Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Something meaty this way comes - part 2: The Meateninged

I recently made a cake that was so delicious and awesome that the Food Network announced there will not renew Ace of Cakes for a fourth season since Duff Goldman is too embarrassed to show his round face anywhere on this entire seaboard anymore. It has occurred to me, though, that before I “blog” about this new mind-blowing cake, I need to put something up here about another astounding feat of cookery. Something that has been absent from the internholes for too damn long.

That’s right, meatcake is back!

When we last met meatcake, he was just parts – meat, cheese, cornflakes, additional Pygmalion family secret ingredients.

Actually...

Hold on...

This meatcake was meant to be the vanguard. The idea of baking a cake made entirely of ground beef and frosted with mashed potatoes was much hyped on several websites, including this one. Boasts were made, trash was talked and gloves were thrown down on the ice. At the time, I feared being regulated to the backseat when the actually bake-off occurred, so I secretly procured all the ingredients and made one my own. Ideally, it was meant to help the official contestants, to serve as a blueprint and, as a last result, motivate the bakers into setting an actual deadline. But in the end, I failed. After days of excuses, the discouragement became so great that I didn’t bother posting the second half of the instructions. I expected from the players that when they came, they would come correct. They did not. One of the participants has been scolded in private and the resulting miasma hangs heavy over our home. The other one apparently needs the internets (and their robots) to tell him how special he is. But that means he also needs the internets to tell him how absolutely unspecial and disappointing he is. They both have a chance at redemption but I doubt they will take advantage of it.

Sorry. Let's move on.



When we last met meatcake, he sat quivering in a bowl, awaiting his destined augustness. The dozens (minus one) ingredients had been mushed and mashed into the kitchen’s largest bowl and, based on the G’s colorful Barbie weights, probably weighed about 12 pounds. I say ‘minus one’ because I forget to get the eggs out of the fridge when I was taking stock. At triple the ingredients it meant the recipe was down 6 eggs. Fortunately, it seemed to have little negative effect. In fact, I recently had some of the same recipe with the eggs and I didn’t find it as good. Based on this I can now say that that my version of meatcake is a completely original invention and all future royalties are accordingly owed to me.

Now, there was a bit of a time crunch involved with this entire process. First, I was meeting an old high school friend for drinks and although I told her I was making a cake and might be late, I didn’t mention it was of the hamburger variety. Second, the project needed to be completed and cleaned up before the G got home from her carousing and merrymaking with her Blogibite friends.



So after scooping the goop into three disposable cake pans and putting them in the oven, I realized that the additional baking time required for that much meat could ruin this whole thing. Better get started on the sauce.

A traditional meatcake uses mashed potatoes as frosting, including whatever I assume is the medium between each layer. But I just didn’t have time for that sort of nonsense. Using honey, oregano, olive oil and tomato sauce, I whipped up what I hoped was an acceptable cement for holding the layers together.



It was red and sticky and delicious and tasted like some sort of super-ketchup. But it wasn’t gross like ketchup, which is odd because it’s mostly the same ingredients.



The extra meat in the oven about doubled the cooking time, so keep that in mind if you are making a cake and going on a first date on the same night. When the hamburger started to brown and pull away form the pan, I grabbed the first one out the oven and promptly burned all epidermal matter off my arm from the elbow down. It was just bone and Swatch. I neglected to consider that the meat would sweat off about a gallon of grease, which sits in the pan waiting for an opportunity to scald witless idiots.



While this makes it easier to remove the cake layer from the pan, it’s a damn near deadly maneuver out of the oven. And take care not to spill grease all over the kitchen when trying to pour it from the tray into an empty plastic container of Reese’s peanut butter cups that you had to quickly eat and then feel sick from.



Once removed, the layers stack easily enough, with enough sauce to cover the desired mess. Like a real cake, the meat layers tend to be taller toward the center, so if you have time, shave a few centimeters to allow it to lie flush and not wobble. I prefer adventure, so I just shoved the whole unsteady thing back into the oven hoping that the sauce would set and bind everything together.



20 minutes later…

Since, my recipe was seriously outmatched by the complication involved with this monstrosity, I was expecting at least some level of calamity, besides the ice bath for my arm. But I’ll be damned if this thing wasn’t the greatest triple-tiered hamburger tower I had ever eaten. It was juicy and hot and tangy and meaty. If the White House called, desperate for me to cater Jenna’s wedding reception, I would bake 300 of these things and then sit back and wait for my Presidential Medal of Freedom. It would be me and David Addington and Claude Allen – American Heroes for Time Immortal.



I threw the Stormtrooper in there to help with the scale. You can see that the cake is about 3.5 inches high and 8 inches across. Later that night, when my high school friend asked how the cake turned out, I showed her these pictures and she was confused yet impressed. Her husband, though, wanted to know if I had kids and if not why I had such easy access to Star Wars dolls. It was a proud moment. He’s a doctor. Or at least maybe a nurse.



Epilogue – Upon returning home, my wife discovered the meatcake and was filled with respect, then suddenly followed by shame. After consulting a psychologist, they decided that the best way to work through this self-reproach was to secretly start the frosting process. I walked into the kitchen to discover my cake decorating kit finally being put to a noble use. She did an amazing job using instant mashed potatoes and even added those little piping blobs along the side. It also went along ways toward relieving her considerable guilt.



As good as the meatcake was before the icing, it was scores better with the mashed potatoes. The saltiness added the perfect complement to the sweet tang of the tomato sauce. I think she added a little bit of garlic to the mix which made turned it from knee-buckling good to smoke-from-ears great.



So there you have it. In just a few weekend hours all of your meatcake dreams can come true. Those who bragged on this whole idea when it was first birthed have no reason for not following through on their boasts. They acted like the cocks of the walk. I say they are the cocks of nothing. Especially not cocks of meatcakes.

3 comments:

catherine said...

you're my hero.

Drew said...

Oh sweet zombie jesus. That's a cake.

The Governess said...

Okay, first: i do not use barbie weights. I use NO weights. Second, wow, is our oven ever filthy. Third, oregano and basil icing. Delish.