Introduction: Portal Cake: This Cake Is a Lie
I'd just like to start off by saying "This was a Triumph. I'm making a note here: Huge Success! Its hard to overstate my satisfaction."
This cake came around because a friend of mine is having a birthday soon. However something is wrong with the dear girl because she doesn't like cake. I told her to trust me, I'd make her a cake she'd enjoy. Because she's been through other culinary adventures with me, including breaded and deep fried bacon, she reluctantly agreed. Then I took off in a completely different direction. I just figured, While I'm making a meatloaf that looks like a cake, why not make it in the image of the infamous Portal cake? For this cake, ladies and gentlemen, is in fact a lie.
Step 1: Ingredients
2 lbs 80/20 Ground Chuck
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup chopped onions
1 carrot shredded
4 grape tomatoes
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper
1 packet Brown Gravy
1/8 teaspoon corn starch
3 large potatoes (although 2 would have been enough)
1/4 cup milk
6 grape tomatoes
Step 2: Getting Started
First things first. You want to get the potatoes cooking, those will take the longest guaranteed.
Start by washing them off. Give them a rinse, maybe a little scrub with a brush if you have one. We're going to be pealing them but there is no reason to risk getting anything in your food. "Cleanliness is next to godliness", is more true than ever in the kitchen.
Once they're washed go ahead and peel them, then chop them up. Try to keep them all about the same size so they cook evenly. Dump the chopped potatoes in a pot, fill with water till their covered then put on the lid and set them on the stove. Medium should be enough. Now don't forget about these, we'll use them later. And that pot might boil over depending how big it is. I accidentally grabbed one a size too small if you ask me.
Step 3: Making Meatloaf
Meatloaf is actually a very straightforward process.
Take all the ingredients and put them in a bowl, mix by hand.
Now to be more specific. I started by opening up the ground chuck and putting it in the bowl. On top of that I shredded the carrot, added the onions, and half of the breadcrumbs. I took some of the grape tomatoes and chopped them up, cleaning out as much of the seeds as i could. Just give them a little squeeze and pinch off the pulp and seed. I added the tomatoes for texture, but I wasn't after crunchy. I gave it a little mix, added the tomatoes, the rest of the breadcrumbs, the cheese, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. I just broke it up a little to make sure it was a bit more even all the way through.
Step 4: Baking
Now we're getting to the second long stage of the process. I took two cake pans and buttered the bottom and the sides. After that I poured in some of the breadcrumbs and shook them around until the pan was covered. They stick to the butter. This gives the meatloaf a shape and surface thats a little more uniform and cake like. Divide the meat from the bowl in half and press half into each pan, shaking some more breadcrumbs on top.
These two go into a 350 degree oven for half an hour. I know regular meatloaf tend to cook a bit longer, but because the surface to mass ratio is much larger than an average loaf, meaning they're much thinner so the heat doesn't need to penetrate as far, I cut the time.
Step 5: Making the Frosting
Remember those potatoes? This is the perfect time to start fiddling with them again. If they are fork tender, meaning in the pot, you can stab them with a fork and not encounter much resistance, go ahead and take them off the heat. Drain out the water and then mash the potatoes. Once they're broken down fairly well add a little bit of milk. The idea is to have a very creamy texture. If you have an immersion blender give them a buzz. Keep in mind we're aiming for creamy, not soupy, so keep the moisture level down as much as possible. Add just enough milk to get them soft and smooth.
Now if you still have some time before your giant hamburgers come out of the oven it'd be a good time to get your gravy done. Just follow the directions on the brown gravy package although once its finished stir in an extra 1/8 of a teaspoon of corn starch. This is a thickening agent and with how we need the gravy to behave we're gonna need it.
Step 6: Bringing It Together
This part things went really fast. I misjudged my time slightly, and was also at a complete and utter loss of what the heck I was doing. I have never decorated cakes before, but I am an avid fan of the Food Network. Here's how it went for me
When teh patties are done pull them out of the oven, giving them a little time to cool. Take one and place it on the plate or platter you're going to use. Then take a scoop of the mashed potatoes and spread it out on top of the patty, like a layer of frosting in a double decker cake. Place the other patty on top of the mashed potatoes. Even with everything centered and made in circular pans they probably don't match up perfectly. Take a knife and go around the edge, trimming them down so they're even. After that pour the gravy on top, and using a rubber spatula to spread it out best you can. It will adhere fairly well but its not an exact science in my experience.
Once the gravy is on the meatloaf, put the mashed potatoes in a zip top bag. Compress them down into a corner and give the top a twist. With a pair of scissors snip off the corner and you have a make shift piping bag. Put a few dollops of the potatoes on the cake, and then take some more grape tomatoes and put them on top of the potatoes for a frosting and cherry look. Make sure you have that one candle sitting in the middle, and when you light it up remember your favorite companion cube.
Enjoy fooling your friends with this unconventional cake.