Pizza Cake

Hullo!

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.

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.

 

PIZZA CAKE

DSCF7874

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

salt

pepper

tomato puree

Toppings:

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:

DSCF7781

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.

DSCF7783

I stretched it out so it was long enough

DSCF7785

Then I made it into a cylinder shape:

DSCF7787

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.

DSCF7790

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.

DSCF7794

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.

DSCF7795

I then began to build up the layers. Each layer should essentially be a complete pizza:

DSCF7798

DSCF7800

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)

DSCF7801

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:

DSCF7809

DSCF7806

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:

DSCF7813

Carefully, squish the loose bottom back into the rest of your cake tin. There’s a knack…

DSCF7817

DSCF7819

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.

DSCF7822

Once baked through, spread your remaining tomato sauce on top and build a final pizza layer. Turn your oven up to maximum.
DSCF7826

DSCF7837

Bake to brown the toppings and melt the cheese:

DSCF7851

Remove from the tin (again, a knack)

DSCF7863

Serve, and enjoy. You will enjoy it.DSCF7866

DSCF7867

DSCF7874

The glorious innards. Mmmmmm.

DSCF7878

Served with homebrewed beer and cider, extra jalepenos, cornichons, mayo and sriracha. Nom.

DSCF7883

A breakdown of the layers:

DSCF7889

Learning points:

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.

Yum Yums

The artisanal Yum Yum is the best thing you will ever taste.

 

At the request of a certain sister of a certain member of One Direction, I tentatively present my very best recipe: Yum Yums. I’ve got a feeling I’ll have to spend the rest of my life dealing with the health repercussions of this post.

If you’ve not had a Yum Yum before, it’s basically a cross between a doughnut and a croissant. Then drenched in icing. And the ones you bought from the shops may have been the most delicious thing in the world – until now. Thankfully (or dangerously), this method is so very easy. You don’t need to own any special equipment or do any kneading.

 

 

500g strong white bread flour

2 sachets (or 14g) fast action yeast

8g salt (or about one heaped teaspoon; reduce if using salted butter)

30g sugar

250g water (a tiny bit warm; weigh out rather than use a jug)

1 medium egg

100g unsalted butter, chilled and diced

 

Oil, for frying

More flour, for rolling

 

Icing:

250g icing sugar, sifted

60ml (4 tablespoons) water

 

Makes 14-16 Yum Yums

 

1. In a large bowl, weigh out the flour, salt and yeast. Lightly rub the salt and yeast into the flour on opposite sides of the bowl, then rub in the sugar.

 

2. Dice the chilled butter into thin pieces (as shown). Add this to the flour and don’t rub it in – you don’t want it like breadcrumbs. Just lightly stir the butter into the flour.

3.Add the water and the egg to your mixture and mix using a wooden spoon until begins to come together. Then, use your hands to mix until your dough has mopped up all the flour. Cover your bowl with cling film (or a wet teacloth) and rest for at least half an hour at room temperature.

 

RESTING TIP 1: For a better Yum Yum with more complexity of flavour, rest in the fridge overnight.

 

4. Once the dough is rested, it’s time to laminate. Flour a work surface and roll your yum yum dough out into a long rectangle. Turn your rectangle so the long side is facing you. Take both ends, and fold them into the middle. Then, close the whole thing like a book (shown). Roll out again and repeat the whole folding process until your lumps of butter have disappeared (3-5 times). Wrap your laminated dough in cling film and put in the fridge for another half an hour to rest.

RESTING TIP 2: 30 minutes is the minimum resting time recommended for a good Yum Yum. For a more open structure, leave to rest here for as long as possible (ie over 2 hours).

 

5. Once rested, roll your dough out one final time on a floured surface into a big rectangle. Cut into strips of your desired size. To each strip, make a cut down its length, but leaving at least a centimetre attached at both ends. Twist this round into a Yum Yum shape as shown:

    

6. Leave to rest on an oiled surface in a warm place for at least an hour, until doubled in size. Near the end of the rest, make the icing by mixing the icing sugar and water, then prepare the oil

 

OIL TIP: If you don’t have a deep fat fryer (I don’t), heat a big pan of oil ON A LOW HEAT that’s going to be deep enough to take a Yum Yum. It should be constant at 170-180C. If you don’t have a digital/sugar thermometer, be careful and reserve bits of dough to test your oil regularly to make sure it’s not too hot. Please seek full and proper safety guidance before handling hot oil.

7. Fry your Yum Yums until a golden brown on each side. As soon as they’re done, remove from the oil and brush liberally with the icing. Leave to cool completely on a cooling rack before enjoying.