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How to make a Swedish Sandwich Cake (Smörgåstårta)

June 28, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

How to make a Swedish Sandwich Cake (Smörgåstårta)

It’s often described as Sweden’s guilty secret: in all the Nordic Diet, healthy eating and green good-for-you flurry, we also have The Sandwich Cake.

We’re unsure of the exact origins, but suspect it may have come over from the States in the early sixties when housewives made similar ‘cakes’ for their cocktail parties. Someone must have brought it back to Scandinavia, and voila, it took hold and never went away. In all our obsession with rye bread and crisp bread, using soft white sandwich bread was – and is – seen as a huge treat. So, the Smörgåstårta became synonymous with birthdays and big celebrations and times to indulge.

If you google Smörgåstårta, you will see a variation of monstrosities – 80’s creations that would make any Sundsval housewife from 1984 weep with pride. Still today, this is what they look like – some with seafood, some with ham, cheese, pate, tuna and anything else you can think of. Smothered in mayonnaise and then decorated with twirly bits of cucumber and the odd radish rose.

Our Roxanne, who looks after our Logistics, used to make these for a living when she was a student back in Sweden. She tells us tales of a particular kind from her home town of Trelleborg – that has egg mayo, prawns, ham – covered in mayo and topped with roast beef. In one cake.

See, we told you: It’s quite something.

Here’s a selection of creations we found on the internet of different kinds….

 

Ica

Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In recent years, many have tried to make the Sandwich Cake look a bit more current – including yours truly – but it is hard: You don’t want to play too much with tradition, but also, you don’t want to start bringing back hair scrunchies, Miami Vice and Melanie Griffith. It’s a fine balance.

Since I showed off one of our sandwich Cakes on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch the other day, we have had a lost of request for the recipe. So, here goes: There is no recipe. You make it up as you go along. But, to please you all, here is the recipe for the one we showed on the TV show. Just remember: You can make it any way you like – any shape, any size – just adapt the recipe to fit your party.

A few things to note and adhere to:

– White bread works well. You can also use wholemeal, but hey, why go wholemeal with a mayo cake? Rye bread does not work well.
– Butter the bread still, it will create a barrier and avoid it all going too soggy
– make the base the day before, then decorate on the day.
– Keep the layers tasty – although some people put both ham and prawns in one, it doesn’t taste nice. Keep it classic – I love seafood salad with salmon, for example, and egg.
– Make it on the tray you plan to serve it on – don’t try to move it once done.
– Plan to serve other things along side it – or else it gets too heavy. It’s a nice addition to a buffet with some salads and other bits.

This Smörgåstårta serves approx. 12 people with one nice bite per person.

Ingredients

12 slices of thick sliced white bread, buttered and crust cut off.

Egg mayo made from mixing:
6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
½ tsp Dijon mustard
salt, pepper
Chopped chives OR cress (as you prefer)
Mayonnaise – to taste. I like it not too gloopy as I feel there is enough mayo in this as it is.

Skagenröra basic mixture
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 small bunch fresh dill, chopped
1 small bunch of chives, chopped
A bit of grated lemon zest
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
50g Mayonnaise
50g Crème fraiche
A bit of freshly grated horseradish or a small bit (1/4 tsp) horseradish sauce
Salt, pepper

A mixture of prawns and crayfish tails OR just prawns – to taste (approx. 200g-250g in total). Again, you want to have a good amount in there, but ensure the mixture is not too gloopy. If you feel you need to bulk it out, you can add a few finely chopped seafood sticks in the mixture, too.

Mix and its ready to use.

Topping:
1-2 cucumbers
Smoked Salmon approx. 150-200g
Pea shoots, micro herbs, radish thinly sliced, prawns in shell or whichever toppings you feel will work well with your cake. On the one in the photo, I used pea shoots, baby watercress, radish, asparagus, dill, prawns and candy beet.

Plus, a lot of good, thick mayonnaise.

How to

On your serving tray, place 3 slices of bread in one length. Top with egg mixture (1/2 of it), then add another layer of bread. Now add your prawn mixture (you may have some left over). Add more bread, then the rest of the egg and the top with the last 3 slices of bread.

This stage can be prepared the day before – keep in fridge to set.

Using a serrated knife, trim the edges so it is a uniform sized cake. Using a spatula, smear Mayonnaise all over the sides and top – as thick as you prefer it to be.

Measure the height of the ‘cake’, then using a mandolin slicer or very sharp knife (or even a cheese planer), slice pieces of cucumber to fit all the way around. The mayonnaise will act as a sort of glue.

Once all sides are decorated with cucumber, add the salmon on top evenly, then add your other toppings. You can choose to do it in best 80’s food fashion – or try to be a bit more contemporary (although, as I did, you will likely fail, but it will taste nice!).

Only your imagination sets the limits for a good old Smörgåstårta

By Bronte Aurell, author of about 6 books on Scandinavian food.

Recipe: “Jordgubbstårta” Strawberry Celebration Cake

June 19, 2014 | Leave a comment

Strawberry Celebration Cake

Ahhhh.... This is such a nice cake. It tastes of summer. Pure summer. We re-tested the recipe last night and the result lasted only for as long as it took us to eat it. With second helpings. For us, no Midsummer is complete without strawberrry layercakes, also known as "Jordgubbsstårta". If you want to cheat and make it easy for yourself, cheat's notes are at the bottom of the post. We do feel that it is worth the effort, though, to make everything from scratch.

Ingredients

For the Vanilla Patisserie Cream

  • NOTE: Needs to be cooled before using in the cake or the cream will split.
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 140 g caster sugar
  • 45 g corn flour

For the Strawberry layers

  • 700 g strawberries washed, trimmed and sliced
  • 75 g raspberry jam

For the Cake Layers

  • 5 eggs
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 130 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla sugar

For the Whipped Cream

  • 700 ml whipping cream
  • 2 tbs icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar

Instructions

Vanilla Patisserie Cream:

  1. Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds and add to a saucepan with the milk. Bring to the boil. Take care not to burn and turn off heat as soon as boiling point is reached.

  2. Whisk egg yolk and sugar until it goes almost white, then turn off the whisk and add the corn flour. Turn the whisk back on medium and slowly add the hot milk to the bowl, whisking continuously.
  3. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring back to the boil and cook for 1 minute to thicken. Turn off, sieve the mixture into a bowl, cling film directly on to the cream to avoid a skin forming and cool down completely in the fridge before using.

Cake Layers:

  1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

  2. Trace 3 identical circles onto baking paper – approximately 20-22 cm diameter. Place baking paper onto flat baking trays.
  3. Whisk egg and sugar until white and fluffy. The key here, is to whisk for a long time to incorporate as much air as possible as there are not raising agents in the mixture.
  4. Sift flour and vanilla sugar into the egg mixture and fold, very carefully, until completely incorporated. Preserve as much air as possible, so fold carefully but thoroughly.
  5. Carefully divide the batter between the three circles and ensure batter fills the circles all the way around, neatly.
  6. Bake in the oven until just golden brown and done – this will depend on your oven, but 5-6 minutes is usually fine.
  7. Remove from and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack. Very carefully remove the baking paper – if it sticks, wet the back of the paper a little bit and it should come off with more ease.

Whipped Cream

  1. On high speed, whisk all ingredients until stiff peaks form. The cream needs to be quite firm to hold when decorating the cake - but take care not to over whip.
  2. Divide the cream into two equal portions. Fold one half of the whipped cream together with the cold vanilla patisserie cream until completely incorporated (The other half is used to decorate the final cake).

Assembly

  1. Place the first layer cake on the plate you wish to serve on. Spread a nice layer of raspberry jam, follow by a 1cm thick layer of the patisserie cream / whipped cream mixture. Add a good handful of sliced strawberries evenly spread out. Add another cake layer and repeat over again and then add the final cake layer on top (You may have a bit of excess custard cream left).
  2. Using a palette knife, spread a thin layer of the whipped cream on the top of the cake. Using a piping bag with a star nozzle, add the rest of the whipped cream and pipe carefully around the edge of the cake in an up-and-down motion until the sides are completely covered. If you do not have a piping bag, you can use the palette knife for this and just make smooth edges. If you prefer less cream and a more rustic look you can omit the cream around the edges all together.
  3. Finish by adding the remaining strawberries on the top of the cake. It doesn’t have to look too arranged – just scatter them so the cake is evenly covered.
  4. This cake greatly improves after a few hours in the fridge so all the flavours are soaked into the cake layers.

Recipe Notes

Cake layers – in speciality shop, you can buy sponge layers already baked. (Scandi Kitchen sells ‘Lagkage bunde’ – already come split into three layers).

Crème patisserie: We stock a product called 'Kagecreme’ which is sachet of instant creme patisserie. Mix one sachet with 500ml cold milk, wait ten minutes and it is ready to use.

Substituting with custard will not give you the exact same result, but you CAN do it at a push – but don’t use half and half, use ¼ custard to ¾ whipped cream volume. Omit the sugar in the whipped cream as custard is really sweet.

Recommended Products

    Dr Oetker Kagecreme Vanilje – Instant Vanilla Creme 3x85g
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    Den Gamle Fabrik Hindbær Marmelade – Raspberry Jam
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    Kungsornen Vetemjol Finaste Kärn – Wheat Flour 2kg
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    Karen Volf Lagkagebunde – Cake Sponges 3-pack
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