Sandwich Cake with Truffle Pâté, adorned with edible flowers

Sandwich Cake with Truffle Pâté

Ingredients 

1 unsliced loaf of whole wheat sandwich bread*

2 persian cucumbers

5.5 oz Three Little Pigs Mousse Truffée

1/3 cup homemade onion chutney (recipe below) or any thick chutney

6 oz mascarpone cheese

6 oz log-style goat cheese, at room temperature

1/4 tsp kosher salt

4–6 sprigs of dill,  for decoration 

tender herbs and edible flowers, for decoration (optional)

*Substitution Note: If you are unable to find an unsliced loaf of sandwich bread, substitute with 8 regular slices. Cut off the crusts, ensuring that all 8 slices are the same size and shape. Then, use 2 side-by-side slices per layer and follow the rest of the recipe accordingly. The cucumber will help to hold the cake together, but you may also wish to chill the frosted sandwich cake for 10–15 minutes before slicing.

Procedure

Assemble the cake: Trim crusts away from the loaf of bread to form a rectangular block with the soft interior. Slice the block lengthwise into 4 equal rectangular slices. Spread one-quarter of the Three Little Pigs Mousse Truffée on each slice. 

Use a veggie peeler on one side of a cucumber and peel thin ribbons of cucumber until the seed core is reached. Flip over cucumber and make ribbons from the other side, then repeat for the other cucumber. Discard the seedy cores. Use paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to blot away excess moisture from the cucumber ribbons. 

Choose one of the bread slices to be the base of the cake, with the pâté side facing up. 

Layer half of the cucumber ribbons on the first bread slice; they may overlap but keep them within the edges of the bread.

Place a second bread slice over the cucumber layer with the pâté side facing down. Then, spread an even layer of onion chutney on top.

Place a third bread slice over the onion chutney layer with the pâté side facing up. Layer on the remaining half of the cucumber ribbons. Then place the fourth and final bread slice over the cucumbers with the pâté side facing down. The final order from bottom to top should be: bread → pâté → cucumber → pâté → bread →  chutney → bread → pâté → cucumber → pâté → bread. Allow the stacked “cake” to chill in the fridge while making the “frosting”.

Frost the cake: To make the frosting, combine the goat cheese, mascarpone, and salt in a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.

Carefully transfer the sandwich cake to the serving platter or board. Using a small offset spatula or butter knife, cover the sandwich cake evenly with the cheese frosting mixture. 

Decorate with fresh dill and other herbs or edible flowers as desired. 

Onion Chutney Recipe

Ingredients for the Onion Chutney

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 lbs red onions (about 3 medium), chopped into 1/4” pieces

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp (packed) fresh thyme leaves

Procedure for the Onion Chutney

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high. Add onions and stir often with a spatula or wooden spoon until their moisture starts to release and evaporate, about 3–4 minutes. Add salt and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent, and they  look and sound dry, about 10–12 minutes.

Reduce heat to low. Stir in  vinegars, sugar, and thyme. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the texture of the mixture is sticky and jammy, about 20–25 minutes. 

Transfer to a clean jar and allow to completely cool before storing in the fridge. This can be made a week in advance of the sandwich cake.

Description

A beautiful cake is always such a treat for the eyes, but not everyone loves sweets. I, for one, am always craving a savory snack over a dessert. I’ll always choose cheddar over chocolate, fungi over fudge, and pâté over peanut butter. I absolutely love decorating cakes but I’ll always find myself wishing that the inside was something that better suits my tastes. Which is why the next time I’m looking to make an edible celebratory centerpiece, I’ll be making this sandwich cake featuring Three Little Pigs Mousse Truffée!

My inspiration for this recipe comes from the Swedish smörgåstårta, which translates to “sandwich-torte”. In these sandwich cakes, the “cake” is actually layers of rye bread, and most recipes I’ve seen involve fillings of mayo combined with shrimp, cured/smoked salmon, or cucumber and other fresh veggies in between. They are then “frosted” with cream cheese and decorated elaborately to look like vegetable explosions! While a cutting into a savory cake may come as a surprise to Americans nowadays, that wasn’t always the case. As I was researching smörgåstårta, I learned that the “sandwich loaf” was once a popular party pleaser here in the U.S. too, back in the mid twentieth century. This, too, was a layered assemblage of bread slices and any number of those retro mayo + meat “salads” of the era, or even processed cheese sauce. Both smörgåstårta and sandwich loafs are served sliced, just like how you would slice up a cake! 

What I’ve taken away from both the Swedish and mid-century American versions is that a sandwich cake is a delicious way to celebrate the everyday for those of us savory food fans, and a fun way to turn any of our favorite sandwich fillings and spreads into an easy showstopper. For my version, I’ve opted for Mousse Truffée because I wanted my sandwich cake to feel like something that ought to be served at an elegant tea party. This pork and chicken liver mousse is super smooth and easy to spread, and I just can’t resist anything with those wonderfully umami flecks of black truffle. To balance the decadent earthy flavors of this pâté, I made my own easy onion chutney, which has a little tanginess in addition to the lovely savory-sweetness of caramelized onions. There’s also ribbons of cucumber throughout to bring some vegetal freshness and, to finish it all off, I’ve opted to make my frosting a little more modern and sophisticated by skipping the mayo and making a smooth  mixture of mascarpone and goat cheese.

What you’ll need to make this sandwich cake:

  • Bread: In place of what we’d conventionally think of as cake, this sandwich cake’s structural layers are actually sliced bread! I recommend buying a whole loaf of sandwich bread that was baked in a rectangular loaf pan. This way, you can slice it lengthwise yourself, and each layer of your cake will be one long slice. If you can’t find a whole loaf, you can still use pre-sliced bread and each of your cake layers will be made up of two side-by-side slices; if using this substitution, you may wish to chill the frosted sandwich cake for 10–15 minutes before slicing so it holds together better. While we won’t be using the crusts for this recipe, they should definitely be saved to make croutons, bread pudding, or stuffing.
  • Mouse Truffée: The main flavor for our savory cake comes from the truffle pâté, an artisanal pork and chicken liver mousse, with truffles, sherry and Pineau des Charentes. Grab a 5.5 ounce pack, which is the perfect amount for two of the filling layers in this sandwich cake recipe.
  • Persian cucumbers: To bring some freshness that is also reminiscent of fancy English tea sandwiches, the pâté layers of this cake also contain ribbon-thin layers of cucumber. We’ll only be using the fleshy part of the cucumbers to avoid the sandwich cake becoming too soggy. I like to use a vegetable peeler to make the thin cucumber ribbons, or you could also use a mandoline. 
  • Homemade onion chutney: A layer of sweet-savory onion chutney is the perfect addition to this sandwich cake for balancing out the rich, earthy flavors of the pâté. The recipe is super easy—just allow the chopped onions to get caramelized; add red wine and balsamic vinegars, sugar, a pinch of salt, and fresh thyme; and then reduce until it’s all thick, sticky, and jammy. It can even be made ahead so it’s ready to go when it’s time to assemble the sandwich cake. But if you want to keep it super easy, you can certainly substitute with your favorite savory store-bought jammy chutney instead.
  • Goat cheese and mascarpone: I skipped the more retro mayonnaise and cream cheese options for “frosting” my sandwich cake; instead, I wanted tangy goat cheese to be the main frosting flavor. This recipe utilizes the soft goat cheese that is sold as a log; it’s typically labeled “chèvre” here in the U.S, (even though this could refer to any variety of French goat milk cheese). This cheese can be a bit strong on its own, which is why I diluted it with the mascarpone, which simply has a very mild flavor of sweet cream. If you don’t like the taste of chèvre, you could substitute with well-drained ricotta. To make the frosting nice and smooth, it’s easiest to combine these in a food processor but you could also use a hand mixer or do it with muscle power!
  • Dill and other decorations: Using dill to decorate the sandwich cake does double duty of looking pretty and bringing a bold herb flavor that I think goes so well with the flavors within. There’s a lot of creaminess going on here and the dill is a great contrast. You can skip it if you don’t like its strong taste but I totally recommend it if you like dill-y things! Beyond that, feel free to decorate with whatever herbs and organic safe-to-eat flowers you wish! I used parsley, geraniums, daisies, and chamomile flowers. 

How to assemble the layers of the sandwich cake: 

Your final layered sandwich cake should be assembled in this order from bottom to top: bread → pâté → cucumber → pâté → bread →  chutney → bread → pâté → cucumber → pâté → bread.

Start by trimming off all the crusts off your loaf of bread to form a nice rectangular block. Then, slice this bread block lengthwise into four (4) equal slices. 

Spread one-quarter of the 5.5 ounce package of Three Little Pigs Mousse Truffée on each of the long, rectangular bread slices. Choose one of the bread slices to be the base of the cake, with the pâté side facing UP. 

Use a veggie peeler on one side of a cucumber and peel thin ribbons of cucumber until you get to the seed core. Flip over and do the same on the other side, then repeat for the other cucumber. Use paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to blot away the excess moisture. Layer half of the cucumber ribbons on the first bread slice; they can overlap but take care to keep them within the edges of the bread (for me, this turned out to be about two layers of cucumber ribbons distributed over the pâté).

Place another bread slice over the cucumber layer with the pâté side facing DOWN. Then, spread an even layer of onion chutney on top.

Place the next bread slice over the onion chutney layer with the pâté side facing UP. Layer on the remaining half of the cucumber ribbons. Then place the final bread slice over the cucumbers with the pâté side facing DOWN. Your cake layers are assembled!

All that’s left to do after that is whip up the goat cheese frosting, coat your savory stacked creation, and then the fun part: decorating! 

Easy, right? Basically, if you can make a sandwich, you can make a sandwich cake! If you have someone special in your life who is loves foraged truffles over the cocoa-covered confections, or you’re a member of Team Savory yourself, I hope you’ll try this sandwich cake idea—whether it’s to celebrate an occasion or simply to make something special out of an ordinary day.

Author: Lily Morello