Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Art of the Swedish Sandwich {Cake}

I think I've mentioned a few times before that my father was born (and currently resides with my very adaptable Canadian mother) in Sweden. Whether he will admit it or not (and he probably won't), he raised us to be proud of our heritage!
I was a wee lil pesky thing when we lived there last (as a family), so my memories are somewhat dimmed, but that hasn't stopped my enthusiasm for learning more about the Swedish culture and...of course...their food. (Anyone who knows me, knows everything is about the food).

In my early twenties, I had the privilege of getting to know an amazing, and I do mean amazing, Swedish lady who also had a great passion for food. I quickly spotted an opportunity to learn from the best, so we would arrange days where I would drive out to her farm and do her hair (I was doing hair part time back in the day) and she would teach my how to cook and bake some really fabulous Swedish dishes. She has since passed on, but I often think back with fond memories of hours in her kitchen cooking away, and of course enjoying some delicious fika (coffee breaks)!

One of the first "lessons" I had, was on making Swedish sandwich cakes. Don't let that scare you...there is nothing "cakey" about it, other than the method of putting it together. They are truly a work of art...just like dessert cakes...and a great way to express yourself creatively.


This week, I invited a fellow Scandinavian mom and her kids over for lunch and a play date with my kids, so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to exercise my sandwich making muscles again.

These sandwich cakes make a fabulous lunch and taste delicious...and best of all, they are not hard to make!

(I apologize for the weird lighting...I was in a rush and didn't have the right settings on my camera)

First you will need bread of some sort. There are sooo many different ways to make these cakes that I don't want to limit your creativity by telling you what to use. However, when I make them, I generally will bake up a batch of white bread using all sorts of different pans depending on the amount of people I'm planning to feed. I have made bread in 9"x13" pans, round cake pans, 8"x8" pans, and the usual loaf shape. This time I chose to go with a regular loaf, but the concept of assembly is the same whatever shape of bread you decide to use.


Trim off all the crusts, until you have a nice rectangular block of soft, squishy, bready insides!


Slice the loaf lengthwise into three pieces.


Now you will fill each layer, just like you would when you're filling a cake with frosting. Yum.
I have used many different types of filling and they all taste good. This time I went with a tuna pate, which was delicious (recipe posted below), but I have also done a chicken salad and egg salad filling.


Now you "frost" the cake with mayonnaise.
Spread a thin layer over the top and sides until it's completely covered.


This will keep the bread from drying out (which also means you could do this step the day before if you're pressed for time).


Here comes the fun part where you can express yourself creatively!
I went with shrimp as a topping on this sandwich, but the sky is really the limit for what you can use to decorate with. Some suggestions are: radish roses, olives, hard boiled & sliced eggs, cheese slices rolled up (provolone works great for this), rolled meat slices, salami (especially cervelat), sliced cucumber, tomato wedges or grape tomatoes, dill and/or parsley. And if you're really adventurous...try the tubes of caviar paste you can find at IKEA (squeezed onto the sliced eggs)!
In this tutorial, I have used rather simple elements and it should give you a good basic idea of how to assemble the toppings (but don't let these pictures limit you).
First I mounded cooked, peeled shrimp in the middle and then placed a row of sliced mini cucumbers around the edge...


Next, I cut medium slices of cheddar cheese (we are in Canada after all), and then cut the slices into squares and then wedges. I inserted a cheese wedge between every second slice of cucumber.


Then I added some thin slices of lemon over the shrimp mound...


...and as a finishing touch, I added some sprigs of fresh dill (a quintessential Swedish ingredient).


Next, you will need a "ruffly" variety of lettuce. I can't remember what type I used here, but I'm guessing it was a basic green lettuce (not romaine). Cut a leaf of lettuce down to roughly the same height as your sandwich, and gently press the leaf into the mayonnaise. You may need to add more mayo as "glue", and you could use a toothpick or two, to secure it if your lettuce is particularly stubborn! (Mine definitely was, but I couldn't have a temper tantrum because my guest was right beside me watching!) Continue pressing lettuce leaves all the way around the sandwich sides until it's totally covered. Make sure the lettuce is perfectly dried after washing, as damp lettuce will give you grey hair!


And there you have it!
A lovely, delicious and cultural lunch. Or appetizer. Or just because it's soo good.


Mmmm!!

Here's the recipe for Tuna Pate that I used.
(Adapted from Company's Coming: Appetizers)

2 cans (7 oz.) flaked tuna
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients together until smooth, using a blender or mixer.
Chill until ready to use.

By the way, I asked my mother-in-law for this recipe as she makes it into a ball (like a cheese ball) and rolls it in dried parsley flakes. It is completely amazing spread on crackers!! I gave my hubby a little taste when I made this and his eyes practically rolled back into his head. Soo yummy!
(And yes, I did double triple check the recipe to make sure it's correct!)


If you like it...

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19 comments:

  1. I have never heard of a sandwich cake. Looks yummy. I would love for you to share at the Anything Goes Bacon Time linky ever Fri-Monday.

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  2. This looks amazing! I have never tried a swedish sandwich cake before. Thanks for sharing!

    Mrs. Delightful
    www.ourdelightfulhome.blogspot.com

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  3. That looks wonderful! I'm a new follower!
    Best,
    Anne ♥♥

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  4. That looks and sounds fabulous! Never heard of sandwich cake before! Thanks for linking to Shine on Fridays!

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  5. Well, it is indeed a work of art! Thank you for sharing at Potpourri Friday! Your participation is always appreciated!

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  6. This is so cool! I've never seen anything like it! I'm Scandinavian too (Norwegian), and I love the idea of keeping heritage ethnic meals alive by passing them down to our children. This beautiful Swedish Sandwich Cake is a recipe that anyone would love, and I'll be trying it at my house soon.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Wow..this is amazing! LOVE it! I would never have thought to do something like this! Thanks for sharing

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  8. This is beautiful...I haven't made a sandwich cake in years, but I do love the wonderful layers and the presentation...yours with the lettuce leaves and the mound of shrimp is one of the most beautiful I've seen...O.K. now I'm hungry for a sandwich cake...what a perfect idea for using Easter eggs in one of the fillings

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    1. Thanks LaVerne...what a nice compliment! There are sooo many beautiful ways of decorating these sandwiches and they are so fun to share with guests, since they are rather unusual here in N. America!

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  9. This is SOO cool! I think I am definitely going to try this sometime, if i can find a gluten free bread that will work. You did a super job explaining it, but my one question is, how do you cut it then? If you just slice off the ends will it work?

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    1. Thanks Shiloh! You are absolutely right...you just slice it off at the end! My MIL is a celiac and I have often wondered if it would work (and taste good) with gluten free bread, but I haven't tried it yet! If you give it a whirl, please let me know if you like it!

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    2. OK, another serving question about your beautiful cake: So you slice it off like a pound cake for serving. Then do you add the toppings on the cake to the sandwhich? Do you pull the bread apart to add the toppings and eat with your hands or just top the cake slice with the toppings on individual plates and eat with a fork? I saw your post over featured over at "Potpurri Friday" blog party...congrats!

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  10. Holy Moly-- I have never seen anything like this! It truly is a work of art!!! If you don't mind, I'm going to pin this! I'd also love it if you'd share at Food Adventure Friday-- this certainly qualifies as an adventure!!

    http://teachinggoodeaters.blogspot.com/2012/03/food-adventure-friday-green-monster.html

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  11. Wow - this is pretty neat! I think I might want to try this sometime - thanks for sharing!

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  12. This looks wonderful, so unique! I loved all the great food, especially seafood when I visited Sweden!

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  13. Are you flipping kidding me?! This is STUNNING and what an amazing tutorial. You are going to be a feature at this week's Pin'inspiration party. Hope that you come back on Saturday too to share all of your spring ideas.

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  14. Your Swedish sandwich cake looks and sounds amazing. It's truly a work of art. Visiting from Potpourri Friday.
    Babs

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  15. I miss home now... ;)
    ... Think I have to make one soon!

    Greetings from Australia♥

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  16. loved all the great food, especially seafood I have never tried a Swedish sandwich cake before

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