Double Chocolate Cake

When I’m scrolling through Facebook I see a lot of people posting recipes with pictures that look mouth watering.  So I ask, “have you made that?”  The most frequent response I get is, “no, but I’d like to.”  And then I’m a little leery.  What if someone accidentally left out a key ingredient?   We’ve all seen those pictures of Pinterest fails…recipes or projects that look easy and amazing and when someone attempts to replicate them they bear little resemblance to the original picture.  We had special friends coming for the weekend and a belated birthday to celebrate so when I saw this picture and recipe for a chocolate cake (that the person who posted had not yet made) I decided to give it a try anyway.  I can’t eat chocolate but everyone LOVED the cake and the icing so my efforts were worth the risk.  And I’ll make it again.  The other good thing about this particular recipe is that it made an 8”x8” cake which was the perfect size.

Ingredients:

1 cup AP flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1/2 cup whole milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup boiling coffee

Preheat the oven to 325.

Whisk together the dry ingredients.

Add the egg, milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minute.

Gently stir in the boiling coffee.  The batter will be thin.  Pour into an 8”x8” pan that has been greased and floured.  Bake for 35 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Icing:

1 cup chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tsp vanilla

This was the intriguing part.  To me.  I’ve never made an icing like this!  Melt the chips in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted.  Once the chips are melted stir in the sour cream and vanilla.  Give it a good hard stir for a creamy consistency.

Viola!  You have icing that sets up beautifully.  Almost the consistency of fudge.  I inverted the cake and put it on a plate to ice but you could do it right in the pan.

I garnished the cake with fresh raspberries.  Slice and enjoy!

NOTE:  The cake is super moist.  I put it in the freezer for awhile prior to icing it…it is much easier to frost.  The recipe called for boiling water (or coffee) and I chose to use coffee.

I’m not sure whether this recipe would work doubled and baked in a 9×13 pan or as two layers.  Some recipes work that way, others don’t.

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Zucchini Bread with Walnuts and Golden Raisins

Zucchini.  The vegetable that people are always giving away after it has inexplicitly multiplied and grown to ginormous proportions in their gardens.  One can only make so many zoodles and side dishes with tomatoes and onions and zucchini boats stuffed with meat and cheese.  But everyone loves zucchini bread and cake and other sweets.  Zucchini makes for very moist bread and cake and no longer even tastes like a vegetable.  Not even a little bit.  That’s probably the appeal to many people.  This bread is an easy quick bread that is at least a little healthy.  The inclusion of nuts and raisins,  ground flax seed, and, of course squash, bolsters that claim.  And cinnamon.  Cinnamon is very healthy!  It is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.  You’ll feel so good after you have a slice or two of this tasty bread.

Ingredients:

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 T vanilla

3 cups AP flour

1/2 cup ground flax seed (or wheat germ)

1 tsp nutmeg

1 T cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup walnuts chopped

1 cup golden raisins

Preheat your oven to 325.

Beat white and brown sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla together.

Sift together flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder and soda, and salt.

Add raisins, nuts, and flaxseed.

Add shredded zucchini and stir until well combined.

Grease 2 loaf pans or 6 small loaf pans.  Use parchment paper if you’d like.  Divide batter evenly.

Bake for 40-60 minutes depending on the size of the pans,  Check for doneness using a tooth pick or cake tester after 40 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

Slice and enjoy!!

NOTE:  Zucchini bread freezes well.  If it lasts that long.  If you prefer you can use dried cherries or pecans.  A little different flavor but it’s all good.

Corn and Shrimp Soup

One of my favorite cooking magazines is Cuisine At Home.  My friend Jane subscribes and I got a gift subscription for my daughter.  There was a recipe in the August 2018 issue for Corn and Shrimp Soup and all three of us gravitated to page 40 and made that soup within a weeks time.  We each interpreted the recipe a little differently which really is what I think cooking is all about.  I consider recipes guides.  Sometimes you have all the ingredients on hand and sometimes you have to punt.  Sometimes there is an herb or spice recommended that you don’t care for (or don’t have) so you substitute. My daughter didn’t have shrimp in the shell so she used chicken broth and omitted the dairy.  My friend also omitted the dairy.  None of us used the husks to make the broth.  I added parsley and green onion.   All three of us got an amazing pot of soup.

Ingredients:

4 ears of corn (shucked and kernels cut from the cobs)

Save the cobs for sure, the husks if you like

1 1/2 pounds large shrimp (peeled, deveined, and diced)

Save the shells

7 cups of water

3 fresh or dried bay leaves

3 sprigs of thyme (I used dried)

1 T black peppercorns

3 T butter

1 1/2 cups diced onion

3/4 cup diced celery

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2 T AP flour

1 cup half and half

1 T white wine vinegar

1 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme (I used parsley and green onion)

Peel, devein and dice the shrimp.  (This is the worst part!)

Put the shells in a large dutch oven.  Shuck the corn and cut it off the cob.

Add the cobs to the dutch oven along with the shrimp peels.

Add 7 cups of water, bay leaves, thyme, and peppercorns.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes or more.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve and discard the solids.  Pour the stock back into the dutch oven and, over high heat, reduce to 3 cups.

While the stock is reducing purée about half of the corn kernels in a food processsor until as smooth as possible.

Dice the onion  and celery.  Set the broth aside and melt 3 T of butter in the dutch oven over medium heat until foamy.  Sweat the onions and celery and cayenne covered until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetable and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.  Stir in stock and puréed corn.  Bring to a simmer.

Stir in half and half just until heated through.  Then stir in shrimp and remaining corn kernels and cook until shrimp is cooked an opaque, about 3-4 minutes.

Stir in vinegar and minced thyme.  (I substituted parsley and green onion).

Add some croutons and a little shredded cheese of your choosing if you’d like.  Enjoy!  I will definately be making this again.

NOTE: Like I mentioned earlier, if your shrimp has already been peeled and deveined you can substitute chicken broth or Better than Boullion has a seafood base that would work.  I can’t speak to the flavor that would be brought out of simmering the corn husks as directed in the original recipe because I did not do that.  And I probably will not do that in the future.  The cobs do, however, add flavor to the broth.

If you’d like you could also add some small diced potato or carrots to the soup.  I would add those when sweating the celery and onion making sure they are a small dice so the vegetables cook evenly.

This soup, like many others, tastes best the second day.  The flavors seem to marry and intensify.

A couple years ago I made a pot of potato soup that I thought was blah.  I am blessed to have a professionally trained chef in our family so I called and asked him how to fix it.  He said to add a hit of vinegar to kick up the flavor and it worked.  This recipe called for finishing with a little white wine vinegar but now I almost always add that to my other soup recipes.

 

 

Saltine Cracker Pie Crust

When we were kids I remember my mom making a mock apple pie with saltine crackers that we swore tasted just like apple pie.  I wonder if I would still think so.  Browsing the internet recently for dessert recipes I came across a recipe for pie crust made with saltine crackers.  I’ve made plenty of  graham cracker pie crusts but this was intriguing.  I’m a fan of sweet and salty so this just seemed like a natural.  I’ll try anything once.  Glad that I did.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers

1/2 cup butter melted

1/4 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.

The preparation part was a little tricky when it came to consistency.  The instructions warned against turning the crackers to dust.  I pulsed them a few times in the food processor along with the sugar.  I poured the crushed, slightly chunky but not powdered, crackers into the melter butter and mixed them the best I could.  They were not holding together like I thought they should so I dumped them, butter and all, into the food processor and gave them a couple more pulses.  I pressed them into the bottom and sides of a 9” pie plate.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool slightly.

While the saltine crust was cooling I made up my recipe for key lime pie except I used regular limes and lemons.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325.

Ingredients:

4 large egg yolks

1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup fresh squeezed citrus (lemon, lime or a combination)

1 T lemon or lime zest

Whisk together all of the filling ingredients making sure they’re thoroughly combined and pour into the slightly cooled pie shell.

Bake for 18-20 minutes.  Cool completel on a wire rack.

I like adding a berry topping.

Ingredients:

3 cups fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)

1/2 cup water

1 T lemon or lime juice

3 T sugar

1 T cornstarch

Stir together water, sugar, cornstarch, citrus juice and 1 cup of the berries.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar dissolves completely and berries burst and soften.  Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 cups of berries.  Allow the berry topping to cool completely and pour over the filling.  I used blueberries and strawberries.

Refrigerate at least a couple of hours or overnight prior to slicing.  Serve with a dollop of whipped sweet cream.

I will definitely make the saltine crust again.  It was a perfect contrast to the sweetness of the pie.  And I’m sure this would be excellent with a chocolate cream filling or a banana or coconut cream,

NOTE:  You might want to play around a little with the consistency.  Next time I will pulse my crackers and sugar a little longer and add the butter while the crumbs are still in the food processor.  This crust would also work well in a springform or tart pan.  Enjoy!

The Golden Triangle

My friend Jane and I were recently in Marquette in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  We went to a farm to table restaurant there that we had visited before called the Marq.  They have excellent food and some very creative cocktails.  One of which was called the Golden Triangle.  I am a fan of gin drinks and drinks that are not sweet so I knew I would enjoy the combination of gin and ginger in the Golden Triangle.  Jane and I both ordered one and we loved it!  I wrote down all of the ingredients from their menu and when we got home we set out to search for the ingredients.  Since we live in a rural area it is a often difficult to find unusual ingredients.  After visiting several liquor stores we finally found everything.  The most difficult ingredient for us to find was the Chartreuse which is a French liqueur made by Carthusian Monks of La Grande Chartreuse near Grenoble France.  It’s made from 130 Alpine herbs (who knew) according to an ancient formula dating back to 1605.  According to the bottle, the secret method of preparation is shared by three Carthusian brothers and is protected by vows of silence.  Whoa!  I also did not know that it is the only liqueur to have a color named after it.  According to the label it has a “totally  unexpected, remarkably beguiling, unique flavor.”  My friend and I both had to take a sip out of the bottle immediately after we purchased it…no worry about germs…it’s 110 proof.  Our facial expressions certainly attested to the taste description of unexpected and unique and perhaps even beguiling.  This is not a liqueur that I would drink by itself save for that sip in the liquor store parking lot.

The other ingredient, Domaine de Canton,  is not nearly as sexy or exotic.  While the liquor stores we visited didn’t carry it (and after being told by a liquor distributor that was in one store that it would be extremely difficult to find and we might have to special order it) we found it on the shelf in our local Meijer store.  This is a ginger flavored liqueur made in France since 2007.  Prior to that it was made in China from 1992-1997.  This liqueur is 56 proof.  It contains syrup made from crystallized Chinese baby ginger, orange blossom honey, and vanilla.

Finally, this drink needs simple syrup infused with ginger.  Which is so tasty I need to find something else to use it on or in.

The glasses are rimmed in a combination of salt and gochugaru.  Coincidentally, before even having our cocktail at the Marq, I had purchased gochugaru at the Spice Merchant in Marquette to use in another recipe.  So here we go.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 oz of good gin

1/2 oz domaine de canton

1/4 oz chartreuse

1 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz ginger simple syrup

salt and gochugaru

Combine all of the ingredients and ice in a shaker and shake, shake, shake!  Pour into cocktail glasses rimmed in the salt and gochugaru and enjoy!  My husband, who claims to not like gin or ginger, enjoyed one of the cocktails and said it was very refreshing!

Thanks to the bartender at the Marq who very graciously gave us the recipe!  Just one more reason to frequent the Marq when we’re in Marquette next!!  And thanks to the salesman at the Marquette Spice Merchant who went into the back room and found the gochugaru for me.

NOTE:  To make the ginger infused simple syrup combine 2 cups of sugar and two cups of water.  Bring to a simmer and stir until all of the sugar is dissolved.  Thinly slice 8 oz of ginger and bring the syrup back up to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow it to steep for at least 30 minutes.

 

Zucchini “Pasta” Salad

One of my favorite cooking magazines is Cuisine at Home; this recipe was in the June 2018 issue.  There are a lot of good recipes and usually the ingredients are things you’d have in your pantry or things that are readily available at the grocery.  Not always.  But usually.  Recently I was on a mission looking for furikake for a salmon poke bowl and  gochujang for a barbeque sauce.  I found gochujang but no luck with furikake.  It’s always a challenge when you have to google the ingredients because you have no clue what they are.  But neither furikake or gochujang  are relevant to this recipe so it’s all good.  It’s fortunate that I’m married to someone who is always willing to try new things.  It makes experimenting with new recipes and mystery ingredients a lot more enjoyable.

Some time ago I purchased a spiralizer which is essential for preparing this dish.  Plus it’s just fun to use!

If you’re not inclined to purchase this kitchen toy I have noticed that spiralized vegetable are now available in the produce sections of large supermarkets so you may be able to pick up zucchini that has already been spiralized.    It just won’t be as much fun.

Friday night we had a vegetarian meal and this zucchini (zoodle) pasta salad was on the menu.  It’s easy and fast to prepare.

Ingredients:

3-4 zucchini spiralized

1 T kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp minced lemon zest

3 T fresh lemon juice

3 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T minced fresh garlic

1 1/2 tsp honey

1 cup torn basil leaves

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

grated pecorino cheese

Toss the spiralized zucchini with 1 T kosher salt in a strainer set over a bowl or plate.  Allow it to sit for about 20 minutes.

Rinse the zucchini zoodles and dry in a salad spinner.

Whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and honey for the dressing.  Toast the pine nuts.

Toss the zoodles, pine nuts, and fresh basil together along with the dressing.  Add the cheese and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy.

This was the first time I’ve made this salad.  I think substituting toasted walnuts or pecans for the pine nuts would be good.  As well as the addition of sliced strawberries or cherry tomatoes which would add color and another layer of flavor.  As always I believe recipes are meant to be personalized.

NOTE:  Salting and straining vegetables like eggplant and zucchini help to remove some of the excess water.  You just need to be sure to rinse them.  Spiralized veggies like zucchini can also substitute for pasta in recipes if you’re counting calories.

 

Roasted Corn Salad

Almost everyone loves corn, especially corn on the cob.  This recipe combines roasted corn with peppers and cheese and a dressing with a little kick.  Awhile ago I bought a cast iron pizza pan (made by Lodge).  This pan makes the most awesome pizza.  It’s non stick.  It retains the heat.  And while it does a great job with pizza it’s also wonderful for roasting vegetables.

Ingredients:

5-6 ears of sweet corn

2 T olive oil

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 jalapeño pepper seeded

1 sweet pepper (red, orange or yellow)

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

juice of 1 lime

dash of smoked paprika

smidgen of cayenne pepper

salt to taste

1/2 cup diced cheese (feta, cotija or cheddar)

1/2 c of cilantro

Brush the corn with olive oil.  Roast the corn under the broiler turning once.  It would probably be even more flavorful charred on a charcoal grill.

Allow the corn to cool while you make the dressing.  Finely dice the jalapeño and the bell pepper.  Mince the garlic.  Remove cilantro from the stems and rough chop.

Dice or crumble the cheese.

Years ago one of my daughter’s friends gave me measuring spoons labeled pinch, dash, and smidgen.  Who knew how handy those would be!?  Just use your judgment if you don’t own these.

Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream and spices and whisk together.  Add the fresh squeezed lime juice and stir in the peppers and garlic.

Once the corn has cooled use a sharp knife to remove it from cobs.

Add the corn, cheese and cilantro and stir to combine.

Add salt to taste and refrigerate for a least an hour before serving.

I served this salad with roast pork loin, asparagus, mashed potatoes and applesauce.  Tonight I’m serving the leftover salad with fish tacos.

NOTE:  If you have extra space in your freezer the corn cobs can be frozen and used later to make a vegetable broth.

As with any recipe you can adjust the spices based on your personal taste.  Diced scallions would also be a nice addition.

Pannukakku or Kropsu (Finnish Pancake)

My daughter and her boyfriend attended a beer festival this weekend in Michigan and stayed with friends.  My daughter sent me a text message this morning and said “our friends are making us pannukakku for breakfast!!!”  I asked her if their friends were Finnish and she said no, they had eaten this pancake when they were visiting the Upper Peninsula.  And they obviously enjoyed it.  I haven’t made this in years.  My Mummu (grandmother) made this all the time and it was one of my favorites.  We always called it kropsu.  She had these special pans with a design on the bottom that she would bake the pannukakku in.  We would put a little butter on it and sprinkle it with sugar or ladle on a little fruit soup that she would make.  Usually from blueberries.  It was even good cold; the pannukakku AND the fruit soup.  So, not to be outdone by my daughter’s non-Finnish hosts, I decided we needed to have pannukakku for breakfast today as well.  It is easy to make and is actually a great breakfast to serve guests. You can make a double batch and feed several people.  Why haven’t I been doing this??

Ingedients:

5 T butter

1 1/2 cups AP flour

2 cups whole milk

5 eggs

1/4 cup sugar

Preheat your oven to 425.

Combine the flour, milk, eggs, and sugar.  Use a blender or handmixer and blend or whip until the batter is frothy.

Put the butter pats in a 9×13 pan and put the pan in the hot oven to melt.  The butter should be sizzling but watch carefully so it doesn’t brown.

Tilt the pan to make sure that the hot butter is evenly distributed and pour in the batter.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  As the pannukakku bakes it will puff up and climb the sides of the pan.

Use a knife or toothpick inserted in the center to make sure that the pancake has set up.  Remove from the oven, cut and serve.

I don’t remember eating Mummu’s with syrup but that’s what we used today.  A couple slices of bacon, a glass of juice and breakfast was perfect!  I think the next time we have guests this is what I’ll be serving for breakfast.

I haven’t posted a Finnish recipe in quite awhile.  I hope that you’ll try this.

Gnudi (Pronounced NUDIE)

I just looked back on my blog and realized that I hadn’t posted anything since I posted the bologna cake I made to celebrate a good friend’s birthday back in early December.  A lot has happened since December 10th  when I posted that and I need to get back on my blog and share my food adventures.  I subscribe to several food magazines, enjoy watching cooking shows (especially Top Chef and the Chew), and I have way too many cookbooks.  Recently I watched an episode of the Chew where Michael Symon made Gnudi with brown butter and sage and I decided I had to make them.  I told my good friend Jane about them and she decided she had to make them too!!  Gnudi is basically a ravioli without the pasta.  The semolina flour that you roll them in forms a skin so you basically end up with cheesy, buttery goodness.  On television they looked really simple.  They whipped them up in like 15 minutes!  And everyone was smiling and wide eyed and ooohed and aaahed as they ate them.  We all love things with only a few simple ingredients and no complicated instructions, right?  Well.  I would not recommend Gnudi!  But I’m still going to share the recipe, the process, and ultimately the edible outcome.

Ingredients:

1 pound whole milk ricotta

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 egg yolk

3/4 tsp grated nutmeg

1 pound semolina flour

For the brown butter:

1/2 cup butter

sage leaves

So here, at the very beginning, is where Michael Symon’s instructions have me scratching my head.  He says to drain the excess liquid from the ricotta by putting it in a fine mesh colander or on paper towel.  As instructed, I put my whole milk ricotta in a mesh strainer.

NOTHING.  There is no excess liquid.  There is no liquid at all.  Michael must get special ricotta not available to me here in Michigan’s wilderness.  So okay.  Mine has been pre-drained.  Next I shredded my Parmesan cheese, separated an egg and mixed the cheeses and egg together along with some fresh grated nutmeg.

For the record Michael did not add an egg yolk.  I decided to do that since apparently I had some very dry ricotta.  Once the cheeses are mixed cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Then, using a small scoop, form the cheese mixture into balls and gently toss in a bowl of semolina flour.  Remember, the semolina flour is supposed to form a “skin” or faux pasta on the gnudi.

Line a 9×13 pan with a layer of semolina flour and put your balls in the pan to rest.  Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight or up to three days.  Rotate the balls a few times.

Day one, after resting uncovered overnight.

Put up a large kettle of salted water and bring it to a gentle boil.  Lower the gnudi ever so carefully into the water and remove them with a slotted spoon once they float to the top.  Well.  They floated to the top but then quickly disintegrated into mush and I was left with a gnudi the size of a small marble.  Fail.

Day two, after resting uncovered 24 hours.

More disintegrated gnudi mush.  Fail.

Day three, after resting a generous 36 hours.

The gnudi finally came out of the water intact.  Success!

I immediately set them into the brown butter with sage leaves and basted them.

We had our first edible sample.  After all the anticipation, on a scale of 1-10, I would rate them a 4.  I can’t imagine making a meal of these.

So I still had about 20 gnudi balls and I need to rethink this.  I happen to have wonton wrappers in the refrigerator so I decided to try cutting the balls in half and making them into ravioli.

Those cooked up beautifully.  Once they floated to the top I transferred them to the brown sage butter and basted them.

Much better.  But in this house we like things with tomato sauce much better.

Day 4, after resting 48 hours uncovered.

I made a red sauce with mushrooms, onion, garlic and pepper.  I cut the gnudi balls in half and made up a nice batch of ravioli.

I served them up with the red sauce and we devoured them.  This was the best use of the gnudi.  At least in this house.

I’m happy to have finally put these ingredients to good use.  Throwing away all that good cheese just seemed wrong.  Will I ever make gnudi again?  I will not.  I will make ravioli again and, quite honestly, the wonton wrappers worked great!  Almost as good as homemade pasta but a lot less work.

NOTE:  Save the rinds from the Parmesan cheese to use in soups and sauces.  They add great flavor!

Bologna Cake

We have a good friend who requested a bologna cake for his birthday.  He sent a photo of a bologna cake that was slice of bologna, cream cheese, slice of bologna, cream cheese and so on and so on.  The sides and top were “frosted” with more cream cheese and decorated with the cheddar cheese that you buy in aerosol cans.

I decided that rather than an ALL bologna cake I would make bologna sandwich spread and use bread for the layers.  Several years ago I made a sandwich cake for a Super Bowl party.  I made that “cake” with ham salad and chicken salad.  It was lovely to look at and tasted ok but I made a mistake and didn’t cut the crusts off the bread making it very difficult to slice. You nearly mangled the whole cake sawing through the crust.  I also learned that sandwich cakes are a real “thing” called smorgastarta, Swedish for sandwich cake.

Cake Ingredients:

2 loaves of a good sturdy bread

2 pounds of garlic bologna

mayo or miracle whip

sweet pickles

onion and celery

Icing Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds of cream cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 c mayonnaise

1 envelope ranch dressing seasoning

The shape of your bread does not matter.  Round, square, rectangular.  Just ensure that it is a good quality, sturdy bread so it doesn’t turn to mush when you add the filling.  Shave off the crusts with a serrated knife.

Grind your bologna and pickles in a food processor.

Small dice your celery and onion and add to the ground meat.   The vegetables give a little crunch to the sandwich spread.  Add mayo or miracle whip until the spread reaches your desired consistency.  Now you can begin assembling the cake.  Spread a thin layer of the icing on each layer and a generous amount of the sandwich spread.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Until you’ve used all of your layers.

When you begin icing the sides and top of the cake do just as you would with a real cake.  Start with a thin layer of icing to seal in the crumbs and then go back and add more icing and smooth out the sides and top.

Decorate your cake with garnishes of your choosing.  I used fennel fronds, carrots, green onions, radishes and miniature heirloom tomatoes.

Voila!  I think my bologna cake is quite beautiful and it was appreciated and enjoyed by the birthday boy and most of the other guests.

NOTE:  It isn’t necessary to use bologna.  Any type of sandwich spread, sliced deli meats, lox, or hard boiled eggs would work.  Adding sliced vegetables like seedless cucumber, radishes, or onion would add some crunch and flavor.  I wouldn’t recommend using tomato slices which would make the bread wet and mushy.

I used the bread crusts to make breadcrumbs which I bag and freeze and croutons for soup or salad.