Bologna Cake

Stick with me on this one. This is a fun, cult appetizer. I’ve been making this for over 25 years because people won’t let me forget about it, even people who are suspicious of bologna (or any other processed food). Two vegetarians have actually fallen off the wagon with this slightly odd, but tasty recipe in the years I have been serving this.

This recipe requires no special skills or equipment. It goes together quickly. It’s fun to assemble and thanks to the culinary miracle of cheese in a spray can, it’s a snap to decorate. When sliced it looks very impressive…and darn it, people love it.

Buy a high quality pre-packaged bologna (I used Oscar Mayer here). Deli brands are fine if the bologna is perfectly round and if the meat slicing machine produces perfectly even slices. I never, ever use aerosol cheese for any other reason, but the decorator tip on the can is easy to use and makes this look as if you know how to decorate cakes. And, after a few glasses of wine, people don’t care that it came out a can.

A Bologna Cake can be made a day ahead, loosely covered with an upturned mixing bowl and refrigerated until ready to serve, or served right after assembly. It’s not fussy, it’s bologna. This is a unique appetizer your guests will have fun with. But be warned, your friends may insist you bring this to parties for the next 25 years. I make no apologies for this whimsical recipe. My friends on the other hand…..nah, they’re OK, too. (Hey Cissy and Sally, this is for you, you can make your own damn bologna cake now. Grin.) Thank you, Muriel Jones, wherever you are.

Bologna “Cake”

12 ounces good quality bologna, sliced
12 ounces room temperature cream cheese (one and one half blocks)
½ package dry ranch salad dressing mix
1 can aerosol cheese, sharp cheddar flavor
1 sliced pimiento stuffed olive, a few slivers of green onion tops or few parsley leaves
Buttery flavor crackers for serving

In a medium bowl and with a spatula combine the dry ranch dressing mix with cream cheese until well blended.

Place the first slice of bologna on a medium serving plate. Spread about a teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture evenly over the top of the bologna. Place another slice of bologna on top and repeat until all of the bologna slices have been used.

Spread the remaining cream cheese over the top and sides, as if icing a real cake. Squirt dollops of the aerosol cheese around the base of the “cake” and around the upper rim. Garnish as desired with olives, parsley or green onions.

To serve, place a very thin, sharp knife on the plate for guests to slice thin wedges. Place on top of a buttery-style cracker (Townhouse or Ritz).

Serves 10-12

    • Jerry
    • October 25th, 2015

    Someone made this for a Halloween party I was at last night, only they colored the cream cheese orange and cut a piece of Bologna to make a jack-o-lantern face on the top. Was the hit of the party so I had to find the recipe. Thanks!

    • Amy
    • September 30th, 2015


  1. What a fun and innovative idea! Must find a way to make it vegan (I’m from you know!)

  2. This is absolutely twisted! I sooooo have to try it!!

  3. I’ve excitingly showed all my coworkers , they are in disgust…lol ! I WILL be making this at my Christmas party, we will see who gets the last laugh ! Thanks

    • Keep me posted….I’d love to know what they thought about it!

  4. I gave it a try a few days ago, to serve to guests, and it was a huge hit! I could not find any spray cheese so I decorated with dill, roasted red peppers and pickles. And guess what, leftovers? An ingenius twist to my breakfast toast.
    Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. Well, I just posted a poem titled “Bologna Perfume” and after looking for images of bologna, found this cake. Lovely photos.

    • Lauren
    • December 11th, 2011

    this looks beyond revolting, but thanks for sharing!

    • William Slavin
    • September 7th, 2011

    I was shown this post by a friend of mine because it reminded her of a birthday “cake” I once prepared for a friend who was a serious Atkins dieter. I fashioned a bundt cake from ground meat (read: meatloaf) and iced it with artificially colored egg salad. It was hilarious (and surprisingly tasty). Nice work.

  6. I saw this on gojee. This is awesome. I cannot wait to make this for my foodie friends. We love pairing food with wine – so I’m curious what wine will pair with it!

    • You’ll have fun with this for sure, as for wine…..I’d go with an inexpensive Pinot Grigio. The citrusy notes will help cut the richness of the cream cheese, and serving anything over $10 a bottle would be madness with bologna…lol!

    • Marion
    • July 18th, 2011

    Saw this on Gojee while looking for something different to take to a party. I have to tell you, this was the hit of the party! Twenty friends (including 3 food snobs) devoured this. I’ve never seen people so enthusiatic about bologna. Thought you’d like to know. I love your site…might have to take a trip out to Vegas to hit some of the restaurants you have reviewed.

    • jocid
    • July 12th, 2011

    this looks like fun and I can’t wait to try it out.

    • Charlie
    • June 22nd, 2011

    Kathy: I’m a fan of your recipes, but I must say for this one…..

    OH GROSS!!!

    I hate bolonga.

    Would be good with ham or another substitute.

  7. Wow this is amazing. It looks like something that should be sweet and soft, but instead you cut into the cake and you see layers of bologna meat and cheese. Genius creation.

    • MsCarol
    • March 20th, 2011

    I normally don’t comment for reviews, but this was fun. I left out two slices of bologna because I was going to run out of “frosting” and I wanted a taste. This recipe is a keeper.

  8. Saw this on Foodgawker last week, made a mental note to remember it, then got invited to a party last night so I made it to bring with us. It was a hit. A big hit, everyone loved it. So,I’m sharing the recipe and telling people about it. And putting it on my blog, (credit will go to you of course). Thanks for a fun appetizer to add my list of go-to starter recipes.

    • I have to laugh, now you’ll be cursed taking this to parties for the rest of your life. Please post this on your blog, your friends and readers need to know how to do this themselves so you will be free of the “Bologna Cake Curse”. It is a hoot, though. I’m glad it was a hit for you!

    • danielle in Silicon Valley
    • January 18th, 2011

    I have to admit, I was skeptical. But I made this for a large office party and the crowd went WILD! This was such a huge hit, even with people who would never eat bologna (or aerosol cheese!). It was so easy to do and looked fabulous. I had to make 30 copies of your recipe to pass out to my coworkers, they all demanded a copy. This is proof that food doesn’t always have to be so serious, sometimes it should just be fun. Thank you for this really wacky, fun and very cool recipe! Looking forward to more great ideas from your kitchen!

  9. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and what a conversation starter or party “bomb” – Wow is all I have to say!

  10. I was perusing FoodGawker and came across your shot. I didn’t know what I was looking at and when I read what it was I was drawn to it. I might have to invite people over just so I can make this. I’m sure my guests will be very surprised when they cut into it.

    Thanks for a great idea!

  11. Wow, now this is unique! So going to try this for the next party/getty!

  12. Seriously this is the most awesome thing I have ever seen. My boyfriend makes fun of me all the time because I eat bologna sandwhichs over just about anything else still at age 31 lol. I am totally making this. Thanks for sharing!

    • Denise’nMark
    • December 10th, 2010

    Okay, I am gonna give it a try. Your enthusiasm for life has always motivated me and I trust you! We are going to take a bologna ‘cake’ to a party tonight where we know virtually no one. If, and that is a big IF, it fails no one will know me and no harm done. but if it IS a big hit, then I will direct them to this amazing blog!! My nutritionist might not be amused, though ; )

  13. This is absolutely jaw-dropping brilliant! What a conversation piece that would be at a holiday party! I especially love the Cheez Whiz frill!

  14. My God, Kathy. You are too bizarre. But I love it! Can I subtitute eggplant for my veggie wife? LORL!

    • Not sure why you’d want to turn this into something that might actually have some nutritional value, but eggplant might not slice nicely….how about tofu (argh)!

  15. Brilliant! I will have to give this a try for the comments alone. 😉 What a creative app.

  16. This is BRILLIANT !!!! You are my kind of fun! Congrats on making the top nine!

  17. Oh my…this look something that I never seen before, and looks fantastic! Awesome idea!

  18. this is too funny and you know what, I like it a hell of a lot – yep, gonna see this one in my house….what do you think of a layer of chopped green olives on the top? too much contrast with the ranch?

    • Go for it! I think the chopped olives would look and taste pretty darned good. I was actually even toying with the idea of spreading pimento cheese on top for this post, but wanted to stick to the version my pals are most familiar with. If you make this I want to see your pictures!

  1. July 11th, 2011
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