Everyone is in Superbowl LI frenzy at the moment, and since the Patriots are playing I’m allowed to enjoy all of the excitement and festivities (instead of being angry and bitter about whatever loss we may have suffered). One of the Facebook Live videos that Food Network has recently posted is of one of their chefs making a 21-layer Quesadilla. It was an entertaining video and I was intrigued at how, after assembling, pressing, and cooking the quesadilla in the oven, how it could come out of the pan whole and you could cut it like a cake. I decided I absolutely HAD to try it, although I recognize the impossibility of being able to eat a 21 layer quesadilla all by myself.
Fortunately, bestie C. had stayed the night before the Blizzard Blast with me and was also enthused about the notion of a quesadilla layer cake, so we immediately set to it.
The ingredients are pretty simple. Tortillas, shredded cheese, and whatever quesadilla toppings you would like. I bought a can of refried beans, had some black beans already, and cooked some ground turkey with Adobo seasoning. I don’t much like peppers or onions and put the kibosh on C.’s idea of adding those, although it would have benefitted from something more wet like a layer of salsa occasionally. If you like spicy, put in some jalapenos or other peppers.
The quesadilla is layered in a cake pan. I sprayed the bottom with cooking spray, put down a tortilla, and then proceeded to layer ingredients separated by tortillas on top. The biggest challenge turned out to be the black beans, which just congregated in the middle or rolled off the sides. Next time I’ll add them to the refried bean layer and stick them in place instead!
Once the cake has been assembled, it needs to be compressed and set for a couple hours so that everything doesn’t fall apart once it’s baked. We topped the massive construction – around 18 or 19 layers high, I lost count – with another cake pan and managed to zip tie the entire thing closed to keep it compressed in the fridge. Alternatively you can top it with another pan with some heavy cans in it. It compressed from about 2 feet high to about 18 inches by the end of it’s time in the fridge. After two hours – or for our cake, about 24 hours – you put it in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or so until the whole thing warms up and it’s ready to eat.
The quesadilla tower popped out of the pan easily and I was shocked at how it cut into slices so easily – it was really like cutting a slice of cake. There was no worries about it toppling or the gooey bits oozing off of the rest of the layers. It was quite a mouthful, and delicious!
I’d say the only criticism is that it was a bit dry. I solved that problem easily with application of sour cream, and then it was excellent! One slice was more than enough for me to be VERY filled up. C.’s teenaged bottomless-pit daughter ate two slices that night when she got home after work. This is definitely a family meal! I guess it could potentially be a party meal, but since you have to prepare it ahead of time, there is no way to cater to tastes for fillings unless you knew ahead of time or (what I did) kept it rather bland. I can certainly see slicing it into thin pieces and serving it as party food however!