Â Â Â Â Â Â If you are just joining me now, last week was my birthday. Don’t worry, I’m not here to make a big deal out of it. I am not one of those people spend an entire month celebrating their bday. Um, a week is too much already. It is calledÂ birthDAY-Â notÂ birthMONTHÂ or birthWEEK, dummy.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â It’s like people who celebrate 2 month or 6 month anniversaries.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â If you need an excuse to get a nice steak dinner, get blasted, andÂ go to a bar with friends then you should just use thisÂ special little holiday I made up. It’s called, “Happy Go Get a Steak Dinner, Get Blasted, and Go to a Bar with Friends Day!” The best part, is that I don’t have to wait until my birthday month to celebrate this. I celebrate everyday.
I would much rather use my birthday as inspiration for recipes. Last week I made turtle snicker bites. I also made a special cake. Since I spend so much time making cookies, cupcakes, cake pops, and other sweets, I wanted something savory.
This pizza cake is made with fresh tomato sauce, and homemade dough. I loaded it up with my favorite toppings, but I think you are smart enough to figure out that you can customize this with your own toppings. The cool thing about this is that when you slice it, it looks like it has layers of cake, a filling in between the layers, and frosting. I think this is perfect for someone who does not like sweets all that much, or who really enjoys pizza. Even if you like sweets, this is a fun change from the usual birthday cake.
Although a homemade (from scratch) pizza taste infinity+1 times better than one made with store-bought sauce and dough, you are more than welcome to use those shortcuts.
Here is what you need:
For the Tomato Sauce,
–Â 3 Â½ -4 poundsÂ fresh tomatoes (I used a mix of plum tomatoes and beefsteak tomatoes. You can also use 2 28 oz cans of whole, peeled tomatoes and cut down the cooking time)
– 1 Â½ tablespoons ofÂ good quality olive oil
– 2 cloves of garlic, minced
– sea salt
– freshly ground black pepper
– onion, finely chopped
– 1 bay leaf
–fresh basil leaves
–red pepper flakes (only if you want a little hint of spice, leave out if you are a sissy)
* You can use a premade jar of sauce, if you must, but try making it fresh at least once. It is worth it.
Also, onion, basil, bay leaf and red pepper flakes are optional. You really only need tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil for a basic tomato sauce.
For Pizza Dough,
–5 cups of bread flour
–2 teaspoons of sugar
– Â¼ cup of olive oil
–2 Â¼ cups of warm water
–2 packages of active dry yeast (in baking section of grocery store)
–1 tablespoon of sea (or kosher) salt
–all-purpose flourÂ (for rolling out the dough)
– corn meal (if you are using a baking sheet to cook the pizza on)
* Again, use a store-made dough, if you must. I do encourage to try making this dough at least once. It is fluffy and soft, without the grease or chewinessÂ that other doughs may have. My friend Jen, who does not like pizza dough said she loved this.
For Pizza Toppings (“frosting” and “filling”),
– any assortment of vegetables (I used onions, peppers, and mushrooms)
–cheese (I used 32 ounces of buffalo mozzarella, which is white and comes as a ball or roll,Â and then 1 Â¼ pounds of grated mozzarella. The grated mozzarella is not as good quality as buffalo, but it melts better as a “frosting.” I bought the best quality that I could find and grated it myself. The kind that comes in a bag pre-grated is usually of very low quality and processed. If you do not like to grateÂ cheese, a food processor usually comes with a slicing attachment that allows you to grate cheese fairly quickly.)
–fresh basil leaves
–spicy italian sausage
*If you do not like meat, a type of cheese, or vegetables, don’t complain. Just leave it out. The point of making pizza at home is that you customize it the way you want it to be, silly.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â You will want to start by making the tomato sauce. Collect your sauce ingredients.
If you are making it from tomatoes, then you want to remove the skin. You do this by slicing an X onto the bottom of each tomato, dropping it into boiling water for about 10 seconds, then immediately transferring it to a bowl of ice water (to stop it from cooking). The skin will peel right off. If you have never done this before, you can check out how in my grilled cheese soup recipe, where I use the same technique. See step-by-step photos and instructions by clicking here.
Â Â Â Â Â Once you have boiled, cooled and peeled the tomatoes, you need to get rid of the seeds. Cut each in halfÂ or into slices, and use your fingers to scoop out the seeds.
It’s okay if you don’t get out every single seed. Just scoop out most of it.
Now cook your sauce.
Start off by cooking the olive oil, onions, garlic, andÂ red pepper flakes over medium heat, until the onions are translucent.
Add basil a few minutes into the cooking.
Now add your tomatoes, bay leaf, salt, and pepper.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Reduce to medium low heat after about 10-15 minutes of cooking the tomatoes down. Leave for a few hours to cook and breakdown. This is what it looked like about an hour in.
Stir occasionally to release more moisture from the sauce to help it thicken.
As soon as the sauce begins to cook, prepare your dough. Get out your dough ingredients.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Heat a small pot of water on low. Pour the 2 Â¼ cups of it into a large bowl. Use a cooking or candy thermometer to gage when the temp has lowered to about 110Â°, give or take. Then add your yeast.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â It should foam up a bit. If it does not, this means either the yeast is not active (so you have to buy new packets), or the water was too hot/too cool.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â After about 5 minutes the yeast will have foamed upÂ a bit. Add in your olive oil, salt, bread flour, and sugar. ADD THE SALT IN LAST OR IT WILL RUIN THE DOUGH. Salt can affect the yeast, so you want it to come into contact with the other ingredients first.
Mix together, then kneadÂ for about 9 minutes on a surface that has been lightly dusted with all-purpose flour. Careful not to over knead or else the dough will become tough and chewy. Ewe.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Form it into a ball, and place it in a bowl lightly coated with olive oil. Cover withÂ plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot for 2 hours.
Since the sauce and dough take a while to prepare, I like to make it the day before making my pizzas. I you would like to do this, then place bowl in fridge overnight and let it warm up to room temp before rolling.
While the dough and sauce are cooking or rising, prepare your toppings. Slice and grate your cheese.
The buffalo mozzarella (left) is better quality then the other mozzarella cheese, however it does not melt as well for the cake “frosting.”
Slice your vegetables, ifÂ you willÂ beÂ using them.
Slice your pepperoni, and remove the casing of the italian sausage if you would like meat on your pizza cake.
To remove the casings, use a knife to slice through the clear “skin” of the sausageÂ and spread the inside meat onto a pan.
Throw out the casings. and cook the sausage on medium high heat until brown.
This is only slightly cooked, duh. Use a spatula or cooking spoon to break up the meat.
I sort of like to over cook my meat so it is super crispy.
Once the tomato sauce has cooked down to your desired thickness, use a food processor or blender to break it down more.
Â This is totally optional. Some people like very chunky sauce. I like mine smooth.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â If it is too liquidy after using the processor or blender, then you can pour it back into the pot and cook it down some more over medium low heat.
After the two hours, your dough should have risen substantially.
Take your dough and drop it onto a surface that has been lightly coated with olive oil.
Now, I want a cake with three layers, so I cut it into three equal sections.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I also want the layers to beÂ equal in size (or close to), so I used the bottom of a springform pan to use as a measure of how much I needed to roll out my dough. I rolled it instead of tossing it, in order to have control of the size.Â I also wanted the crust to stay thick, like a cake layer.
Take two of the sections, and roll out one into a circle. Just be careful when rolling dough. You want to roll it as little as possible to prevent making it too chewy.Â Use all-purpose flour to dust your rolling pin so that it does not stick to the dough.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Place dough on a baking sheet coated with corn meal. If you have a pizza stone, it should be heating in the oven and does not need corn meal.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Roll out the other two sections, placing one on the springform pan (with the side removed). Make certain this is also coated in corn meal.Â Cut each circle of dough into equal amount of slices, using a sharp knife or pizza cutter.
Now top with any toppings you like. Careful not to place toppings to close to the edge of the pizzas, as I did. It will drip off onto the bottom of your oven. Should you choose to place toppings on close to the edge, simply place a foil-line baking sheet under the pizzas in order to catch the drippings.
Preheat oven to 475Â°. Then bake your pizzas for about 20-25 minutes depending on the oven.
Take the two pizzas from the baking sheet, and layer them on top of the third. Try to line up the slice incisions as best as possible.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Use a large and sharp knife to cut through the slices again, so that it goes all the way through to the bottom. Use a pair of kitchen scissors (or just clean scissors) to trim around the edges of the crust to make the sides even. You don’t have to trim, unless you are anal retentive like me about even edges.
Â Press any leftover buffalo mozzarella and shredded mozzarella onto the sides and top of the cake. Use any leftover toppings to decorate.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Now, this pizza has a lot of cheese, so if you like do not press it onto the sides Or, when adding toppings to the three pizzas, you can leave out that cheese instead. I put this much cheese on for show, and it did taste delicious, but not everybody is a cheese lover like me.
Turn oven on to 300Â°.Â Cook pizza (I left mine on the springformÂ circle, then on top of a baking sheet) on baking sheet until the cheese has melted. If your cheese is very oily, that is because it is bad quality cheese. You have been warned.
Wait for the pizza to cool a bit, or else it will be mushy when you slice it.
This is what it looks like.
Just like a cake.
Happy Go Get a Steak Dinner (or make a pizza cake, in this case), Get Blasted, and Go to a Bar with Friends Day!
****If you areÂ consideringÂ posting upÂ photos or ideas fromÂ this or any other posts I am truly happy that you are excited and find my recipes interesting enough to share with others.Â Please see copyright standards in the footerÂ (bottom).Â