Just when it looked like the cupcake craze was finally dying down, a Chicago bakery is bringing it back to the forefront with an unexpected savory twist. Meatloaf Bakery serves up small loaves, family size trays, and individual cupcakes, each made with a different meatloaf base and some sort of carbohydrate "frosting".
Popular favorites include "A Wing and a Prayer," a spicy buffalo wing-influenced creation with a ground chicken and celery meatloaf and blue cheese topping; "Loaf-a-Roma," the Italian take on a meatloaf cupcake, with a beef and sausage base and marinara-doused spaghetti noodles molded to form a muffin top; and even the "Yentl Lentl," a gluten-free vegetarian version that has a lentil and brown rice bottom and assorted roasted bell peppers as the healthy alternative to icing.
Twin Cities residents will be glad to know they won't have to make a six-hour drive to get a piece of the meat treats. Mary Colon of Maeve's Cafe plans to offer her own square-meal cupcake as a regular menu item this winter. Her version is based on a mini shepherd's pie she used to make for her children to get them to eat meatloaf. "I made them into a little heart shape and covered them in ketchup, and it became their new favorite thing," says Colon.
Suzanne Schilling, a chef and instructor at Kitchen Window in Calhoun Square and the Chef's Gallery in Stillwater, teaches a class solely on making savory cupcakes as hors d'oeuvres, including one filled with goat cheese, figs, and grilled onion and a cous cous-infused cake crowned with grilled shrimp and tomato chutney.