While running, I had a thought: If cakes can be decorated to look like sandwiches, why can’t sandwiches be decorated to look like cakes? I was so high on my own endorphins (or dehydrated) that I immediately judged this revelation to be pure genius.
However, when my sprint concluded and I had downed several ounces of Powerade, this idea seemed strange and even borderline gross. And any person to conceive of such a thing was not a genius but a weirdo.
I was wrong on all counts. It turns out a sandwich cake is neither gross nor my original idea, since apparently the Swedes have been making them for years. Called smörgåstårta, these savory tortes comprise interspersed layers of white bread and fillings such as smoked salmon, boiled eggs, shrimp and vegetables, which are then encased in a “frosting” of sorts, usually made with cream cheese.
I decided to join the bevy of American home cooks similarly fascinated with this confection and try my hand at this recipe, slightly adapted. The result was a bit messy and the snarkier among you may label it worthy of Cake Wrecks, but it was appetizing and more importantly, fun to eat.
Before you embark on this edible architectural endeavor, some tips I learned the hard way:
- Trimming a round loaf evenly and cutting equally even slices or said loaf and vegetables requires a steady hand and a very sharp knife.
- Assemble your layers carefully, making sure not to make some thicker than others lest your "cake" acquire a Pisa-like tilt.
- If you like your "cake" very well-iced, consider making a double batch of frosting.
- Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon dried dill
- 1 cup and 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 large, round loaf of bread
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 4 tablespoons mashed avocado (or guacamole)
- 3-4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced in half
- About 5 ounces smoked salmon
- 1 medium tomato, sliced
- 1 cucumber, very thinly sliced
- Using an electric hand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, ¼ cup dill, and 1 cup of the mayonnaise until easily spreadable.
- Trim the sides of the loaf until it is an even cylinder. Cut cylinder into 4 even slices.
- Position 1 slice on a plate or plater as bottom layer of "cake."
- Spread 1 tablespoon of the mustard onto the top of the bread. Top with sliced hard-boiled eggs and approximately half of your sliced tomatoes.
- Spread 1 tablespoon mustard on one side of another slice of bread, then place it mustard-side down on top of the tomatoes.
- Spread top of the bread (bread layer No. 2) with 2 tablespoons mashed avocado.
- Top with smoked salmon and approximately half of your sliced cucumbers.
- Spread 2 tablespoons of avocado on a third slice of bread, then place it avocado-side down on top of the cucumbers.
- Spread 1 tablespoon mayonnaise on top of that slice of bread and cover with remaining tomatoes and cucumbers.
- Crown with fourth slice of bread.
- Using a spatula, coat sides and top of "cake" evenly with cream cheese mixture. Dust with remaining dried dill.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour, then serve chilled.