Yep, you read that right: This post will teach you how to create a cake made of cold cuts. I made this for a meat-loving coworker who celebrated his birthday this week. It's easy to accomplish, and it's fantastic for a carnivore who doesn't have much of a sweet tooth. This would also be a hit at a Super Bowl party as a build-you-own sandwich station.
Meat cake, people. Meat cake!
What you'll need:
Two empty plastic containers, one big and one small — I asked a bakery employee at my local grocery store if I could have an unused plastic cake container, and he was happy to oblige. This was a great choice, because it's sturdy and gives you an easy way to transport your creation. For the top layer, I used an empty whipped cream container. You can make do with whatever you have on hand, but keep in mind that the "cake" will follow the contours of the containers.
Cold cuts — I chose ham slices for the bottom layer and roast beef slices for the top layer, thinking that the color difference would make for a more pleasing "icing" composition. In addition, I picked up some hard salami to make meat candles.
Toothpicks — These stabilize the meat candles. You won't need them if you're skipping this part.
Step 1: Layer the ham slices, overlapping at roughly the same interval, all the way around the bottom container. Be sure to keep layering when you get back to your starting point until you can cover the entire container, then tuck the end slices under the beginning slices so you have an unbroken ring.
Don't worry about the empty space in the center; you'll cover that with the second container.
Step 2: Remove the lid from the smaller container, invert it, and place it on top of the base. Layer the roast beef on it in an aesthetically pleasing fashion. Pro tip: The roast beef was much harder to work with than the ham. The slices weren't as uniform in size, and they tended to tear. You have to handle it carefully. In the end, I wrapped two slices around the container, then draped a third one over the top. Less artful, but it did the trick.
Step 3: Roll the hard salami slices into tubes, then secure them with toothpicks. These both anchor the rolled meat and position them into a tripod that lets them stand upright. I also trimmed the bottoms of the "candles" to make them uniformly flat.
Step 4: Enjoy your meat cake! You could also decorate this in a number of ways: make flames out of cheese for the candles, pipe on a design in mustard or mayonnaise, decorate it with olives or cherry tomatoes or mini sweet gherkins. Really, the condiment sky is the limit.
Step 5 (optional): When you're finished and the cake is encased in plastic wrap for safe transportation, leave one of the empty cold cut bags out so your cat will get his head stuck in it while investigating what left behind that delicious smell.