Sometimes I have to sniff out my inspiration for recipes like a bloodhound. Other times, it just falls effortlessly right into my lap – like the idea for this fabulous and fun take on traditional meatloaf. These are meatloaf cupcakes. Yes, that’s right. MEATLOAF CUPCAKES! Succulent and flavorful little “cakes” of meat with a rich and buttery mashed potato “icing” piped on top. Are they not adorable? Are they not brilliant? They are! They are! Now, let me tell you how they came to be.
A few nights ago, I was hanging out on Facebook. I’ve told you before how much I love, love, love Facebook. I even love it more than Twitter, because it doesn’t give me eyestrain while trying to read constantly moving, teeny, tiny text or have little boxes popping up in my face every two seconds, distracting me when I’m trying to work. And Facebook also has a “Like” button, so when I want to acknowledge something one of my friends has posted, I can just “Like” it with one click instead of having to actually type something. I know. Sometimes, I can be a lazy sack of you-know-what.
Anyway, as I said, I was hanging out on Facebook when a caterer friend of mine wrote on my wall asking if I had a good recipe for meatloaf cupcakes. Huh? Did she mean cupcakes decorated to look like meatloaf, or meatloaf made to look like cupcakes? So, I asked her. She told me that it was a new catering trend to make individual meatloaves in cupcake tins topped with mashed potatoes. “Hah!” I thought, “What a great idea!” I immediately informed her that I was stealing it for the blog.
Creating these meatloaf cupcakes is pretty straightforward and doesn’t require any special tricks or tips. Just prepare your favorite meatloaf recipe as you normally would, and bake it in a cupcake/muffin tin instead of a loaf pan. The only thing I would suggest is to whip your potatoes with an electric mixer until they are very smooth. This will make piping them onto the meat much easier and will give them the look of real “icing”. I added an egg yolk to my potatoes to give them a little extra richness and smoothness, but that’s totally up to you.
There are many beautiful things about this dish, the first being that it will work with any meatloaf recipe that you happen to love. I have a couple that I am very partial to, and I used one of those. Also, since the meatloaf is baked in individual portions, it takes substantially less time to cook and is easier to serve. I’m thinking that this would be a wonderful addition to any buffet table – like maybe for a Super Bowl party or a child’s birthday party. The cuteness factor is bound to make these “cupcakes” a big hit with the kids.
My meatloaf cupcakes were so popular here at Chez SGCC that I’m already itching to try them again with some tweaks, like perhaps a Moroccan-spiced lamb version. Or, how about taco meatloaf cupcakes? Or, Italian sausage meatloaf cupcakes? The possibilities are deliciously endless! Hmmm. D‘ya think I might be getting just a tad obsessed with these?
Note: This is the meatloaf recipe that I used. Feel free to use one of your own favorites.
For the meatloaf:
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 small onion, grated
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup panko crumbs
2-3 splashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
For the sauce:
1/2 cup chili sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
For the potato “icing”:
3 cups boiled potatoes, chopped into chunks
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Prepare the meatloaf by combining all ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix until incorporated. Don’t over handle the mixture or the meatloaf may be too dense. Chill while you prepare the sauce and potatoes.
Make the sauce by whisking the chili sauce, brown sugar and mustard together until smooth. Set aside.
While the meat is baking, w hip the boiled potatoes together with the egg yolk, half and half or cream and salt until smooth. Stir in the melted butter. Fit a pastry bag with a large star tip and fill with the potato mixture. Set aside, but do not refrigerate.
To assemble the cupcakes, lightly spray a cupcake tin with nonstick cooking spray. Fill each indentation with a small handful of the meat mixture, gently pressing it down until it is completely filled.
Spread a teaspoon of the sauce around the top of each cupcake, and bake for about 30 minutes, until the meat is cooked through. Remove from the oven and turn on the broiler.
Pipe some potato “icing” on top of each cupcake. Put the cupcakes under the broiler for a few minutes until the potatoes are lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
Remove from the oven and enjoy.
Makes 12 meatloaf cupcakes.