This is cake. Really. It’s what I served for dessert on Father’s Day to my dad, my husband, and a lot of other relatives gathered at our house. Everyone was groaning after a gluttonous meal of ribs, burgers and lots of side dishes. “But you’ve got to leave room for spaghetti and meatballs,” I said. They laughed, thinking of course, I was joking. Well, I was and I wasn’t. Boy were they surprised when I brought this to the table! This was a real show-stopper of a dessert and delicious too, although you may need a trip to the dentist after consuming all the sugar from the frosting and the “meatballs.” It’s a recipe I’ve been hoarding since 2002, when I clipped it from a Rosie magazine at the doctor’s office (don’t you all do that?) The time seemed right this year with all the men (and women) in my family at the table. And come on, who doesn’t love spaghetti and meatballs, whether for dinner or dessert? It’s easier than it looks, if you don’t try to do it all in one day. I made the cake and froze it one day, and made the chocolate “meatballs” two days before serving the cake. I frosted and assembled it all the morning that I served the cake. I followed the instructions to the letter, making the banana cake called for in the recipe. It was good, but too much like a banana bread rather than a cake. I’d much rather have a chocolate cake and that’s what I’ll make next time. The recipe for the “meatballs” (which are really a truffle candy) also call for semi-sweet-chocolate chips and cream cheese, but I’d use dark chocolate and butter next time. I also thought the “meatballs” needed a little more depth of flavor, so I added a squirt of coffee liqueur. If you’re a candy maker, just use your favorite truffle recipe if you like.
Spaghetti and Meatballs Cake Banana Cake 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 tsp. each baking powder, baking soda and salt 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened 1 2/3 cup granulated sugar 3 large eggs 3 ripe bananas, mashed (1 1/4 cups) 1 1/2 cups each buttermilk and very finely chopped walnuts Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With spray or butter, coat 13 x 9 x 2 in. baking pan. Flour pan. In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar on high until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in banana, then buttermilk. On low, gradually beat in flour mixture just until incorporated; stir in walnuts. Spread in pan. Bake 50 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center tests clean. Cool cake in pan 30 minutes on rack; invert onto rack; let cool. Invert cake onto oval serving platter with flat surface of at least 13 x 9 inches. Cover, refrigerate 3 hours or up to 1 day. Chocolate Meatballs 4 oz. cream cheese, softened 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract pinch of salt 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar 1 cup (6 oz) semisweet-chocolate chips, melted and cooled 1 cup very finely chopped walnuts In medium bowl, beat cream cheese until creamy and smooth; beat in vanilla and salt. On low, gradually beat in sugar, then chocolate. Stir in nuts. Roll into balls. Cover and refrigerate. (can be made 2 days ahead) Frosting 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened 2 one-pound boxes confectioners’ sugar, sifted 1 T. each vanilla extract, milk 8 drops yellow food coloring 1/4 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder In large bowl, beat butter until creamy. On low, gradually beat in sugar. Beat in vanilla and milk. Add food coloring, a teeny bit at a time, and cocoa, to tint the frosting until the color resembles cooked spaghetti. Be careful because if you add too much, you can’t go back. It’s always better to add just a tiny bit at a time. Using a serrated knife, trim the cake to fit a platter; cut off the edges and corners. Remove cake pieces; brush crumbs off platter. Spread about 2 cups of the frosting in an even, thin coat over the cake: Fill a pastry bag with some of the remaining frosting. Use a #5 plain piping tip (mine didn’t have a number but it’s about a 1/8 inch diameter opening) Beginning at bottom edge of cake, pipe “spaghetti” strands around sides, looping and overlapping on already piped strands, and working upward. Using up frosting and refilling bag as needed, continue piping so strands are densely piped around sides; extend those near top slightly higher than top edge of cake, creating a well. “Tomato sauce” and “parmesan” 2 10.25 oz. jars strawberry preserves white chocolate In small saucepan, heat preserves over very low heat, stirring, until just barely warm and pourable (DO NOT OVERHEAT). Transfer 1/2 cup “sauce” to pie dish. Put meatballs in sauce in dish; roll to coat. Spoon remaining sauce into well on top of cake. Spread to fill well, letting drips of sauce come over top edge of spaghetti. Put meatballs on sauce on top of cake and shave white chocolate “parmesan” over top, if desired.