Sunday, 4 March 2012

Voileipäkakku - Finnish savoury sandwich cake

My grandmother and Mum did the catering for our wedding. It was an intimate affair at my Mum’s gorgeous abode with family and our closest friends. Our dear friend Owen was in charge of the bar (a job he did well and with pride) and my Mum was the hostess extraordinaire. From as long as I can recall the women in my family have always put on a good spread, Finnish women are born with that natural culinary flair!

One of the dishes my grandmother made which impressed the most was Voileipäkakku, which translates to 'sandwich cake'. It is traditionally a long loaf of bread, sliced horizontally, then layered with various savoury fillings and fabulously garnished. My grandmother made two varieties for our wedding – meat and seafood. Once the layers are filled the cake is covered in cream cheese or dip and decorated with caviar, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, parsley and various other toppings. The cake is sliced vertically to reveal all the layers and the array of colours of the filling.

I wanted to make Voileipäkakku for my Mum’s visit last weekend, but I knew if I made an entire loaf I would wind up eating whatever she didn’t. So instead I made smaller individual cakes. I didn’t follow the traditional Finnish recipe for Voileipäkakku, which involves brushing the day old bread slices with stock, filling, and leaving overnight. This is my own technique based on the idea of Voileipäkakku, without following the traditional method. I made it minutes before my Mum arrived. She devoured it minutes after arriving.

Of course you can use whatever meat and vegetables you like to fill and top Voileipäkakku. I made a meat one for my Mum and a seafood one for my husband. The following ingredients make one individual cake.

4 slices of white bread
2 slices Jarlsberg cheese
2 slices ham
1 slice sandwich salami 
Cherry tomatoes
Continental cucumber
Spreadable cream cheese

Using a large round cookie cutter cut round circles in each slice of bread. Discard the crusts. (I don’t have a cookie cutter so I used an egg ring.)

Place the first layer down, and spread mayonnaise on top. Place ham on the first layer of bread. Place the second slice of bread on top and cover with mayonnaise and slices of jarlsberg cheese (I cut mine into small slices to fit the circle shape, however you can cut bigger slices with the cookie cutter to make circle shapes). Place the third slice of bread on top, cover with mayonnaise and another slice of ham. Top with the fourth slice of bread. Gently cover the entire sandwich with cream cheese. 

Using a vegetable peeler cut long strips of cucumber and place gently around the edge of the sandwich to cover the sides. Garnish the top of the sandwich with any vegetables you like. Radish circles look great, as do halved cherry tomatoes. Top with herbs to add some green colour. I had an idea to cover the sides with thinly sliced boiled egg, however I wasn’t sure if they would stick as well as the cucumber.

This is how it looks cut in half.

For the seafood one I layered the centre with smoked salmon and cheese, and garnished the top with caviar and dill. 

I used fresh white bread however it would be nice with rye bread alternated with white bread. My Mum also suggested making smaller bite size portions, how appealing would they look on a platter with all the colours of the garnish!

Eventually I will make a traditional Voileipäkakku, and of course I will post the recipe. Until then, give this easy but impressive treat a go.


  1. Wow - I have never seen anything like this.
    That sure takes the humble sandwich to a whole new level!!!
    How gorgeous.
    :-) xx

    1. Funny enough I didn't try either of them but both my Mum and hubby loved them. My grandmother's traditional version was always delicious. Will make some more soon so I can enjoy them too. :)

  2. That is just spectacular Peggy. What an incredible idea, so eye catching and SO healthy, got to love that. How lovely that you put a traditional recipe into practice for your Mama's visit. Gorgeous photos xo

    1. Thank you Jules, I am always inspired to try out something Finnish for my Mum. I know she absolutely appreciates and loves it.

      They are very healthy, I think little bite sized portions would really impress the kids. Might have to try some at the next birthday party. Goodbye sausage rolls and party pies! xo

  3. It was absolutely delish. The old finnish style is made of rye and white bread, though my mother used quite often wholemeal instead of rye. The bite size can be cut into a squares, out of normal sliced bread by cutting the crust of you'll still get four nice bite size ones. Great "vinger vood"!
    Well done Pegs and the cake was lovely too. xxoo

    1. Thanks Mum, I've glad you loved it. That is some compliment coming from the Finnish culinary queen! I am going to try the smaller bite size portions soon, great idea. 'Vinger vood' indeed! xo

      ps...Are you coming back yet? I'll make more cake...

    2. How come I didn't get to drink my coffee from the fancy cup....I had to dring from a mug(:

    3. haha but it was a Marimekko mug! ;)


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