I did it. I made meat cake.
There is a lot of meat comin’ atcha.
I remember cruising the interwebs and finding a picture of meat cake. It looks like a cake, but it turns out to be layers of meat covered in mashed potatoes. Kind of like a reverse fake-bake. Boo YA, Son!
So I decided that this weekend, I would tackle the meat cake.
I’m surprised I didn’t injure myself while making this meat cake. It was a long undertaking and took me nearly all day from start to finish. I burned my forearm against a baking rack in the oven making that lemon poppy seed cake. I also have poor knife skills. Albany John can’t stand being in the same room with me when there’s a knife nearby. Usually because I keep using the dull ones (my argument is that I’m used to the knife). I sliced the palm of my hand with a knife making wedding invitations this weekend, too. Albany John when on his usual ‘Why do you do these things?!’ spiel after I started asking if we had any band aids.
Me: Heyyyyy, um, do we have any band aids in the house?
Albany John: If you don’t see them, then no. … Hey, what do you need band aids for?
Me: Um, I’m bleeding…
Albany John: Did you cut yourself?
Me: … … … … … yyyyeeeesssss. Now, are you sure there aren’t any band aids?
Albany John: How bad is it? Are you ok? Oh, Christ, that’s a lot of blood! Why did you do that? You should have used the new (sharp) knife, then you wouldn’t get hurt like this.
Me: I used the new knife. The really sharp one.
Albany John: Oooohhhhhhh.
If you’re wondering, I didn’t find any band aids, but I did duct tape a non-stick bandage to my palm. Slick.
So yea, the meat cake. I was certain I was going to end up hacking off a limb. Thankfully, I went to Hannaford, and they had some all natural, antibiotic and hormone-free ground beef on clearance, so it wound up being only a little more expensive per pound than the GMO’ed beef. I like the “All Natural” kind of beef mainly because I think it just tastes beefier. So yay, flavorful not-so expensive beef. At least if I was going to maim myself I wasn’t going to pay top dollar.
I got a little over 3-4 pounds. I am completely fine with clearanced meats as long as it still looks fine and you plan on using it that day or the next. It certainly saved me some money, that’s for sure. $4.50 to be exact! If it’s grey… I’ll pass kthx!
Right, but then I came home and got to work:
Step 1: Wash off your potatoes. I used 7 large cooking potatoes from the Co-Op for $0.39/lb I wasn’t sure I would need them all, and probably could have done with one less. It was still good to have enough, though.
Step 2: Make your mise. I diced up 2 carrots and a whole onion. I tried doing the quirky cuts to make dicing easier. This is normally the step I would slice my finger on, but I didn’t!
Step 3: Peel and quarter potatoes. Have hands become icky and realize you hardly ever peel your potatoes when you mash them. Hurry as quickly as possible. Chuck in water and cook about 15-25 minutes until they are tender.
Step 4: Soak bread in milk. I grabbed a slice of whole wheat bread Albany John made in his bread machine. I figured it would be pretty dense and heavy. Wow, was it ever.
Step 5: Drain potatoes. Grab your handy dandy food ricer that you got at Mr. Stuff on St Patrick’s Day for $1 and rice all quarters. (I can’t find Mr. Stuff online, but it’s on the side street Pauly’s is on adjacent to Central Ave. It’s only open Fri and Sat.) This step might take a while, because this ricer doesn’t do volume, but it worked quickly. I’m sure a full sized ricer would go quickly, but hey, I bought it for a dollar and it doesn’t take up much space. I also decided to try the ricer so the potatoes wouldn’t get overworked and gluey. I didn’t want plaster on my meat cake.
Step 6: Rice those babies! This is gonna take you about 20 minutes. That’s a LOT of potatoes, after all. Then add milk and butter and mix them up so they’re mashed potatoes. Let them cool.
Step 7: Cook your onions and carrots. Let cool.
Step 8: Empty beef in big mixing bowl and use a meat loaf recipe. No, really. I decided to make meat loaf because I thought that with all the cooking time and handling I would have to do, it would need to be moist and not crumbly. Ground beef can get awfully crumbly and stiff if it is cooked a while.
I used 4 eggs, 3 teaspoons of paprika, 1/2 t dried oregano, 2 cloves of garlic, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, and crumbled in the milky bread. Mix everything really well, and then dump in your cooled carrots and onions.
Step 9: Think, jeeze louise, this is taking a LOT longer than I thought. Shape meat into cake-like form into pans. I used two pans. Bake for ~40 min in 350 oven.
Step 10: Remove from pans. Let cool.
Step 11: Slice each giant patty in half.
Step 12: Put first layer on plate, cover with mashed potatoes
Step 13: Put second layer on top, cover with mashed potatoes
Step 14: Put on third layer. Fill in cracks and empty spaces around edges to increase support. Make sure to take very blurry photo with mashed potato fingers.
Step 15: Put fourth layer on. Wonder at how it looks like a beefy crown.
Step 16: Get your hands covered in mashed potatoes while also covering the rest of the cake. Make sure you are clumsy and fling bits of mashed potatoes all over the kitchen, too. Be very thankful it would have been impossible to do a crumb coating. Move to other part of house for semi-artsy picture.
Step 17: Draw ketchup flowers.
Step 18: Slice open and serve. Disregard lighting at this point, because, dude, you have meat cake.
And there you have it – a photo-tastic meat cake!
This was also a lot less “Woah, meat” than I thought it would be. It’s essentially a large meat loaf covered in mashed potatoes. This would have fed about 12 people easily for a large family supper of sorts. I also like meat loaf. Yum. Tasty. Moist. Mmm.
I gave about 1/5th of this to my friend, because thankfully, she likes meat loaf, and also seemed excited about meat cake. I am so happy she took some, because I don’t think I should be able to go through 3+ pounds of beef in under a week. That can’t be healthy.