The Time I Tried Again To Make A Sausage Cake

You may remember that I once embarked on the most ambitious culinary project that mankind had ever attempted . As a man who likes sausage (settle down, children) and cake I decided to make the world’s first ever Sausage Cake. Unfortunately what began as one of my most exciting projects soon turned into a spectacular disappointment. You know that your efforts at revolutionising fine cuisine are a disappointment when you find yourself in a kitchen wearing a swimming cap and a pair of glasses without lenses while angrily shouting the phrase “Betty Crocker, you slag!” at considerable volume. You can read the story of that original, failed Sausage Cakes elsewhere on this very website.
Undeterred, I vowed to try again and learn from my mistakes to ensure that things would be different. Not only had I learned lessons from that previous disappointment but this time I also had a book named How To Boil An Egg at my side, which I was given as a present after a post on Facebook that was evidently noticed by my keen eyed Grandma. That in itself struck me as some kind of unheralded modern day miracle as Grandma has worn glasses since well before I was born, she was 85 years old at that stage, her memory wasn’t the best and she wouldn’t know the difference between logging onto Facebook and rebooting the Hadron Collider. That book, a guide to food preparation for useless cooks, I thought would negate the need to use Betty Crocker, Aunt Bessie or any of the other charlatans that have conspired to thwart the hitherto uncharted waters of a savoury-sweet confection hybrid that would revolutionise the world food order.
I decided this time that the best way to attempt the cake would be to construct it entirely out of sausage meat. The main lesson I learned from my previous attempt was that sausages and cake mixture don’t mix. In hindsight it would perhaps have been better if the sausages I used had been pre-cooked, but being a bit of a kitchen novice I was unaware of this when I lumped a load of raw sausages into some kind of ‘Victoria sponge’ mixture. It might also have been better had I used those pre-cooked sausages and chopped them up to replace currants in an extension of the ‘fruitcake’ genre but I’ve seen people attempt fruitcakes before, especially in the run up to Christmas. These things take about a month to complete and even with my very limited knowledge of sausages and their wily ways I feel certain that after a month of being left hanging about soaking in alcohol they would be inedible. And that would be a waste of alcohol. And sausages.
I did consider using a sausage meat substitute after a request by a concerned vegetarian friend of mine but, after careful consideration, I decided to use proper sausage meat instead of Quorn (or equivalent). Mainly because even though I’m someone that would make a Buddhist seem barbaric when it comes to animal (or even insect) welfare, I didn’t want the pigs that had been slaughtered and turned into sausage meat to have died in vain. Oh, and that I wanted my Sausage Cakes to taste like sausage and not some mixture of cardboard and Weetabix, which is what Quorn tastes like to me. And so it was that I rang a local butcher and placed an order for 20 sausages worth of sausage meat. That, I believed, should be ample to give me a trial run with cupcake sized Sausage Cakes to begin with and then a proper birthday cake sized one if the cupcake samples came out successfully.
A couple of hours later I went to the butcher’s shop to pick up my ingredients. As Mr Braithwaite handed over my bag, he asked if I was having a barbecue.
“No,” I replied as I took delivery of 1.8kg (3.15lb, if you prefer) of sausage meat, “I’m making a cake.”
As you know by now, I wasn’t being flippant with this response. Yet by the look on the face of the butcher he didn’t see it that way. And, with the possibility that I’d been construed as flippant by a man that earns his living by wielding a meat cleaver, I decided to beat a hasty retreat. If successful, I could congratulate him on his part in my culinary revolution at a later date. Ingredients in hand, it was time to get cracking!
My previous attempt at making sausage cakes saw me take inspiration from celebrity chef Heston Bloementhal after being told that if I was bald and had glasses I would look like him. That, I concluded later, was a contributing factor in the disaster of that first attempt. This time I chose to draw inspiration from another TV chef. A man that has passed into legend more for his alcohol consumption while cooking than for the actual results of his cookery. I head a voice in my head saying, “Tonight Matthew, I will be Keith Floyd!” as if I was on Stars In Their Eyes. Having watched Floyd occasionally on TV whenever he was in action in the kitchen it was obvious to me that being a bit tipsy is good for whatever dish you’re attempting. Or, to be more accurate, being spectacularly trousered to the point where you don’t know if you’re Keith Floyd, Ray Floyd or Pink Floyd is quite obviously the key to kitchen success! I didn’t have any red wine in the cupboard (Floyd’s preferred cooking companion) but I did have some rum and some Um Bongo. And so I as I prepared the required utensils, it was Rum Bongos all the way.
I don’t possess anything to make cupcakes with. I know this because the cups that I have are nothing like the shape of the cupcakes that I have previously sampled. I fondly remember working with Amy Archer, a highly skilled cake maker that actually got orders from the general public. Some of her creations weren’t only delicious but were also decorated to a similar standard to the Sistine Chapel roof. Crucially, none of the cakes that Amy ever brought into the office were shaped like the inside of my Deeside Dragons mug and so I had to find some other ‘utensils’ to assist me.
Once more I was taken back to the chocolate cakes my Nana used to make, which were two sponges, one on top of the other, separated by chocolate cream and with the top one having a delicious layer of chocolate sauce on top. Those were amazing cakes and so I decided that my Sausage Cakes would be loosely based on their construction. Though in my case, the sponges would be replaced with sausage, the cream replaced with ketchup and the chocolate sauce topping replaced with Apple Sauce. Yes, not only would my creation be delicious but it would contain both tomato and apple, thus providing two of your ‘five a day’!
The Sausage Cakes would need to be cooked in an oven and far from being an expert on ovens, I know that strange things go on in there. You put stuff into an oven and it either rises up and ends up three times the size of what you started with or it shrinks to a fraction it’s original size. There doesn’t seem to be any logic for this and I doubt that anybody apart from the most seriously pissed up cooks would know what’s going to happen. And so, suspecting that the sausage meat would grow while cooking, I would need to put it inside some kind of ‘cake tin’ to stop things getting out of control. With my cupcake-sized prototypes I would therefore need some smaller-than-usual ‘cake tins’. I scoured the kitchen and found some empty tuna tins. Having removed the tops and bottoms of these tins, I reckoned them to be the prefect size to create a kind of ‘sausage patty’. One sausage patty on top of the other + filling (ketchup) + topping (apple sauce) = Sausage Cake.
Obviously I wanted to prevent the sausage meat from sticking to these hastily-yet-ingeniously improvised cake tins so I had to lubricate them. I used Vaseline in the previous attempt, which could have been a contributing factor in that disaster, so I decided to use margarine this time. The only other alternative I had around was Olive Oil and I thought the high temperatures may result in unnecessary smoke. Normally, of course, that is a sign that something is well cooked, but I was doing this at 8am on a Sunday and didn’t want to risk the smoke alarms waking the housemates. (By the way, I work nights and so being sozzled at 8am on a Sunday isn’t as irresponsible as it sounds. That, to my body clock, is supper time).
And so, armed with some greased up sides of tuna tins, a pre-heated oven, a vast amount of sausage meat and being considerably wellied, everything was perfectly in place and I set about creating the world’s ultimate mouthgasm.
Sadly for me, How To Boil An Egg didn’t have any instructions on how long to cook such an amount of sausage meat in the oven for and so I had to make do with the old ‘until it’s done’ principal. This is a principal of cookery that I’ve been sceptical about since I was about 11 years old when my brother and I decided to cook bacon for the first ever time. We rang our mother at work and asked how long we needed to cook bacon for and got the treacherous answer of “well, until it’s done.” Mother sounded a bit perplexed at the question, as if it should have been obvious to us. The only trouble on that occasion was that neither my brother nor I had ever cooked bacon before and so didn’t know when to stop cooking it. What resulted was bacon that didn’t look burnt or over cooked but that had a consistency that was somewhere between that of fibreglass and kryptonite. You know that the bacon sandwich you intended isn’t going to taste as good as it should when you’re testing it by whacking it on the worktops of the kitchen and bits of those worktops are getting permanent damage as a result.
With the sausage meat tightly packed into the cake tins and those cake tins on a baking tray, I placed them into the oven and waited. I checked them every couple of minutes until they looked ‘done’. After the top of both cakes looked almost ‘done’ I turned them over. Then when the tops of the other sides looked done I turned them again. And then once more. And after a total cooking time of fifty minutes I was satisfied that I had what looked like two burger shaped sausages. Or, to be more accurate, the top and bottom of a Sausage Cake. They were then left to cool, had their ‘cake tins’ carefully removed and…..they didn’t collapse! They stayed in tact! A truly euphoric moment, given what happened on my previous attempt! I applied a generous helping of the World’s greatest ketchup, Pudliszki (I prefer the Lagodny variety). One half of the cake was placed on top of the other. The apple sauce was placed on top. The recently awakened housemate Matt, a very good chef himself and former Michelin Star restaurant manager, looked on through disbelieving eyes and actually expressed his admiration for what I’d accomplished. He then accepted a slice of the World’s First Successful Sausage Cake.
We both agreed that the prototype was a spectacular triumph! The full birthday cake sized Sausage Cake would now become a reality and the World would never be the same again! I can safely say that inventing the Sausage Cake was truly my second greatest accomplishment (behind winning Chuck-a-Duck on 18th December 2011). Ladies, gentlemen and those identifiying as other, I present to you – The Sausage Cake: