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Savory sandwich add special touch to celebrations

Meet smörgåstårta, your new favorite party recipe. Smörgåstårta (pronounced SMORE-gas-TOR-ta) is simply a beautifully decorated savory sandwich cake. It’s popular when celebrating special occasions in Sweden. To celebrate Mother’s Day and honor the influential women in your life, may I suggest serving a smörgåstårta?

The sandwich cake is more of a technique than a recipe; it’s a blank canvas ready for whatever creativity you would impart upon it. You can make a cake any size or shape you wish, round, square or rectangle. There are no rules when it comes to fillings or decorations. The decoration can be as simple or elaborate as you desire. You can use one filling or choose several for color and flavor contrast (just be sure the flavors are complementary).

This cake uses cream cheese so if you’re lactose intolerant, keep walking. Nothing to see here.

Typically, the smörgåstårta would be brimming with smoked salmon, shrimp and garnished with caviar. If you can afford that, please indulge. I chose economical options to be sure it’s within most people’s budgets. If you can afford to serve sandwiches and salad, then you can afford to make this spectacular cake.

The cake is made by layering bread with fillings, then decorating, like regular sweet layer cake. It’s wonderful because you don’t have to be particularly artistic to create a masterpiece. Using sliced vegetables as decor, the beauty of nature takes care of that.

To begin, you cut the crusts off the bread (make breadcrumbs). Use any bread: French loaf, round boule, even sandwich bread. It gets covered so don’t stress the bread (hello day-old rack). Spread each side of the bread with a mixture of cream cheese and butter to act as a moisture barrier to keep the bread from getting soggy. Place a layer of bread, cover with filling, and repeat as desired.

When you’ve built your giant sandwich, pop it in the fridge to firm up, ideally overnight. Use the “frosting” recipe below to frost the cake and decorate as desired. Use Google to search spectacular images of sandwich cakes for inspiration.

Some helpful tips: Make the smörgåstårta the day before your party as it gets better as flavors marry but save decorating for right before your event. Prepare this on the platter you intend to serve upon; it won’t transfer well. Make sure it fits in your fridge because it’ll be there overnight. Add loads of texture to your fillings with celery, nuts and apple to avoid making an unappetizing cream cheese sandwich. If you make a tall cake, use skewers to stabilize it, but don’t forget to remove them before you serve — because perforated trachea.

Since we don’t know how big your sandwich will be, these recipes make approximately 3 cups each. Adjust them accordingly. Err on the side of too much, rather than have a skimpy sammie. Worst case, you have cracker toppings and salad bits for the week.

The recipes used in the photo are below. All vegetable components are chopped or minced as you wish.

Whipped cream cheese: For every pound (two 8-ounce packages) add one tablespoon cold water and whip with a stand mixer or hand mixer for about 10 minutes. To flavor this for “frosting,” add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon each of garlic powder and onion powder.

Zesty salmon: In a small bowl, blend ¼ cup whipped cream cheese, ¼ cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard or horseradish.

In a mixing bowl, place 1 14.75-ounce can salmon, flaked with bone and skin removed, ½ cup celery, ½ cup cucumber, ¼ cup green onion, ¼ cup red pepper, 1/8 cup dill pickle, 1 tablespoon parsley and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.

Combine the cream cheese mixture with the salmon mixture and mix thoroughly.

Shrimp salad: In a small bowl, blend ½ cup whipped cream cheese, ¼ cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning.

In a mixing bowl, place ¾ of a pound, 12 ounces, salad shrimp, ½ cup celery, ½ cup yellow pepper, ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, ¼ cup green onion, 2 tablespoons purple onion and 1 hard-boiled egg, chopped.

Combine the cream cheese mixture with the shrimp mixture and mix thoroughly.

Green goddess: In a small bowl, blend ½ cup whipped cream cheese, 1 avocado, 2 tablespoons parsley, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt and black pepper.

In a mixing bowl, place 1 cup cucumber, 1 cup celery, ¼ cup green onion and ¼ cup yellow or green pepper.

Combine the cream cheese mixture with the vegetable mixture and mix thoroughly.

This is what happens when white bread dares to dream. Happy Mother’s Day.

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is a recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com.

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