My sister-in-law claimed to hate meat loaf. She also never had it and refused to eat it. My brother couldn’t even cook it at home for her to try. It’s not like she doesn’t like ground beef. She eats burgers and other meat dishes. How can you not like meat loaf? Or even more shocking, how do you hate it? It’s the classic mid-western American meal. What was her problem? It was my goal to investigate this, and then later educate her on the greatness that is meat loaf.
After some I did some intense questioning, it sounded like part of her problem was the terminology. The word “loaf” being combined with the term “meat” wasn’t so appetizing. That’s fair. I can understand that. If you hear of some of the bologna-based cold cuts that end with “loaf” they sound pretty gross. Things like pimento loaf, pickle loaf, cheese loaf, and football loaf. Football loaf? Is that even a thing? Yes, yes it is. But what is it? I honestly have no idea, and something tells me if I did I wouldn’t want to eat it anyway.
So, anything ending with “loaf” (that’s not bread) sounds unappetizing. I’ll give her that. But when presented with the opportunity to try meat cake, she was very open to that idea. Does meat cake really sound that much more appealing? She thinks so. If me making her a meat cake gets her to try and experience the glory of meat loaf, then so be it. Meat cake it is!
When it came to making and assembling this, I went about it just like I would making a real cake.
I made two meatloaves each baked in a 9” round cake pan. For this recipe I went with a tried and true basic meat loaf recipe. I used four pounds of beef in total and five pounds of potatoes.
While the meat was cooking, I made mashed potatoes. Technically, they are more of a whipped potato. I like them creamy and dense with no big chunks of potato in them. This is important because the potatoes will be the frosting. I used the electric hand mixer to whip it good. Of course they were loaded up with butter and salt as well. If you’re making meat cake, why hold back?
After the meat pans came out of the oven and cooled a bit, I transferred them to a platter for “decoration.” I’m not sure why I put those in quotes, because that’s exactly what I did. I decorated this meat the same I would a real cake. I covered the whole thing with a layer of potato “frosting,” and then used my cake decorating tips to pipe the potatoes on to create the finished decorative edges. Finally, I topped it off with a decorative ensemble of green peas. Trying to make to mashed potatoes look fancy is kind of tricky. The peas really added some much needed color. After I garnished with some fresh rosemary and grape tomatoes, the cake was ready to be served.
It’s essential to move quickly while decorating, otherwise the meatloaf will cool off too much. I did pop it back in the oven for ten minutes to get it nice and hot. But you can’t do that for too long otherwise the potatoes and the meat will dry out. And just like real cake, dry cake is no good!
This two layer meat cake was dense, intense, and delicious! Paired with some fresh green beans this was a top notch meal. Top-notch enough that my sister-in-law-meatloaf-hater approved and has given my brother the green light to make meatloaf for dinner in the future. Big win all around!
Now I just need to find a way to make a cake look like a meatloaf to serve for dessert.
- 2 lbs ground chuck
- 2 lbs ground sirloin
- 1 large egg
- 1 medium onion
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 red pepper
- 1 cup panko
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp thyme
- For the sauce:
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 TBSP honey
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- For the Potatoes:
- 5 lbs of potatoes
- Milk, butter, salt and pepper to desired consistency and flavor.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Roughly chop onion, pepper, and carrot. Run through a food processor to make finely chopped pieces.
- Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
- Evenly distribute between two 9" circle cake pans.
- Bake at 350 until an internal temperature of 155 degrees. Approximately between 30-45 minute.
- While the meat is baking, start boiling the potatoes.
- When the meat is done, let cool for 5-10 minutes.
- While the meat is cooling, whip the potatoes and prep your frosting decorator bags. I used ziploc bags with a decorative frosting tip attached.
- Drain the grease from the cake pan before you flip the cakes out. Then start to assemble your cakes.
- One layer meatloaf, one big layer of whipped potatoes, another layer of meat, then another layer of potatoes.
- Smooth the potatoes on the top and sides like you would a cake. Then add your decorative edging. Now it's time to eat!