Creative new products are also a sure-fire strategy to achieve greater success. As consumers plan to resume larger gatherings of holiday celebrations, here is a distinctive new idea from Columbus Craft Meats.

Evan Inada, director of charcuterie at Columbus Craft Meats, shares this creative idea – perfect for the holidays – for a delicious charcuterie cake.

You’ve seen the same white cake with colored icing roses at every wedding. Plain vanilla gets a little redundant, doesn’t it? The celebratory centerpiece of your next event doesn’t have to be just desserts anymore. 

Stand out from the crowd with a charcuterie cake - complete with Columbus Craft Meats Fresh Salami - that will make the savory snack lover rejoice. The Italian Dry and Calabrese pouring out of the cut cake is not only decorative, but delicious. An assortment of grapes, fresh figs, strawberries, gooseberries, and dragon fruit slices pull it all together and add a little bit of sweetness. 

BAKE: This sounds like a true show-stopper idea. How did you come up with the idea to create a delicious charcuterie cake?

EVAN INADA: My daughter loves rainbow cakes, so that was the start of the inspiration there—how do you make a cool cake with the cut in the middle that wows everyone when they see it? That was the goal there.

Target was not involved in the creation of this charcuterie cake, but they are one of our retail vendors. COLUMBUS® Craft Meats products are available nationwide in Target stores, providing a convenient way for consumers to grab our products and easily recreate this cake at home.

BAKE: How did you work on the execution of making the cake, and how did you decide on the ingredients?

EVAN INADA: I worked on the execution of it as inspired by making a rainbow cake. I chose the best things to go with the cheese to start off with. The Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog is a chevre, so the salami I chose is the perfect pairing for that in terms of elevating the flavors of sweet with the creamy chevre. I wanted to fold the salami, so it was overflowing, coming out of the cake itself so that people understood it was a charcuterie cake. When it came to doing the roses, I wanted to make sure it had that wedding cake aspect. That was important. The fresh fruits were chosen based on what was in season at the time. The figs, the gooseberries in the husk, as well as strawberries, have the right sweetness and acidity to go with this pairing, while also giving the perfect aesthetic look to grab your attention.

BAKE: How did you fine-tune the procedure?

EVAN INADA: I actually just tried it in one take. I found a rainbow cake picture that I wanted to use as inspiration and then made it work with salami. I think my charcuterie building experience came into play, but finetuning it down the road for a bigger scale one would be great in the future, although this test-run was very successful.

BAKE: What are your thoughts on the final result?

EVAN INADA: I was pretty happy with it. Being on a pedestal, it stood out with another board in front of it. It is an attention-grabber, so it’s a great suggestion for any type of event or something like a wedding. This is the type of cake that would be perfect for a happy hour or cocktail hour before an event. Because of the size of this, it could serve up to 75 people, and it could be easily adjusted to accommodate a larger or smaller audience. You could play with the components, add more salami, as needed, etc.

 BAKE: How big is the charcuterie cake? Can retailers receive instructions on how to recreate it for instore display?

EVAN INADA: A 5-pound wheel of cheese was used for this with a 1-pound wheel on top. About 1 pound of thinly sliced salami was used. It was about 10-12 inches tall. Yes, I recommend cutting a large enough slice, so it has a clear opening. It is a matter of matching that top wheel of cheese to the bottom wheel in terms of creating the best shape, combined with folding up the salami and having it flow out correctly. Each piece of salami was folded in half and then quarters and then coupled with another. I worked from the bottom, from the edge of the plate into the opening of the cake, as it will help the pieces stay secure best. For the salami roses on the side, I recommend continuing to twist salami and wrap in a circular motion around until it looks like a rose.

BAKE: How can retailers tie in this creative product idea with instore and online promotions?

EVAN INADA: I think online is really easy to do—post a cool picture in a wedding setting and it stands out. For in-store display, it could work with refrigeration and refreshing. The cake itself has some fiore on the outside, so it would stay in place for at least a week in refrigeration. I recommend refreshing the salami daily in order to keep it looking fresh and bright in color. Swap out the fruits as needed for freshness as well.