This cake has two layers and this post has two purposes. One is a no-brainer: to share the recipe. The other? Well the other reason is a serious case of Mama pride. This cake is what my pickle in the middle son requested for his birthday but that’s not why I’m proud. I’m busting my buttons because he came up with the idea for the cake.
Let me backtrack a bit and introduce you to my guy.
This is Ty.
Not Tyler, not Tyrone, not Tyson. He’s Ty. It’s a Welsh word that means “House”: as in strong like one. And Ty is. He’s the strong, silent type. He has a fast wit, but you have to listen for it. Believe me, it’s worth listening.
Ty is a sports and outdoors nut.
He’d just as soon be hitting home-runs, throwing balls, climbing trees, running laps, slap-shotting, or bicycling at warp speed as he would anything else. Don’t let his elven appearance fool you. He is made of stern stuff. He taught himself to ride his own bike in one afternoon. It didn’t matter that he fell of about fifty times. He was determined to learn it and no gravity was going to stand in his way.
He zigs when others zag. (Note the upturned corners of the mouth during the obligatory Sturgeon Faces at the Sturgeon River pose. He’s the happy sturgeon next to the Grandpa Sturgeon.)
Sports, admiring cats, and reading Harry Potter are three of his favourite past times, but there’s one bigger than anything else. The boy loves to cook.
It gets better, though, because he’s darned good at it. He loves traditional British food (think treacle tarts, shepherd’s pie, toad-in-a-hole, etc…) but he’s an innovator, too. Proof of this came with his birthday dessert request; he wanted me to whip up a gingersnap crusted pumpkin pie with a thick cheesecake layer on top, thus combining all of his best-loved desserts. And here’s the kicker; he wanted to help make it.
Ty and I made gingersnaps together.
We snuck a couple, shared a few with the rest of the family and turned the remaining cookies into crumbs for our crust. He tossed in melted butter and sugar and pressed it into the bottom of a parchment lined springform pan.
We whipped up a small batch of pumpkin pie filling and a medium batch of cheesecake batter.
We did a very convoluted method of pouring both into the pan (which you can skip since it formed its own layers), put the pan in the oven, then sat down with a cup of tea (any Welsh readers will recognize the seriously appropriate nature and wondrous pun of Ty’s love of tea) to wait for the cake to finish baking.
After it was set up, all that was left was the long overnight wait for the cake to chill through and birthday proper to begin. Showing much more patience than his Mum, Ty insisted on waiting until after dinner (shepherd’s pie) to cut into the cheesecake pie. And like Ty’s humour, it was more than worth the wait.
The spicy, deep molasses of the gingersnap crust was the perfect foil to the custardy pumpkin pie and silky cheesecake. The slight hint of orange in the cheesecake amplified the nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon in the pumpkin pie. The just-this-side-of-burnt sugar salted caramel drizzled over the cloud of whipped cream pushed the entire dessert into the stratosphere.
Can you see why I’m about ready to pop with the pride?
Oh, these boys of mine. I think I’ll keep them. Happy Birthday, my Ty guy. You are very loved.