Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Vegan Smörgåstårta (Swedish Sandwich Cake)

August is Swedish cuisine month here at Gormandize, which is proving to be a delicious exploration for me! You may remember back a couple of months ago when I invented Cake Sandwiches and very excitedly shared them with you! Well, now here is the opposite - a Sandwich Cake! I most certainly can't claim to have invented this one though, it is a traditional Swedish dish called Smörgåstårta.        

Smörgåstårta is commonly made in Sweden with salad and seafood ingredients, lots of cream cheese and mayonnaise as the icing/frosting. Typically they are decorated extravagantly with smoked salmon, cocktail prawns, boiled eggs and a variety of salad ingredients (you can check out a whole variety of ones here). These are not the most vegan friendly ingredients, however, the great thing about smörgåstårta is that it's really up to you what you want to put in or on it - just like a sandwich!

In Sweden, where this dish is made very often, I understand that you can buy round pieces of bread to use just for this purpose. However, this is not commonly available in Australia, so I was faced with a bit of a bread issue. I had seen several smörgåstårta online which were made with a loaf of bread in a log shape, they looked pretty good - but it just wasn't the same. I knew that I definitely wanted my smörgåstårta round like a proper cake and carved into big wedges to eat!

So, I came to the conclusion that I'd have to make my own bread for it, so that it could be the shape that I wanted. It sounds like a lot of effort - but actually it wasn't. Just cook your bread in a springform cake tin and you will end up with cake-shaped bread which is easy to work with and has the extra deliciousness of being freshly baked bread! I used the bread recipe from this smörgåstårta on saveur.com and it worked out perfectly.

In terms of fillings, you can really do whatever you like. So incorporate your favourite sandwich filling, it's easy! I stayed with a fairly "traditional" filling of cream cheese, cucumber, avocado and lettuce. But when it comes to topping it off, I recommend using the most colourful things you can find! I used parsley, radishes, avocado, cucumber, grape tomatoes and spanish onion. But lots of other things would work great and look super colourful - including olives, grated carrot, roasted pumpkin, yellow tomatoes, corn - and anything else you can think of, just have fun with it, because I can testify that it is a lot of fun!

Vegan Smörgåstårta (Swedish Sandwich Cake)


The Bread (adapted from Saveur.com)
1 1/2 tbsp dried yeast
2 cups warm water (about 37C)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp agave nectar
2 tsp canola oil
5 cups plain white flour (may need more if necessary)

First Layer
1/3 cup herb & garlic vegan cream cheese (I used ready made tofutti herb and garlic cream cheese - you can make your own by taking your plain vegan cream cheese and adding chopped chives and some lightly fried chopped garlic)
2 cucumbers

Second Layer
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

Cream Cheese "Icing"
230g vegan cream cheese (1 tub tofutti cream cheese)
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp finely chopped dill

1/4 cup finely chopped continental parsley
1/8 cup finely chopped dill
Grape or cherry tomatoes
1/3 spanish onion, finely diced

To Make

1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the agave nectar, salt and oil and stir well.
2. Add the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon. Once the dough becomes too thick, use your hands to knead the remaining flour in until the dough has enough flour so that it doesn't stick to your fingers, but don't add too much. 
3. Cover the dough in the mixing bowl well (I just use a tea towel) and place in a warm spot to rise for 45 minutes (please read my post here on the fabled 'warm spot' in which dough rises!).
4. Remove the dough and knead briefly. Lightly grease a 23cm springform cakepan and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Place the dough in the pan and press out flat over the bottom.
5. Cover again and let rise for another 45 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 200C and bake the bread for 30-35 minutes. You may want to switch your oven to the "bottom only" setting for the last 5 minutes to ensure it cooks on the bottom evenly.
7. Allow to cool. Once cool trim off the crusty top and and crusty edges and slice the bread into three even layers.

Second Layer
1. Cream the avocado and sour cream together and season to taste with salt and pepper. Try to make it as smooth as possible, you may like to do this in a blender or food processor to make it completely smooth.

Cream Cheese "Icing"
1. Cream the vegan cream cheese, sour cream, dill and salt until smooth. Use electric beaters and lift then up and down through the mix as you beat to try aerate the mixture as much as possible.

1. Place the bottom layer of bread on the plate you're going to serve it on (trust me, you don't want to have to try and move it after you have assembled and decorated it).
2. Spread the herb and garlic cream cheese over it and then layer with sliced cucumber.

3. Add the next layer of bread. Spread it with about 2/3 of the avocado. Top with the shredded lettuce.
4. Add the final layer of bread.

5. Cover the whole thing with the vegan cream cheese "icing" as if you were frosting a cake - all over the sides and the top.
6. Put the remaining avocado mixture in a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe it around the edges, or whatever you like.
7. Decorate however you like!

Makes 1 big cake, serves about 8 people. Perfect as part of a buffet, potluck or smorgasboard!


  1. This is hands down the most awesome thing I have EVER seen! Can't wait to make it next weekend!!!

  2. Nice take on the Nordic classic! Some cakes are round, but at least here in Finland the most common shape is a square one. It's also a bit more easier to evenly moisturize the square cake than a round one, I've heard.

    Here's a few pictures about our take on smörgåstårta a couple of months ago: https://elitefood.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/happy-birthday-to-you/ (yes, it makes a fantastic birthday cake as well!)

    - nomad/elitefood

  3. Wow, that looks divine... I will definitely have to find time to make this one! I think this would go over very well at a brunch of a barbecue.

  4. YUUUUUMMMMM That is amazing looking! I had never even heard of sandwich cake but this looks like the perfect thing for a party.

  5. I just stumbled across your blog. How creative! I have spent a lot of time in Finland, the recipe for Smorgastorta that is my favorite (voileipakakku in Finnish) uses a dense bread. Here in the US the closest I have found is cocktail bread, tiny bread that is the type usually used for hors d'oeuvres. You cut off the crust and mix it with melted margarine (of course original recipe calls for butter). Press into a springform pan and then make your topping on top of that. You can then peel the sides of the springform pan away and it looks great. 300 g bread and 75-100 g margarine. You only have one layer, but I just wanted to give another option for the crust. The previous poster is correct, I think the usual shape in Finland is definitely square or rectangular. But we like the single layer round one. It also doesn't dry out because of the bread being so thoroughly coated with margarine.

    I am going to try your recipe as soon as I can. It is beautiful.

  6. I forgot to add another nice flavor for the "cream cheese" is to mix in cognac and black pepper. You can also do different flavors on different layers if you are doing more than one layer.

    1. That sounds like an interesting combination, I'd love to try that! I will be travelling to Finland later this year so I'll keep my eye out and hopefully get to try a Finnish one! Thanks for your comments and tips.

  7. This is one of the best representation of a recipe I have seen. I am currently living in Sweden and was checking out if I could make any vegetarian Swedish recipes, when I stumped upon your blog. Loved all the posts.. and will surely try this out...

    Do visit my blog if are interested in Indian vegetarian cooking... http://mykitchenfantasies.blogspot.com

    I am a sure follower of your blog from today.. :)

    1. Thanks Bhavana for stopping by and for following. I've just been to Sweden and the food was so amazing! Smorgastarta is really fun to make, let me know how you go with it! I love Indian cooking, so I'll be sure to check out your recipes.

  8. I can make this raw make a raw flax onion bread, cashew cream cheese and the remaining vegetables

  9. Hi, this looks and sounds delicious. Can this be made ahead of time or will it get soggy?

  10. Hi Kate, the bread can be made ahead of time and stored well. I would probably think that the cake needs to be assembled on the same day you are going to serve it, otherwise the bread might get a bit stale. No problem with making it in the morning and then serving it for dinner through, that's what I did and it was great :)