Monday, October 5, 2009

Super Cute food

You may not know me, but know this. I LOVE cute things. Nothing improves my day or my mood more quickly than looking at, making or petting cute things. My love of cute is almost as strong as my love of food, and it just turns this sarcastic sourpuss into a baby talking fool.


Don't adjust your monitor-- yes, that is meatloaf made to look like a cupcake. I almost wish i had gotten a picture of them lookin all pretty- but seriously we ravaged these little "mupcakes" as i call them- so a picture of the mupcake carnage was apropos. I served my mupcakes with a side of corn and herb biscuits from the Martha Stewart baking book (excellent), and to finish, old fashioned marble cake.

1 pound organic extra lean ground beef
1 stalk celery, cleaned and diced finely
2 med carrots, cleaned and diced finely
1 yellow onion, cleaned and diced finely
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
1/4 cup skim milk
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
2 tsp salt salt and 1/2 tsp ground pepper (1/2 for veggies, 1/2 for meat)
olive oil
1/4 cup ketchup (or catsup-- what is the difference?)

preheat oven to 400

spray a cupcake pan with vegetable spray lightly and set aside. (don't bother using paper or those foil cups-- they get all greasy and gross from the fat in the meat anyway)

in a medium pan on medium high heat, heat enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. when oil is hot, saute the carrots, celery and onion together for 4-5 minutes. add salt, pepper, minced garlic, and saute until golden brown. deglaze the pan with the sherry, and set aside to cool.

in a medium sized bowl, whisk together egg, milk, Worcestershire sauce, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, add cooled veggies (hot veggies will scramble the egg-- not yummy) and stir. Add meat and mix quickly with your hands. don't over mix- which will make the mupcakes really tough, and not in the Roseanne Barr tuff on the outside, soft on the inside kind of way.

Using your fingers- fill the cupcake tins with the meat and veggie mixture and press down in the center of each with your thumb. the mixture should make exactly 12 little meat cakes. Paint some ketchup over the top of each little meat cake (just like mom would do), and bake for 20-25 minutes or until done through. (a meat thermometer should read 165 and no more)

While the meat cakes are cooking- work on your potatoes

Mashed potato "frosting"
6-8 large red potatoes, peeled, and cut into 6 pieces per half a potato
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup skim milk
salt and pepper

starting with cold water and a generous amount of salt, boil the potatoes until they are fork tender. while the potatoes are cooking, add together rest of ingredients (except for salt and pepper) and microwave until hot and mixture is lump free. drain the potatoes, and mash the potatoes in a ricer (much smoother/less gummy), and add milk mixture. mix and season with salt and pepper. scoop the potatoes into a pastry bag- fitted with a large plain or star tip. (make sure there are no lumps- because seriously- i busted my bag wide open because i tried to make those potatoes submit to my will) pipe the potato onto the top of the little meat loafs as you would frosting. at this point you can stick them under the broiler for a minute or 2 for a little fancy, or just sprinkle on a little chopped chives, or a little fancy colored salt like i did- looked just like sprinkles! i used some fancy pink salt my older sister got me a while back.

serve and smile

Marble Cake with Cheater icing
I adapted the Joy of cooking's Buttermilk Layer cake for this.

a little extra butter and flour is needed for greasing pans
2 1/3 cups cake flour
4 tablespoons buttermilk powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp--- if your butter isn't at room temp-- just mix it with the paddle in the mixer for a couple extra minutes- starting on low- and moving to high for a couple minutes.
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup semi sweet morsels
1 cup skim milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and set aside. On top of some parchment paper (for easy mixing) Sift together the cake flour, buttermilk powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a 2 cup measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, skim milk, vanilla and almond extract.

Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and on medium/high speed , beat the butter until creamy- adding a 1/3 cup of sugar at a time until the mixture is light yellow and really fluffy. once its all fluffy, alternate 1/3 of the liquid with 1/3 dry until well incorporated, but don't over mix!

Remove about 1/3 of the batter, and put in a medium bowl. in a microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolate chips 10 seconds at a time and stirring in between until smooth. whisk in the chocolate into one of the bowls, and mix well.

Add vanilla batter to the pans 1/2 in each, an smooth over the batter in the pans. add chocolate in dollops over the top of the batter. using a butter knife, swirl in the chocolate batter with the vanilla batter, but don't over mix. you just want a marbled pattern.

Bake until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, then unmold onto a rack and stick in the fridge to cool completely before frosting.

Cheater frosting
1 stick room temp butter (see above if cold)
1/3 cup unflavored Crisco (your guests will never know- and don't need to either)
1/4 tsp salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 drop almond extract
1-2 tablespoon/s milk
3/4 pound confectioners sugar

beat the butter and crisco together with a paddle attachment until smooth. replace paddle with the whisk attachment, and beat until fluffy. Add salt, vanilla and almond and mix well. turn the mixer to low, and add in confectioners sugar. add in milk until the mixture is smooth and pliable. turn the mixer to high, and beat for 2-4 minutes, or until the mixture is really fluffy. ice cake immediately.


  1. It was so silly and insanely good! thanks for an awesome dinner!

  2. You should have made the marble cake look like a meatloaf=)