower fat option if needed.

Flour. A little bit of all-purpose flour will help to thicken cheesecake. If you do not want to use flour, another alternative would be to use cornstarch.

Vanilla. Including a little bit of vanilla extract will help to flavor your cheesecake so that it tastes delicious.

Eggs. You will need to use four large eggs in order for the cheesecake recipe to turn out. 

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Powdered sugar. For this recipe, you want to use powdered sugar as the base of the frosting.

Butter. Salted butter is also included in this cinnamon buttercream recipe. It’s best if it’s room temperature and slightly soft. 

Crisco. You can use Crisco or another store brand of the same. My recommendation is to use vegetable Crisco or vegetable of the store brand. You can use butter flavored, but it is going to have a slightly different overall flavor and color.

Cinnamon. A little bit of cinnamon added to this frosting recipe will help to give it an overall cinnamon spice flavor.

Milk. A little bit of milk is added to this butter cream recipe to help make it nice and moist. You can add your favorite type of milk. 

How to Make the Three-Layer Cake

You’ll want to begin by creating each individual layer of this three-layer cake. 

Pumpkin Pie

Start with the pumpkin pie layer, and mix up the pumpkin pie filling according to the jar’s instructions. Then either use our provided recipe for a homemade pie crust, use a box of Jiffy piecrust mix, or use a pre-made piecrust, whatever you prefer.

Assemble the pumpkin pie and bake it according to the can of pumpkin pie mix instructions.

Carrot Cake 

Next comes the carrot cake part. Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F. While the oven is preheating for the carrot cake, into a mixing bowl, add all of the cake ingredients. When all of the ingredients are added, mix until combined.

Make sure that the cake pan you are using is approximately the same dimensions as your pumpkin pie. Then thoroughly grease the cake pan before adding your carrot cake batter to the bottom of the prepared cake pan. 

After your carrot cake batter has been added to the cake pan, place it into the oven and bake for approximately 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Place it on a wire rack until it is completely cool.

The Cheesecake

When making your cheesecake, begin by preheating the oven to 300°F. Then take a springform pan, and line it with parchment paper. Make sure to grease the sides and bottom of the pan as well.

To make the vanilla cheesecake, add the cream cheese and granulated sugar to the mixing bowl. Beat on high until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the flour and eggs. Stir until combined. Add vanilla, and sour cream, then stir just until it is mixed in. 

Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared springform pan. Take a larger pan, that the springform pan can fit inside of, and fill it approximately 1 inch with warm water so that it goes approximately halfway up the springform pan. 

Wrap the outside of the springform pan in aluminum foil to prevent the water from seeping into the cheesecake, then add the aluminum foil-wrapped springform pan into the water. 

Place all of this into the center of your preheated oven. Bake for approximately one hour and 15 minutes. 

After the baking time has passed, keep the oven door closed, turn off the oven, and let the cheesecake rest for approximately 30 minutes. Once the first 30 minutes have passed, open the oven door and allow it to stay cracked open for an additional 30 minutes. This will help the cheesecake cool down gradually. 

Then remove the cheesecake from the oven, discard the water bath, and aluminum foil, and place the cheesecake itself in the pan, in the fridge. Let it chill for approximately 6 to 8 hours or overnight.

Make sure each layer of the piecaken has a chance to completely cool or even chill overnight before you begin assembling the cake as a whole.

Making the Buttercream

To make the buttercream frosting, allow the butter to soften to room temperature, then add the butter and vegetable Crisco into the mixing bowl.

Beat on medium to high speed until they are soft and creamy. Then add in the powdered sugar and cinnamon. Also, add in your desired type of milk.

Beat until the buttercream becomes smooth.

Assembling the Piecaken

First, before you begin assembling the piecaken, make sure that everything has had a chance to chill before you even begin assembling each layer.

If the pumpkin pie has a traditional pie crust, you may have to remove part of the outer crust so that it does not become a flaky crust and disintegrate once the bacon is assembled. Please note this may not be necessary if your piecrust does not appear to stick out past the rest of the cake layers.

Begin assembling your cake. Start by placing the carrot cake layer on a serving plate. Next add some frosting on top of the cake, by adding a dollop in the center, then working it towards the outer edges with a knife. Be careful not to pick up the cake crumbles as you work.

Next comes your cheesecake. Carefully remove the springform pan, then place the cheesecake after it has been thoroughly chilled on top of the carrot cake. Add another layer of frosting on top of the cheesecake to finish off the middle layer.

The next layer is going to be an entire pie. If you chose to make pumpkin pie, you can remove the pumpkin pie from the pie plate and carefully place it on top of the frosting from the previous layer. 

On top of the pie, you can add the final layer of the cinnamon buttercream frosting. Then make sure to take frosting and apply it to the side of the cake. The sides of the cake might be a little difficult to frost, and a good trick is to add extra frosting and then work it around as needed.

As a final touch, you can add apple pie filling at the very top if desired, or you can simply frost the entire top inside of the cake and make a pretty border with your piping bag and cinnamon buttercream.

The piecaken should be stored in the fridge or covered and stored in the freezer until you are ready to serve it.

sliced piecaken streight on

Storage for the Picaken

At Room Temperature. The piecaken should be left at room temperature for no more than two hours so unwanted bacteria doesn’t grow. However, the piecaken might not hold its shape for this amount of time, if it is left at room temperature for too long.

For the best storage, you are going to want to keep it in the fridge when it is not being served.

In the Fridge. The whole cake once assembled can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days. It is best if it is covered, or sealed in an airtight container if you are able.


There are so many different variations to this Thanksgiving piecaken recipe. Let’s look at one of the more popular variations of this recipe, as well as some of the mix-and-match options that you might choose from.

Chocolate Pecan Piecaken

The chocolate pecan piecaken is made using a layer of chocolate cake, pecan pie, and of course the traditional pumpkin pie.

You can use your favorite recipes for each of these layers, or you can buy the pies pre-made, and simply layer them together with chocolate cake, whatever your favorite way to go about making this.

Pie Options

There are several different pie options to choose from. As we mentioned the original piecaken was made using pumpkin pie and pecan pie. However, you can choose any of your favorite pies for this tasty Thanksgiving dessert.

Some great pie options include cherry pie, layers of pecan pie, or classic apple pie. You can also top the cake with apple pie filling whether it’s made with a homemade apple mixture, or a can of traditional apple pie filling it’s entirely up to you.

Essentially, you want to choose whatever your favorite pie is to include in your Thanksgiving dessert. You can choose one or more flavors of pie to add to this tasty dessert.

Cake Options 

There are also several different options when it comes to types of cake you might enjoy. This recipe above has instructions for a carrot cake, however, the traditional packaging is made with a spice cake. 

Some other good options are to use an apple upside down cake, topped with apple slices. You could also take an easy way out and use a cake mix of either chocolate cake or yellow cake. Plus, don’t forget about the delicious pound cake. 

Whatever type of cake you prefer, feel free to mix it up to add your favorite to your Thanksgiving cake.

Frosting Options

This recipe is typically made with cinnamon buttercream frosting, but another great alternative would be to use regular vanilla buttercream or to use delicious cream cheese frosting.

If you’re looking for a delicious cream cheese frosting option, then I would recommend checking out a recipe, HERE

The Best Part of a Piecaken

The best part about enjoying a slice of piecaken is that you get to try three delicious Thanksgiving desserts in one place. This is ideal especially when you’re eating a big meal like Thanksgiving dinner because there is just so much food to choose from, it’s hard to just pick one delicious dessert.

What to Serve With

In case you’re looking for something to serve with your Thanksgiving piecaken, you don’t really need anything special, but if you’re looking for something, then serving it with a dollop of homemade whip cream, or vanilla ice cream is always a winner. 

Piecaken Recipe for Thanksgiving

It’s hard to go wrong by making a delicious piecaken dessert for Thanksgiving Day. This dessert takes three traditional Thanksgiving desserts and combines them into one tasty treat. 

Thank you so much for stopping by to check out how you can easily make this Thanksgiving piecaken recipe. Make sure that you adjust the recipe to include your three favorite Thanksgiving desserts. I hope that you’ll give it a try, and I hope you enjoy it!

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Faith Has been cooking and baking for many years! she loves to share her recipes with the world, and hopes you will enjoy them too!

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