Yes, you heard me right, I said sandwich cake. I just recently heard about this Swedish specialty and simply couldn’t wait to have an excuse to try making one. What is a sandwich cake, you might ask? It is simply that, a sandwich made to look like a cake. Why would someone want to take a perfectly good sandwich and turn into something resembling a cake? Well, because it's fun! My first attempt at making one was a blast, and my guests were giddy with delight at the vision of something so beautiful and interesting.
I do not want to profess to be an expert at making Sandwich Cakes, but I thought it would be fun to share this idea on our blog. There are a good number of photos, videos and blogs out there on the subject so I would recommend taking a peek at others to see how they have approached this dish. I knew that on my first attempt I wanted to spend less time making the actual cake (I wanted that part to be easy) and more time on the decorating! I’ll attempt to share with you what I learned versus spend a ton of time telling you how to make one since there are so many videos and recipes out there. Here are some ones I found helpful:
I chose to purchase a standard loaf of whole wheat sliced bread. I wanted something that was moist and more cake-like, and I thought it would cut more easily. I thought the more standard square shape of the pieces would lend themselves to less waste and a more easily achieved standard shape.
I made one small cake that was round for the birthday girl and a larger one that was square. I think the square shape is easier than the round to assemble, slice and frost. The square gives you more area to decorate too, which can be good or bad considering your comfort with decorating.
You can achieve a round cake by either trimming the sides of the cake to turn it from square to a round shape or starting with round bread. You can buy a round loaf or bake your own bread in a cake pan. If you are a bread baker, this might be a fun new way to challenge your bread baking skills.
I think the bread I chose was a little too soft however, and I would choose a better quality of bread next time, something a little denser. I also would like something with more flavor like a rye bread. I think that would be delicious and look really sharp.
How much bread you need will depend on how many layers you want in your cake. I did four layers of bread with 4 slices of bread each layer. You can certainly increase both the number of layers and the diameter of the sandwich cake. Your best bet is just to do the math and multiply the number of layers you want by the number of slices you plan to use for each layer.
You can pretty much put any filling you want into your sandwich cake; you could even do a peanut butter and jelly one if you want! I did three different layers, one being smoked salmon, capers and cream cheese, but smoked salmon was pretty much all I could taste. I also would not personally use cream cheese in one of the layers again, since it is what the cake is iced with it. It was just too much cream cheese! I would probably stick to one main flavor in my filling next time. I think tuna, chicken, egg, shrimp or crab salad would be great. A really great smoked ham, cold cuts and salamis would be delicious in a sub-type sandwich cake. A club cake with turkey, tomato, bacon and lettuce would also be fantastic.
I used cucumber on one layer, but I would slice them thicker next time. I personally would like a little more crunch and texture in the sandwich. I think minced celery in your seafood salads, sliced onions, banana peppers or romaine lettuce would also add a great crunch to your sandwich cake.
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese softened
1 1/2 cups sour cream
Mix the cream cheese until fluffy and incorporate the sour cream. Leave at room temperature to frost.
This was the perfect amount of icing for the size of cake I made. It covered the big cake as well as the little one I made. I think this amount would certainly cover a slightly larger version of the cake I made.
This frosting was easy to spread and work with. I will say it was a whole lot of cream cheese frosting for my taste. I might also consider leaving the sides un-frosted next time. The interior is pretty, so I think that could look really nice too. I think a better quality bread with more texture also allows you to spread a thinner layer of the cream cheese frosting.
Sandwich Cake Step by Step
- Cut a piece of cardboard to use as a cake board if you don’t have one. You can cover it with foil or plastic wrap ,if you like.
- Make the icing.
- Lay out the pieces of bread in a square.
- Place the filling on the bread and repeat with as many layers as you chose.
- Frost the cake with the icing and refrigerate overnight until icing is firm.
- If you like, smooth out the icing a little bit with a knife or palette.
- Garnish the cake.
Look around online for sandwich cake inspiration; there are some really stunning versions. You can pretty much put whatever you want on top of the cake, but keep it edible. The other rule of garnishing is that it should relate to what is inside but I don’t think that is as critical here as it might be in other dishes. You might decide to put sliced ham on top or your egg salad sandwich cake and that would be delicious and pretty because they go together. You might put hard boiled egg slices on top of your tuna salad sandwich cake, yummy!
As a general rule, I would pick herbs that are good eaten fresh such as: parsley, dill, tarragon, cilantro, basil, mint, chervil and chives. Herbs like rosemary and oregano can be too strong eaten raw, but you can also pull them off the cake before serving if that is what you really want to use.
List of garnish ideas:
- Tomato, lemon, radish roses
- Lettuce leaves
- Hard boiled eggs
- Radishes, cherry tomatoes, peas, asparagus spears
- Cucumber, lemon or lime slices
- Cucumber or carrot rolls (slice them with a peeler and roll)
- Meat and cheese rolls
- Fresh herb sprigs
- Microgreens or sprouts
- Pickles, capers, olives
Here's a video on how to make a tomato rose:
Pro Tips for garnishing:
- Create a focal point and work outwards from there. For my cake, I created the ham flower first and built around it.
- Height is essential to this so build up and pile things at different heights; it creates more visual appeal.
Serving the cake
Depending on your garnishes, you might wonder how on earth you are going to slice and serve this cake. What I did was to serve some of the garnishes as appetizers, we ate all the ham off the cake before I cut it. I removed the remainder of my garnishes and then cut the cake. I put a few of the garnishes on each individual piece of cake. I don’t think this is absolutely necessary, since your cake may be more easily cut through than what I designed.
I'd love to hear from you if you try making one of the festive and unusual sandwich cakes in the future. Let me know how it comes out and share your lessons learned.
If you are looking for some real sweets and not something disguised as one, check out our Virtual Baking Demo: Creme Brulee on Saturday, September 19 at 10am.