Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Meatcake

After traveling, there's nothing I want to come home to more than a prepared hot meal. Or semi-prepared, as was the case this last weekend, when D. made us a meatcake in celebration of my return -- I had a short visit home to see my parents this weekend. What is a meatcake? How dare you ask! Our lovely friend Sarah tipped us off to the existence of meatcake through this link, which opened up a whole new world of meatloaves for both D and I. I never thought of making a meatloaf in cake form, but it's so great: D loves meat, I love cake -- how could it possibly go wrong?
It couldn't, and it didn't. This was one of the coolest dinners I've had in a long time. The best part? When I got home, the mashed potatoes were done, as were the round meat loaves. I got to frost the cake while we cooked the crescent rolls. I love to frost, so that was a real treat.
We usually use a different recipe for meatloaf (turkey meatloaf with sundried tomatoes and roasted pinenuts is our standard fare) but I guess D decided this was a good recipe to experiment on. He threw just about everything in this loaf, and when he told me the ingredient list, I was shocked. I can't believe how much stuff he fit into that one meatcake! You could use any meatloaf recipe you like to make the cake, but I'll supply this one here, because it really is great. I think the addition of jalapeño pepper really adds a kick to the cake. We adapted Martha Stewart's Birthday Meatloaf Cake recipe to our liking and topped the cake with crescent rolls instead of cut out carrots and peas. Which would have been hella cute, but -- I don't own a "plain round tip" or pastry bags or anything like that, adding to the difficulty of creating a cute cake. But ours turned out pretty rad in the end, I must say.

Meatcake with Mashed Potato Frosting
Preheat the oven to 350º and finely dice 2 medium onions and two cloves of garlic. Cook in 1/2 tablespoon butter until soft, with a healthy handful of red pepper flakes for spice. All the vegetables in this recipe should be diced very small in order to provide a pleasant texture to the meatloaf, by the way -- we don't want no chunky loaf in our house! Add 1 diced jalapeño pepper (seeds and ribs removed, if you're wimpy like me) and 1 stalk diced celery to the pan and cook until everything is soft. In the last three or four minutes, throw in 1 handful diced mushrooms -- too many and the meatcake will get soggy, so be careful. No one likes soggy meatcake.
Set the vegetables aside to cool and mix about 2.5 or 3 pounds of raw hamburger meat with 1 cup of breadcrumbs. You can use ground turkey if you wish, but this is a meatcake, after all, so we went with pure meat. Also add 1 raw grated carrot to the meat -- grate with a zester, microplane, if possible -- you don't want long strips of carrot in your loaf. Add some fresh diced thyme -- about 2 tablespoons or so -- and mix in the cooled vegetables.
In a separate bowl, combine 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of tasty whole seed mustard, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tablespoon of sundried tomato paste. Regular tomato paste would also work here, but we happened to have some sundried just hanging around, so... why not? Add these liquid ingredients to the meat and combine. You want to mix the meat by hand -- we're saving the KitchenAid for the mashed potato frosting, which needs to be as smooth as possible. Besides, this much meat won't fit in my KitchenAid anyhow. Got that? Mix by hand. Literally. Squish around in that raw meaty goodness -- it's not as bad for you as it seems. But what do I know? I always make D do that part!
After the meat mixture is throughly combined, press it very gently into two very-very-well greased cake pans (9 inch is fine.) Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes in your preheated to 350º oven or until the meat is 160º in the center -- you can use a meat thermometer for this. While the meatloaf bakes, prepare your potatoes.
Wash, peel, and cut five large russet potatoes. Rinse them to remove any lingering starch, then put in a pot and cover with cold water. Turn the stove to high and cover. Cook for about 25 to 30 minutes, until a paring knife slides into the potatoes easily. Drain the potatoes and mash with a wire whisk, a potato ricer or masher, or a KitchenAid mixer. Add milk and butter as you mash them until the potatoes are very smooth -- about 1/2 a cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of butter total, although the amount varies depending on the potatoes. You want to add the milk gradually as you mash, in order to get the right consistency. You can, if you desire, heat up the milk a bit before using it to keep the potatoes hot; alternatively, you can mash them right in the hot pot to keep them hot. Once you reach a smooth consistency with no lumps, you don't need any extra milk. If you make them with a little too much milk, simply turn the heat on medium-low and whisk until they firm up.
After your meat reaches 160º in the center, take it out of the oven and let stand in the pans for five minutes. Remove the loafs from the pans and place on a wire rack with a cookie sheet underneath it to catch any drippings. You can tent some foil over the rack to keep the meat hot at this point. Place one loaf on a cake stand (or on a platter, if you're a normal person who doesn't happen to have a cake stand lying around) and frost only the top with a generous layer of mashed potatoes. Top with some ketchup, being careful to leave a large margin around the edges so that the ketchup does not bleed through and make your cake look funny and pink instead of smooth and white. Top with the second loaf and frost the entire cake using a spatula.
You can decorate your cake a variety of ways. Martha Stewart suggests peas and sliced dots of carrot, the blackwidowbakery uses a ketchup glaze to paint a t-bone onto the cake, and we used crescent rolls -- some of which were mini (made from cutting the dough into smaller triangles.) Want cute mashed-potato roses? Fill a ziploc or sandwich bag with mashed potatoes, pressing out any air bubbles, and snip off one of the bottom corners. Squeeze the mashed potatoes onto the cake through the hole. If you know what you're doing, you can make some pretty fancy whirly things on your cake.
You just made a meatcake!! Congratulations!
You better have some company over for this one -- or some room in your fridge. Maybe even in your freezer. It makes a lot of cake.


3 comments:

Neon said...

I can personally attest to the amazing powers of this meatcake. Not only was it delicious and clever, but while we ate it several passing vegetarians and one vegan were instantly compelled at the mere sight of the meatcake to abandon their loathsome unmeatful ways and adopt an upright meat-eating lifestyle, fully sanctioning the consumption of ground-up animals and the violent whipping of potatoes, and forever condemning the sale or possession of all types of meatless vegetable cakes, especially carrot.

Sarah said...

amazing! i am so honored that you guys made it! now i actually have to try it! geniuses! hahaha!

K8 said...

yes, neon. the meatcake will stop even the most rabid vegan in his/her tracks and turn them into a carnivore.
and sarah: thanks for tipping me off to the existence of meatcake. now i will win the war on veganism!
just kidding. veganism is pretty cool... but not as cool as meatcake.

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