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Meatloaf Cupcakes

The finished meatloaf cupcake. A layer of meatloaf with mashed potatoes and a ketchup glaze.

The finished meatloaf cupcake. A layer of meatloaf with mashed potatoes and a ketchup glaze.

I enjoy having fun in the kitchen. It’s a place where I can unwind, de-stress and at the end of my time served, I can come up with something delicious. That’s not always the case, but so long as I set out to have some fun, even my failures can provide me with inspiration and a few laughs (once I get over my initial disappointment).

Playing with your food is totally acceptable with meatloaf cupcakes.

Playing with your food is totally acceptable with meatloaf cupcakes.

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of meatloaf. I’m still searching for that “perfect” go-to recipe. Yet in my attempts to find one that I liked, I found inspiration from a cupcake kick I had been on. Why couldn’t you turn meatloaf and sides into a “cupcake”? Obviously the sweet treat and meaty concoction wouldn’t go well together, but there was no reason the medium in which cake is served couldn’t enhance my adventure to find the perfect meatloaf. A complete meal in an individual serving size.

Even individual cupcakes can make an elegant and surprising addition to the dinner table.

Even individual cupcakes can make an elegant and surprising addition to the dinner table.

The basis of this technique/recipe is pretty easy. You choose your favorite meatloaf recipe. It can be gluten free, turkey, or even vegan. As long as there is fat in your meatloaf, you don’t even have to grease your pan. From there you chose what pan you want to cook your meatloaf in.  Initially I chose a muffin tin, but forgot I had these great individual cast iron crocks. I can even envision making appetizer versions in my mini muffin pan, or even a meatloaf sheet cake. See, this is way more fun than a traditional meatloaf.

Start with your favorite meatloaf recipe. Pack it into your favorite muffin tin or cupcake pan.

Start with your favorite meatloaf recipe. Pack it into your favorite muffin tin or cupcake pan.

Once the meatloaf has had time to cook to a safe temperature, or cook for about 1/2 of the time called for in the recipe, then it’s time to frost. (Do keep in mind that individual sized meat loafs will cook a lot faster than the traditional sizes). I chose a simple mashed potato, again one of my favorite recipes. You would do the same in choosing your frosting. If you wanted a healthier option you could even mash some carrots, cauliflower or root vegetables.  Think of what you would traditionally serve with your version of meatloaf and let your inspiration take you away. So long as your kids are old enough to recognize a hot pan, they could absolutely help you frost the “cupcakes.”

Make up a batch of your famous mashed potatoes, or even use store bought ones. Load into a piping bag.

Make up a batch of your famous mashed potatoes, or even use store bought ones. Load into a piping bag.

Pipe layers of mashed potato onto the meatloaf.

Pipe layers of mashed potato onto the meatloaf.

Once frosted, it’s time to choose your glaze. Most meat loafs use ketchup or tomato soup. They will caramelize in the oven creating a crunchy but sweet note to your finished creation. Again it will all depend on the meatloaf and frosting you have chosen, but consider trying barbecue sauce, balsamic glaze or even honey. 

Add your favorite ketchup or tomato glaze.

Add your favorite ketchup or tomato glaze.

If you wanted to take it a step further, or you had kids helping with your dinner creation, think of vegetable toppings that can serve as sprinkles.  Peas and corn would make colorful and yummy additions. Baked or steamed individual baby carrots would be an interesting topper. Even panko bread crumbs would be delicious. The possibilities are endless.

At this point you would broil or bake your creation at a higher temperature to warm everything back up, and to get a nice crust on your potatoes. This step usually takes about ten to fifteen minutes.

Broil your creation so you get crisp edges and a creamy meaty center.

Broil your creation so you get crisp edges and a creamy meaty center.

And that’s it! Serve and enjoy. Easy, fun for the kids and a great way to get laughs or a sideways glance from your dinner party.

Definitely feel free to share your favorite recipes for meatloaf and mashed vegetables below. Or consider sharing your flavor profile for your meatloaf cupcake. I’m thinking a turkey meatloaf, cranberry center, with sweet potato frosting next time, what do you think?

To full plates and eating your tarte out.

Even the kids can have their fun with these meatloaf cupcakes, and eat them too.

Even the kids can have their fun with these meatloaf cupcakes, and eat them too.

Written by Tarte Chic

Author Kat Nielsen (formerly Kat Wojtylak) is a creative type with an immense love for food. She maintains a day job handling marketing and brand support to various companies while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences.

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