Today, I’ve been distracted from the furious final dash to deliver the manuscript of my 2nd book on time. There was one post/possible-troll that kept popping up on assorted social media that I just could not ignore. The Pizza Cake.
This genius concept (for it is still just that: a concept) comes from Canadian chain Boston Pizza, who are asking their customers to vote for the next pizza trend. Obviously, this is winning and by a mile.
The above image was created by a combination of photographer’s fakery and photoshop. Despite the fact the pizza cake isn’t yet here, I was struck by two things:
1. There’s no cake: it’s just a load of pizzas stacked on top of each other.
2. This is awesome.
So today, with a couple of friends, I set about creating the pizza cake. And what a success it was. Seriously, it was delicious. But you already knew that. The following set of pictures and steps, however, shouldn’t exactly be used as a perfect guide. I’d suggest a read-through first, to see where I went wrong so you can adjust and improve. I’ve included a set of learning points at the end. Many thanks to Paul and Cathryn for helping me out during this one.
For the dough:
500g strong white flour
330g tepid water
30g olive oil
7g instant yeast
10g table salt
For the sauce:
A tin of tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
375g fresh mozzarella, chopped (3 blobs of cheese)
Pepperoni, chorizo, jalepenos
First, make a pizza dough. I mixed the ingredients together in a bowl, covered it with cling film and left it for half an hour at room temperature. I then stretched and folded it until smooth, then left it to prove another 90 minutes. This could all be replaced by leaving your dough overnight in the fridge. During this rest, I made a basic tomato sauce out of chopped tomatoes, garlic, puree and seasoning – you could just use tomato puree. Any pizza dough/sauce recipe will work.
To get started, I turned my dough out onto a floured surface ready to use and preheated my oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 5:
My first thought was to start by coating the sides of a high-sided cake tin and then to build the layers up from the inside. To do this, I cut off a chunk of dough, about an eighth, and rolled it into a rough rectangle.
I stretched it out so it was long enough
Then I made it into a cylinder shape:
I then lined the sides of the cake tin with this cylinder, cutting off another chunk of dough and rolling it into a rough circle to line the bottom of the tin.
However, quickly after spreading the first layer of thick tomato sauce, I could see that the dough was gathering in a thick layer towards the bottom. This method wasn’t going to work.
So I removed the bottom from the cake tin and cut off all that excess dough from the sides. Leaving a disc covered in about a tablespoon of tomato sauce. If attempting at home, this is how you should start.
I then began to build up the layers. Each layer should essentially be a complete pizza:
Beginning to take shape. Don’t worry about the excess – this is going to be cut off so you can make MORE pizza cakes (or just make a nice loaf of bread with it)
Once you’ve done 6 or 7 layers, top out and don’t put any more sauce on top. You should have at least a tablespoon of sauce left. Trim around the edges with a sharp knife, feeling where your cake tin is:
Take a small chunk of dough and roll it out into a long rectangle, as wide as your unbaked pizza cake is tall. This should then be wrapped around the sides:
Carefully, squish the loose bottom back into the rest of your cake tin. There’s a knack…
Bake your pizza cake in the oven for approximately an hour, until a golden brown colour. If you have a thermometer, you want the inside temperature to be over 90C before proceeding. Check it regularly.
Bake to brown the toppings and melt the cheese:
Remove from the tin (again, a knack)
The glorious innards. Mmmmmm.
Served with homebrewed beer and cider, extra jalepenos, cornichons, mayo and sriracha. Nom.
A breakdown of the layers:
The inner layers were soggy. This was due to the wetness of the cheese and the tomato sauce, as well as probably underbaking. If trying at home, make sure your tomato sauce is reduced until a thick, dry paste. Bake your pizza cake for bloody ages.
Building up the sides first is a waste of time. Build it up like lots of pizzas, then cover the sides.
It’s never going to look like it does in the picture. The only way to achieve this would be to par or fully bake lots of different pizza bases and stack them on top of each other. This is against the principle of the thing, in my mind.
I hope you enjoy baking this. I did.