Sandwich Cake Smörgåstårta
Is it a Sandwich? Is it a Cake? No..its a Smörgåstårta! (Catchy…)
Apart from those of us avoiding regular contact with gluten / wheat products, most people love a sandwich and nothing beats the presentation of a cake.
When I first moved to Finland, armed only with an enthusiasm for adventure, nature and my Grandmother’s Cookbook, needless to say I had never eaten a Sandwich cake before.
The first time I was presented with such an opportunity, I can’t say that I was thrilled. It looked like a cake but inside were flakes of ham and herbs. My mind and my mouth couldn’t fathom this creation and I left it alone and stuck to rye bread and beetroot salad instead.
It didn’t take long, though, before I gave it a go and how happy I was when I did!
Basically created for parties, this ‘cake’ is designed to look elegant on the buffet table but be super simple to make. Most likely originally a Swedish party food (the name is Swedish), the recipe was left in Finland after independence and has also been seen in Estonia.
I have, hand on heart, never eaten anything so 1970’s….even a fondue party can’t trump this cake.
Sandwich Loaf Cake:
3 fillings and 8 layers of dark and light bread go into this sandwich loaf. Cut two loaves of bread, one dark and one light in lengthwise slices about 1/2 inches thick. It is possible to just use sliced bread, but the joins in the cake need to be staggered so that the joins in the bread overlap in each layer. The night before, make the fillings and assemble the the sandwich loaf layers.
Cover with plastic film and chill. Several hours before serving, frost and garnish the exterior of the loaf. Read on for further details:
1-2 sandwich loaf of dark bread.
1-2 sandwich loaf of white or different shade of bread.
Remove the crusts from the bread and assemble 1 layer on a large serving tray to form a square, onto parchment paper if you want to be able to move the cake around. NOTE: this can also be done with homemade bread, cut into layers, in a round shape like a sweet cake. Spread with soft butter, avocado or cream cheese. Add a 1/3 to 1/2 of one of the chosen fillings listed below.
Add a layer of the different color of bread, laying them at right angles so that the joins are not in the same place. Spread a layer of another filling.
Repeat until you have a full layered cake and all the filling has been used.
Possible meat fillings (each makes about 1.5 cups or just less):
Smoked ham: Finely chop smoked ham (about 250g) from either thinly sliced or chunky varieties, depending on your tastes. Mix together with 2 tablespoons of minced onion, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon hot mustard, 2 tablespoons soft butter (or mayonnaise).
Pate / Liverwurst: Mash 250g pate and stir in 6 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 & 1/2 teaspoons fresh chopped dill, 2 tablespoons soft butter.
Possible Fish / seafood fillings:
Crayfish: Finely chop jarred or fresh crayfish (about 250g). Mix together with 2 tablespoons of minced onion, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon hot mustard, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise. You can also add 2 tablespoons of Fish roe to the mixture for areal swedish combination.
Cold Smoked Salmon (also works with smoked herring or similar): Chunky chop about 200g of cold smoked salmon (or regular smoked salmon which has a stronger flavour but might be easier to get hold of), mix with 2-3 chopped large pickles (avoid the sweeter variety in favor of the saltier “Russian” style pickles), 2 finely chopped boiled eggs, 2 teaspoons fresh chopped dill and 2 tablespoons of soft butter or mayonnaise.
The use of butter or mayonnaise is totally up to you and a mixture of both normally works nicely.
I would stick meat with meat and fish with fish, rather than combining. All fillings work well with the last and final filling;
Avocado Filling: Mash 1 large ripe avocado with 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 small package of soft cream cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cream until spreadable.
‘Frost’ the sides with parsley cheese spread. Garnish with thin slices of cucumber and parsley sprigs at least, but you can add whatever you like here, as well as a selection of the ingredients from the fillings, so the guests know what to expect on the inside; crayfish circles, salmon or ham rolls etc – get creative!
Refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours. With a sharp long knife, cut into vertical slices. This is enough to make 16-20 buffet portions, maybe more if you cut smaller slices.
Parsley Cheese Spread: Smoothly mix 1 large 8oz package of cream cheese with 1/4 cup whipping cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 cup minced parsley (or dill or combination if you like).
Watch your guests as they figure it out!
All of the above images are just amazingly perfected Sandwich cakes – however I still aspire to my original aspiration – my grandmother’s cookbook, in all its Sepia Glory 🙂
Not all images are my own, but image links credit the original source.