The Season of Celebrations
As the season of celebrations approaches I thought I would share a very traditional Finnish savory dish that has been done in a very non-Finnish way.
The sandwich cake or voileipäkakku is served at many graduation and confirmation parties as well as at baptisms. I was able to make one for a friend this past weekend and I thought to give it an untraditional twist in flavor.
The sandwich cake is basically a loaf of good quality bread sliced lengthwise. Each layer is filled with a filling, often alternating between two different fillings. The most common sandwich cakes have either a meat filling or a fish filling. The recipe below uses meat as one ingredient. The frosting is often a cream cheese or mayonnaise. My recipe uses a combination of marscapone and cream cheese. I find that cream cheese has a fairly strong flavor and the marscapone brings a nice soft flavor and texture.
Sandwich cake with asparagus
Start by slicing the bread lenghtwise and cutting off both the top and bottom crusts. For this cake I actually used two loaves of bread side by side so that it made a bigger cake. Make sure to cut away the crusts since that will insure ease when cutting and serving the cake.
Next make the fillings. Feel free to use your imagination. I veered away from the traditional fillings and made a pesto for one layer and used a good quality hummus to flavor the second filling.
2 handfuls of fresh basil (about 40 grams)
1 clove of garlic
0.6 dl/ 1/4 c pine nuts
50 g parmesean cheese
little dash of sea salt
0.6 dl/ 1/4 c olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
Place in the blender and pulse until fairly smooth.
Mix the pesto with 100g /3.5 oz of cream cheese and 125 g/4.4 oz marscapone cheese. When combined at 100 g /3.5 oz of finely chopped good quality deli ham.
Beef and hummus filling:
20 g/ 0.7 oz chopped fresh parsley
A few sprigs of chives, chopped finely
100 g/3.5 oz deli cut peppered beef finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper finely chopped
3 generous tablespoons of hummus
200 g /7 oz cream cheese
125 g/4.4 oz marscapone cheese
Before spreading the filling on each layer pour milk in a glass and spoon it on the bread to soften it up a bit. The amount of milk needed depends on the bread. If the bread if very soft less milk will be needed and for a more courser grain bread a little more milk is necessary.
After the sandwich cake has been filled, cut off the crusts and cover with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.
250 g/8.8 oz marscapone cheese
300g /10.6 oz cream cheese
handful of parsley, chopped finely
2 tbsp of finely chopped fresh chives
dash of freshly ground chili flakes
Mix until smooth and spread evenly over the sandwich cake.
Since asparagus is in season and it is a nice looking vegetable I thought to try for a springy “asparagus forest” look. I cut away the tough ends and peeled away the tougher skin along the bottom half of the stem before steaming them lightly in the microwave. After steaming them, drizzle olive oil and lightly season them with salt and pepper. Allow to cool a bit before placing them on the cake. The top is garnished with prosciutto ham tied with a sprig of fresh chives. The decorating part is fun since there are really no rules to follow, just be creative!