Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Birthday Meatloaf

I made one of my favorite dinners last night, meatloaf, and it reminded me of one of the funniest memories I have of my mother in the kitchen.

One afternoon my Mom and I watched Martha Stewart (a.k.a. Miss Martha) and she was making our favorite "comfort food", meat loaf. In classic Miss Martha style it wasn't just regular meatloaf, but a birthday "cake" meatloaf! To do this she made two round meatloaves in cake pans, frosted them with mashed potatoes, put corn between the two layers, and decorated the top so that it looked like a carrot cake. It was truly a work of art and my Mom and I were inspired.

Here is the recipe from Miss Martha's website:

Birthday Meatloaf "Cake"

Serves 10 to 12

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 celery stalks (about 1/2 cup), finely chopped
  • 5 pounds ground beef
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and finely grated (about 1/2 cup), peels reserved for decorating
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup cooked green peas
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans with cooking spray; set aside. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and celery; cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl; let cool.
  2. Add beef, carrot, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, oats, ground mustard, salt, and pepper to bowl with vegetable mixture; mix thoroughly with your hands.
  3. Gently press into prepared pans. Bake until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes; carefully remove with a spatula, and transfer to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Tent with foil.
  4. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small pan. Add reserved carrot peels; cook until tender, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.
  5. Place 1 meat loaf on platter; spread 1 cup warm mashed potatoes over top. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons peas. Top with remaining meat loaf. Frost top and sides with 3 cups mashed potatoes. Fill piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip (such as Ateco No. 825) with remaining mashed potatoes. Pipe borders around cake. Using tip of a 1/4-inch plain round tip (such as Ateco No. 10), punch out circles from carrot peels. Decorate cake with carrot circles and remaining peas. Serve immediately.

Since it was around both of our birthdays we decided to make one of these birthday meatloaves. We followed Miss Martha's directions to the T. We decided that we would trump Miss Martha's meatloaf by putting it on one of the many cake stands that I own (this was the beginning of the end!) We had not thought about the fact that meatloaf is naturally juicy, and if it was placed on a cake stand the juices would have no place to go other than the counter and then the floor. As we started to attempt to "frost" the cake the juices began to run. Gretal, Moms daschund, was of course underfoot and began to lick the running juices. The meatloaf was crumbling everywhere and was getting more and more difficult to "frost". At this point we were laughing hysterically, and I said "Mom, just imagine, there are disastrous meatloaf birthday cakes all across the country right now!"

Well, I can never make meatloaf without remembering this hysterical kitchen moment with my Mom. Oh, the birthday cake was amazing, even though it did not look at beautiful as Miss Martha's.

Enjoy ~SJ


rach :) said...

Girly's birthday dinner request, every year, is shephard's pie. Miss Martha's recipe sounds like something I could use to get out of making a real cake on Dec 28!!!! I'll keep you posted :)

FatBodyGuitar said...

Looks like meat...........tastes like cake................must be meatcake!!!

Maybe, Martha was a George Carlin fan as well.......

Maybe Martha's personal cake had the seven words you cannot say on T.V.


Weather Boy said...

Reminds me of a camp where I worked. The cook would make a delicious chocolate cheesecakes, except he would make one out of mashed potatoes as a practical joke. Now, I love mashed potatoes but when you're expecting cheesecake, dark brown mashed potatoes taste pretty horrible. After we all had a good laugh, and threats were slung in the general direction of the kitchen, a real cheesecake was brought out and we joined everyone else in the joy of cheesecake.

FatBodyGuitar said...