How do you sell dinner to a kid before they even know what it is? One word: cake. That’s right, CAKE.
Whether you’re feeding kids or grown-ups, presentation is everything. And it doesn’t get better than cake! With some creative prep and a standard cake pan, you can feed your kids cake for dinner. Here’s how.
Tap into the brilliance of a classic lasagna for cake-like inspiration. Turn any one of your family’s favorite pasta dishes into a cake by layering the ingredients. Decompose the original recipe and, instead of tossing together the key ingredients, stack them tall in a round pan. Use a heavy casserole dish for saucy combinations, and a springform pan for drier ones. Bind together layers by brushing them with whisked eggs.
On Taco Tuesdays, instead of stuffing crispy shells, layer flour tortillas with browned ground beef, salsa and cheese for a cake-shaped taco bake (add crumbled tortilla chips for extra crunch!). On Pizza Fridays, unroll a can of refrigerated pizza dough and layer it with sauce and your family’s fave pizza toppings for a pizza cake the kids will absolutely adore. You can even bake macaroni and cheese into a cake shape (slice up some ham and crisp it up in a frying pan to use as “sprinkles”!).
Cobble Together a Cake
One of my family’s favorite meals is cobbler. Cobbler anything. Berry cobblers for dessert. Savory cobblers for supper. Meat and chopped veggies just taste better in a cobbler! Find a great cornbread recipe (or use a box mix!) and keep it handy for cake-y dinner adaptations. I like to make a double batch of extra saucy pulled pork. We enjoy it on sandwiches the first night, and use the leftovers to make corn bread cobbler the next night. In a round casserole dish, cover the leftover pork with grilled corn cut from the cob, some slow-cooked greens and several hearty scoops of cornbread batter, then bake until the cornbread’s done and everything’s warm.
Another savory fave at my house is roasted tomato cobbler. In a brownie or cake pan, toss fresh cherry tomatoes with olive oil and fresh herbs, cover them with biscuit dough, and bake until golden brown. Brush each serving with melted butter to make it even more delicious.
Easy as Pie
Homemade pie is my husband’s absolute favorite, so my kids know how special it is. They watch him light up every year when we bring a lattice-topped apple pie to the table for his birthday. So pie is something I can always sell to my crew – it’s an even easier sell than cake!
With homemade dough or store-bought crusts, I craft quick pot pies with leftovers, like grilled beef and veggies, and a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup. Or I’ll spread a layer of raw, chipotle-marinated chicken breast in the bottom of a par-baked pie dough, sprinkle it generously with fresh spinach and Swiss cheese, cover with several eggs whisked together with whole milk, and bake until the center is solid. Or I make spaghetti pie with noodles, Italian sausage, creamy ricotta and lots of grated Parmesan cheese, all in one crispy crust.
From classic layered bakes to savory cobblers and pies, cake is what’s for dinner. Besides being loaded with all the fixings of a well-balanced meal, it’s a guaranteed kid pleaser. Cake, well, takes the cake!