While part of me wants to just have the entire post nothing but MEATCAKE over and over, that presents a problem when doing the ingredients list. So hey, here’s a Questionable Gourmet post about how I make Meatcakes! That may sound like a euphemism for something sexual that you have to pay $10 in a Tijuana back alley to see, but really it’s our good friend the meatloaf wearing a fancy coat of mashed potatoes.
There are two main points to it, in that it’s a whole meal delivered in one slice, and the novelty of it looking like a sweet dessert when it’s really a savory loaf.
If you trim the meatloaf like you would a cake, making it flat and smooth, you can get it to really look like a cake. Depending on what shape you bake it in and what shape you cut it, it can either look like sheet cake or even a rounded stack so manly it could only be served at the wedding of two men. Who are also body builders. And cage fighters.
This cake wasn’t one of those. Once it’s done cooking, I’d rather eat it sooner than wait while it gets carefully gussied up, and there’s a certain amount of fun to making such a manly loaf into something that looks like a guy’s first attempt at baking a cake.
But most importantly, it tasted awesome! And you can see how to make one yourself in this step by step guide here on MattBooker.info!
So how to make a meatcake? We should probably start with the ingredients and tools list!
3lbs Ground Meat (half beef, half pork)
2 Cups Bread Crumbs (unseasoned)
1/4th Chopped Yellow Onion (use more if you prefer)
1 Tbs Basil
10 Cloves Garlic (minced)
1 1/2 Tbs Salt
1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes (adjust based on preference)
Cheese Slices (type based on preference)
1 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4th Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Ketchup
Baking Dish (shaped how you want the cake to look, for this I used a casserole dish)
Bowls (various sizes, used for mixing)
Spatula (or smoothing tool from a cake decorating kit)
Pastry Bags (with fancy tips)
Why so many eggs?
Those of you who are experienced cooks are probably gasping at the three eggs on that list. A lot of people say that only one egg is needed for a meatloaf.
Well, a lot of people’s meatloaves are soggy, and fall apart to mush as you’re trying to eat them.
We’re making a meatcake, but we don’t want it to be as soft as cake. This is MEAT. It should be stout enough to hold together, to be tender enough for a pressed spoon but easiest with a knife and fork. That’s how I like my meatloaf, but it’s even more important for a meatcake.
If you’ll notice from the ingredients list, we’re gonna torte this sucker! That’s a fancy term for that layer of creamy filling in between the top and bottom layers of a cake, but here we’re going to torte it with cheese. You can try to do that with soggy, smooshy meatloaf, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Once the ingredients are gathered, it’s time to get started!
Meatcake Step 0 – Preheat Oven
Why Step 0? Because it’s not exactly a step, and yet it is.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Meatcake Step 1 – Mix Wet and Dry Ingredients Seperately
Take the ingredients under the Meatloaf section and mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, and mix the wet ingredients together in another bowl.
Notice how I have the eggs in there next to the meat? I just crack them straight into the bowl, then use a fork to mix them like if you were making scrambled eggs. Once that’s done I use my hands to mix them together with the onions, garlic, and meat. Don’t overmix it, just work it around a bit to get things coated.
For the dry ingredients, just take a fork and mix it around.
Meatcake Step 2 – Mix Dry and Wet Ingredients Together
Exactly like it says.
One thing to note is that I add the dry ingredients in a bit at a time. Maybe 1/4th the bowl, mix, another 1/4th the bowl, mix, and so on. That helps keep the dry ingredients from clumping too much.
Meatcake Step 3 – Mold Into Baking Dish
This step is really easy if you’re making a sheet cake style meatcake. It should work the same for springform pans if you’re wanting to do a round cake, and you don’t even have to grease the pans! Because the beef and pork are going to have a lot of fat cook out, there aren’t any worries of it sticking to the pan.
For this, I just used the biggest casserole dish I could find in the cabinet.
Make sure to press it down as evenly as possible, and press it all the way to the sides of the dish that you’re using. The meat is going to shrink up as it cooks, and pressing it to the edges beforehand will help it retain as much of the shape as possible.
One thing to note about this step is to use a dish where the meatloaf doesn’t come all the way up to the top of the edges. If you do, at least put a pan below it so it will catch any overflow from the fat as it cooks.
Meatcake Step 4 – Bake The Meatloaf
Put the meatloaf in the oven for 45 minutes.
Bake it uncovered. There’s no need to make a tinfoil tent here, as it should cook thoroughly in that time. If you want to be extra sure, once the 45 minutes are up you can use a meat thermometer to check to see if it’s cooked completely.
If you were baking a normal meatloaf, you could also put some of the sauce (and strips of bacon!) on top of it before you put it in the oven, but the sauce would get in the way of nice looking mashed potatoes for the meatcake.
Bacon could still be good, though.
When you pull it out of the oven, it’s going to have a lot of fat bubbling on the top of it.
Don’t pat it dry! That’s delicious flavor, so don’t get rid of it. The fat also acts as an easy way to tell when the meatloaf is cool enough for the next step. Just wait until the fat stops bubbling.
As you can see, it shrank away from the edges and doesn’t have the nice rectangular sheet cake shape. You can correct that with the breadknife, or you can just let its freak flag fly.
Lets fly that flag!
Meatcake Step 5 – Breadknife… FOR MEAT?
Once the meatloaf is cool enough to pick up, but still warm enough you might not want to hold it very long, transfer it over to something that won’t be damaged by hot fat, so long as it lets you be able to slice it into top and bottom halves.
I used an upside down baking pan.
Then take a breadknife and slice it!
Try to get the cut as evenly in the middle as possible, but even if you’re making a fancy cake, people aren’t going to notice a bit of a wobble here and there since it’s hidden until the meatcake is served.
Meatcake Step 6 – Cheese Torte!
Even if the meatcake was cool enough to touch, as soon as you take off that top half there will be a lot of hot steam roiling off. So hey, watch out for that.
But that heat is a good thing, as we can use it to melt the cheese we’re going to use as the main part of the torte layer.
Normally I just cover the whole layer in slices of cheese, but the only cheese I had in the fridge was a somewhat bitter, strong flavored onion and chive cheese. I wasn’t sure how much it would affect the taste, so I used it a bit sparingly. Turns out it was tasty in the meatcake! It’s not something I’d normally use for this, but it would have been fine with a full coating.
“But Matt Booker, why not just add the cheese before it cooks, maybe layering it in the meat when pressing it into the baking dish?”
Thanks for asking, bold line of text!
That’s something you could certainly try, but with all that meat use and heat, it would alter the consistency of the cheese. And even worse than that, if the cheese bursts a hole in the meatloaf it could leak out into the baking dish, leaving only a slight residue where it was. I’ve had that happen on other dishes, and it’s a disappointment to bite into an outer crust only to discover a hollow inside that only vaguely hints at cheese.
I want the full layer of melty goodness, with all the robust flavor of the cheese itself standing out and being distinct from the meat.
And the easiest way to do that is to just layer it on after the meat has cooked, but while it’s still hot enough to melt the cheese.
Meatcake Step 7 – Add Sauce To Torte
One of the reasons to use sliced cheese and not shredded is that sliced cheese is just easier to apply evenly.
Another reason is that you can spread some of the meatloaf sauce on top of it without disturbing the cheese.
Try not to overdo the sauce here, but there’s enough room to experiment. There should be enough sauce to add a sweet tang to the meatcake, but if you do too much you’ll have the layers sliding around instead of sticking.
That was probably a bit much in spots, but it evens out when you put the top half back on.
Once you do that, wipe away any excess from along the edges.
Meatcake Step 8 – Frosting?
The next step is to frost the meatloaf.
For this just take some mashed potatoes and slather it on there, then smooth it out with a spatula or a smoothing tool from a cake decorating kit.
You can use either regular or instant mashed potatoes for this step, but make sure that they are smooth and stiff. Instant mashed potatoes are always smooth, and they’re much quicker and easier to prepare, but regular mashed potatoes can have a more robust flavor.
Meatcake Step 9 – Decorate!
Get out the pasty bags and the fancy frosting tips, then fill them with mashed potatoes!
If you’re using your better half’s cake decorating set, make sure that you clean it thoroughly afterward. :)
For this step, you can do whatever you want to make it look more like a cake. You can also color the mashed potatoes by mixing in melted cheese, crumbled bacon, or some of the meatloaf sauce. Just try to avoid food coloring, as that tastes terrible.
Cherry tomatoes are also a good addition, as they look like cherries and can be pressed into the mashed potato frosting.
I also like to take some of the meatloaf sauce and put it into a plastic baggie, then snip the corner of the baggie and use the sauce to write on the cake. It can get a little sloppy, but the red makes a nice contrast with the white.
Hilarious AND delicious.
Meatcake Step 10 – Slice and serve!
Slice the meatcake like you would a normal cake, then serve it on plates with a knife and fork.
Any leftovers can be reheated in the microwave, and just like a meatloaf, it might be even better the next day!
So that’s how to make a meatcake. I might do a post sometime on how to make a fancy one if you’re really wanting to wow your guests.
I tend to only make these for holidays, as a regular meatloaf with mashed potatoes requires less effort and tastes just as good, but meatcakes are fun to make.
So, dear readers, have you ever had a meatcake? Have you tried this recipe?
Leave a comment and let me know! And don’t forget, you can share this post with your favorite social network using the boxes below!