This was Nik's birthday cake. He didn't want something sweet, so we went with a savory birthday cake. It was actually a big hit- we even put candles in it and sang to him, and nobody missed the cloying icing and stomach aches.
It's a basic meatloaf, covered with a layer of mashed potato "frosting", then shredded cheese on top, and decorated with edible flowers. I used nasturtiums, calendula, dandelion, and borage flowers, all readily available in the garden in late September.
The kids may still request sweet cakes for their birthdays, but this is definitely the start of a new tradition for at least our adult birthdays. You can just use your favorite meatloaf recipe, topped with however you like to make your mashed potatoes, but here's what I did:
This is the ratio for the meatloaf I make, and I tripled it for a 9 x 9" baking dish:
1 lb organic ground beef
1/2 c oat flour (I just run some dry oatmeal in the blender)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/3 onion, chopped
1/2 t salt
1 t dry sage
Mix well until everything is evenly distributed, then press into the pan. Bake at 375 until the edges pull away from the side of the pan. Maybe 20 minutes? Not only do ovens vary, but the dimensions of your pan may vary and whether you double or triple this recipe will change the baking time. Don't fear, though. If you stay nearby, you will smell the meat cooking and know when it's done as it visibly shrinks away from the pan. I never time things, but just stay close to what I'm cooking.
As the meat bakes, you can make the mashed potatoes. You know how to do this. Just wash potatoes and chop them into roughly 1" chunks. Add to boiling water. A few large potatoes ought to be enough to frost this cake, but you can make the frosting as deep as you want, and leftover mashed potatoes are always welcome around here.
As soon as a fork slides into a potato easily, carefully pour out nearly all the cooking water. You can leave a little in the bottom. Add copious amounts of butter and some cream or milk (maybe 1/4- 1/2c of each), plus some salt to taste. Mash together until smooth. Some people prefer using peeled potatoes, but I don't think of that as a whole food, plus peeling potatoes always seems like a complete waste of time.
Spread the mashed potatoes over the cooked meat cake. You can eat it now, or if you want to add cheese, do so, and then broil for a couple of minutes.
To make it special, pick some fresh edible flowers from the garden. Included here are nasturtium, dandelion, and calendula. There's a borage flower as well. You could also use rose petals.
I left these sitting in a bowl of water to keep them fresh while preparing the rest of the cake, and let the cake cool a bit before decorating with the flowers, so they didn't wilt. I also removed the bitter green sepals of the dandelion flowers before using them.
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Meat Cake- A Gluten And Sugar Free Birthday Alternative
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