The Mincemeat Story

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m obsessed with cake. All cakes, any kind of cake, on any occasion, or no occasion at all. I’ll often get in my car, drive to one of my favorite bakeries and get a whole cake to enjoy by myself. Yes, it’s a thing, it’s called sheetcaking. Look it up. I can easily substitute breakfast lunch and dinner with cake. Anyway, let’s get to the point.

My sweet friend Sara, makes the most delicious spice cake I’ve ever had. I still remember the first time I tasted it. I was meeting her and a few of our friends at a restaurant in the Heights for a casual lunch. She pulls out 4 warm and chunky loafs covered in foil and gives each of us one. I, of course, couldn’t wait to taste it. I ignored the fact that I had just ordered a huge and delicious lunch and proceeded to open the foil which revealed a beautiful, moist, sweet and beautifully spiced loaf of cake. Now you see why it’s important that I explained my very deep love of cake in the beginning? I was the only one on that table that started munching on the cake like I had no care in the world.

This cake was so good I absolutely had to know the recipe. I prayed Sara would just give it to me and not claim “family secrecy”. Indeed she did, later that day she sent me the full recipe in an email. I took a look and stopped midway through the ingredients, confused as I saw “mincemeat”. Huh? There’s mincemeat in this cake? I saw Sara a few days later and this is how our conversation went:

Me: “hey Sara, there’s mincemeat in your spice cake recipe?”

Sara: “Yup”

Me: “wow, ok. Like raw mincemeat? Or do you cook it first?”

Sara: looking at me funny, like I’m an idiot “ermmm, raw…” Me: “okie dokie”


Fast forward a couple of days and I decided I want to try this crazy ass recipe that has minced meat! I got a whole cup of raw minced beef and added it to the mixture of eggs, sugar, flour and spices. I folded the mixture into the loaf moulds and baked it for a good 50 minutes. While it was baking, my in laws came over and I was SO amazed at the fact that there is raw minced beef in this recipe that I was telling everyone about the “surprise ingredient” in the cake.

You know when you’re feeling all special and extra cool because you know something that no-one else knows? Yeh that’s how I was acting. I’m an overworked mom of two, simple things excite me. Imagine me, strutting around my kitchen, telling everyone there is a super strange ingredient in this cake and that they’ll never guess what it is. Once it was out and cooled, they all started eating their slices and I was looking at them almost bursting with excitement wanting so badly to tell them that there’s BEEF in their cake! How freaking exciting… and gross… but I mean that’s the recipe right?

I couldn’t hold it in any longer, I screamed it out “there’s beef in this recipe!!! Haha!” My eyes were bulging out, my smile is from ear to ear, I’m looking at them waiting for a response. They all looked at me like I had just announced that I’m moving to Antartica to live with a monkey named Bob.

MIL: “beef? Like cow beef? Like meat??”

Husband: “emmmm, are you sure this is ok?”

SIL: “the recipe really asked for mince meat??”

I proudly showed them all the recipe. It says right there, mincemeat. See? Mincemeat! Now they think my friend Sara must be crazy.

Hours pass and something just doesn’t feel right. I don’t remember chewing on pieces of mince beef in Sara’s original loaf. I’ve never in my life seen beef in a cake recipe. Something is wrong.

I tell my mom what happened and she tells me there must be something lost in translation. It can’t have mince meat, it’s simply impossible. I’m too embarrassed to call Sara and ask her again, are you sure it’s mincemeat? I mean, we already had this conversation. So I did the next best thing. I googled mincemeat.

Holy, fucking, shit. Turns out, mincemeat over here in the good old United States is a strange concoction of dried fruit and nuts. It comes in a jar and you can purchase it at the grocery store. Which makes sense for a spice cake recipe. NUTS and FRUITS, not a cow in sight!!

I couldn’t WAIT to tell Sara. I texted her, explaining what I did. She promptly calls me laughing her ass off asking me how I didn’t question this and just baked a cake with beef in it. And fed it to humans? I’ve felt stupid before in my life, but this one takes the cake. (See what I did there?) How do I tell my family that I fed them the wrong thing? I was so cocky and arrogant about my magical secret recipe. How do I tell them that I’m a dumbass who confidently put beef in a cake recipe?

They laughed, I laughed, we all laughed and now we all sit around the table remembering my dumb moment with tears of laughter in our eyes. Needless to say, they’ve been hesitant to try any of my new recipes.