September 09, 2011

30


Today I turn 30. It's a nice round number don't you think? I am expecting much more authority and credibility with this age, but lets face it... 30 really isn't that old, now is it ;-)

The last year of my 20's has certainly been one of the most memorable years so far. We travelled to Japan and Finland, I had a career change, we got engaged and now we are one major step closer to owning a new home (keep those fingers crossed!). Needless to say I have high expectations for my first year of the 30's too, but since I am highly superstitious, I won't jinx anything just yet...

As celebrating my birthday goes, some of you may have seen on Twitter that I turned down an offer to dine at Sydney's famous Tetsuya's restaurant. Why? Because I can think of a million better ways to use that money, and I really prefer something much lower key. It's a rainy day here in Sydney too - looks like Mother Nature decided to remind me that I am indeed an Autumn baby, not a Spring baby like the Australian calendar is trying to make me believe :-)

So I decided to make myself a tradition Nordic cake for the day. Voileipäkakku or smörgåstårta (literally sandwich cake) is often served at Christenings, birthdays and pretty much at any celebrations across the Nordic countries. The cake can be layered with a variety of savoury fillings, but I've made it vegetarian and introduced some new flavours in the way of sun-dried tomatoes and tzatziki. I've kept the traditionally heavy cake (which uses mayonnaise and cream in the filling) light by using wholemeal bread, Greek yoghurt and light ricotta. There are a few steps in preparing this cake, but I think it makes it all the more satisfying and special.

And PS. Don't worry, there will be another sweet birthday treat to follow later this weekend ;-)


Wish you all a great weekend ahead!


 Voileipäkakku*
(serves 4-6)
1 loaf of bread (I used this one)
1/4 lemon, juiced

500g pot-set Greek yoghurt, drained for at least half an hour

50 g semi-dried tomatoes
1 small red capsicum (bell pepper)
freshly ground black pepper

15cm piece cucumber
tiny piece of fresh garlic
freshly ground black pepper
tiny pinch of salt
tiny dash of white wine vinegar

200g smooth ricotta (cream cheese or other with similar consistency)
zest of one lemon
lettuce and fresh herbs for decoration

* you need to start this recipe at least one day ahead.

1. Start by draining the yoghurt and grating and draining the cucumber.

2. There will be two different fillings to this cake. For the first filling, mix half of the drained yoghurt with finely diced capsicum and chopped semi-dried tomatoes. Season the mixture with freshly ground black pepper and set aside.

3. For the second filling, mix the rest of the drained yoghurt with grated and drained cucumber and grated garlic. Season the mixture with a small dash of white wine vinegar, freshly ground black pepper and a small pinch of salt. Set aside.

4. Cut the loaf lengthwise into 4 layers. Cut the crusts out. Place the first layer on a large flat dish and brush the layer with lemon juice-water mixture (about 1/4 part lemon juice to 3/4 parts water). Alternatively you can use vegetable stock or milk for this. 

5. Spread half of the tomato-capsicum filling evenly on the first layer. Place a second layer of bread on top and brush it with lemon-water. 

6. Spread half of the tzatziki mixture on the second layer and top again with bread. Brush with lemon-water. Continue with third and forth layers leaving the final piece of bread (crusts removed) on top. Brush that too with lemon-water. 

7. Cover the cake with cling wrap. Place a tray and a small weight on top of the cake and refrigerate over-night.

8. The next day, remove the cling wrap, spread lemon flavoured ricotta evenly on top of the cake and decorate it with fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, etc. Slice up and enjoy!


Alternative fillings:

smoked salmon, trout or gravlax and fish roe
prawns
meat (ham)

Instead of ricotta you could use cream cheese, soft goat cheese, even mascarpone would probably work. Just remember to keep it savoury, that's the whole point of this cake! You could use traditional mixture of mayonnaise and cream with the filling of your choice. You could also make this using shop-bought bread (of course), but I think it's much more satisfying to make completely from scratch. 


Enjoy!

67 comments:

  1. Happy B'day maria...enjoy the "dirty thirties"! Love this cake!

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  2. Paljon Onnea Maria! I'm making a sandwich cake next week for a meeting and it's going to be vegetarian as well :) Have a great birthday!!

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  3. Happy birthday! Your Nordic cake looks great, but I'm glad to hear you are also having a sweet treat for your birthday.

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  4. Happy Birthday Maria. A very healthy and delicious cake. Love it.

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  5. happy birthday Maria, and hope you have a lovely weekend x

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  6. Happy birthday and welcome to the 30s - you're in good company! What an interesting concept for a cake...

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  7. Absolutely beautiful...those herbs on top made my jaw drop. It is so interesting to see a savory cake like this.
    Happy Birthday!

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  8. Happy birthday! Wish you a lot of happy moments, smiles and dreams come true :)

    30 is wonderful! My 30 birthday was the best ever, I got married one month before it and was just back from a gorgeous honeymoon in Paris & London. Ever since things got only better in my personal, professional, etc life. 30's are the new golden age ;)

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  9. very health cake!

    happy birthday :)

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  10. happy birthday!!

    i adore smorgastorta - my grandma makes one for christmas eve each year, and it's just so delicious... and a nice change from something too sweet :)

    thanks again for an amazing trip to Mosman last week - i thoroughly enjoyed meeting you!

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  11. Happy Birthday Maria..hope you enjoy your day..this is an unusual cake but really pretty & healthy too!

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  12. Happy Birthday Maria! Minullakin on tänään syntymäpäivä,jaamme siis saman päivämäärän,9.9:)
    Ihana voileipäkakku,tuollaisen ottaisin mielelläni syntäymäpäiväkakuksi:)

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  13. Happy birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day.
    And the cake looks lovely, and sounds pretty unique too.

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  14. Happy Birthday, Maria! Have a wonderful day.

    That cake looks so fresh and delicious! A perfect picnic item.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  15. The sandwich cake looks very delicious.
    Hope you have a wonderful year ahead - 30 is a good age to be!

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  16. Very interesting cake! Happy birthday and happy 30s! :)

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  17. happy birthday wonderful you! :D the big 30 eh. life goes downhill from here. HEHE JOKING. I love being 30+ and you will too! xxx

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  18. Happy Birthday my darling. I did nothing over the top for my recent 40th other than a quiet dinner with friends. Pretty cake!

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  19. Happy 30th birthday! How exciting! Many say life begins at 30 so here's to many fabulous years ahead.

    P.S. Love that you prefer to do something more lo-key - much more my style, too! :) Have a lovely celebration.

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  20. Wow! Happy birthday, and enjoy all those changes and opportunities that lay ahead for you. I turned 30 myself while living in Finland (in Turku, exactly) and I know so well how you celebrate there those round numbers. I loved this cake and now I know how to prepare it in a lighter way. Thanks for that and all the best for your new year.
    Hugs.

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  21. Happy birthday! Welcome to the 30s club!

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  22. Happy birthday! I'm turning 31 at the end of the month and I have to say that 30 was one of the best years of mu life. Hope yours is equally fantastic!!!

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  23. Happy Birthday! We share the autumn baby and the sign of virgo. Mine is Sept. 22nd. Last time I celebrated it in Sydney was a few years ago at a great Greek place in Leichhardt called Nostos. Amazing place.

    Best of luck on the house and your work this year!

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  24. Happy Birthday! Oh to be 30 again. I was having first baby at 30. How time flies. I hope you had a great day. The cake looks sensational!

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  25. Happy birthday Maria!!!!!! I hope you have a wonderful birthday.

    Love this cake, it looks fantastic!

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  26. Happy Birthday Maria! I wish you all the best and let me assure you, entering your 30s is a blast!
    I love your Nordic dish with Greek influences ;)

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  27. Oh happy happy birthday my friend! I hope you have an amazing day and weekend and that cake looks divine. It is a shame though your making your own treat:) If I were there I would whip up something for ya!

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  28. Don't worry, 30's only gets better! I loved my 30's and am quite enjoying moving into my 40's. Good luck with the house hunting and Happy Birthday to you! Celebrating the hubby's birthday over here...

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  29. Happy Birthday!
    Wow that cakes looks lovely. And 30 is not old (I am 34 this year). Just think that when you are 80, you will look back at being 30 and think you were in the prime of your youth!
    I found your blog from Not Just Apples and I love it - I have never eaten anything Scandinavian, so look forward to trying some new dishes.
    Lu x

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  30. happy birthday!!! oh a savory cake, really? that's so cool, I have never heard of anything like that! Very interesting.
    I wish you all the best for the year to come --inspiration, success and a new house! :)

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  31. Happy Birthday!

    & the cake looks delish...but I'm glad you're having a sweet one too :)

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  32. Happy birthday, Maria! I hope year 30 bring everything you hope for and more. I've never seen a cake with those ingredients—I'm intrigued!

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  33. Happy Birthday! We love that cake - it reminds me of big celebrations in Sweden with Mats' family. I have had plenty of seafood versions in the past but never a veggie one - so it's a recipe to bookmark. Can't wait to see the sweet treat!

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  34. Happy Birthday! I love the look of that savoury cake ... very Heston Blumenthal in its looks-sweet-but-isn't-ness ;)

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  35. Happy Birthday! Wishing you all the best. No reason to worry about the 30s. I think they are cool (and much less nerve-wracking).

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  36. Happy Birthday!! That is such a beautiful birthday cake!! Love how creamy, dreamy and green it is ;)

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  37. Happy Birthday Maria!! Wishing you all the best in your first year of the 30s. May all your dreams and plans come true!
    I actually like the sound of this age. I'll join the club in just a couple of days, and I think I will make myself this cake. It's very original and sounds super yummy.

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  38. Oikein paljon onnea, Maria!

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  39. A very happy birthday to you! I am intrigued by this cake and love the ingredients. Enjoy your weekend celebrating!

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  40. Happy birthday! May you have a hundred more happy years filled with food, with the ones you love.

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  41. Happy birthday Maria! I know 30 for me marked a number of changes as well - older and wiser. Enjoy!

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  42. Hyvää syntymäpäivää Marja! Tervetuloa yli 30 klubi ja on ihana päivä. R Leivonen

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  43. Palju, palju õnne sünnipäevaks - Sa elagu, Sa elagu, Sa elagu :) ! This may be a funny thing to say: I found my 30th the hardest, the 40th heaps more fun and the 50th a joyous, happy lark!! Thank you for a wonderful column and have a very happy day! [Looking at the Finnish congratulations, I believe you can u'stand mine!].

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  44. Grattis på födelsedagen Maria!!
    You've reminded me/inspired me to make sure I make the most of my last year in my 20's!
    Tusen Tack
    xox
    Kram på dig

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  45. Happy birthday and happy weekend!

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  46. What a lovely idea for a way to celebrate your birthday - I am seriously loving that it leaves the way clear for a sweet cake as well. Two birthday cakes = bliss.
    Happy birthday.

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  47. happy birthday and welcome to the 30's club! hope u have an awesome weekend and what a lovely cake!

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  48. Happy birthday you wonderful lady! Here's to another 30+ years of inspiration :)

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  49. happy birthday maria :) what a year its been for you and i hope the coming one is just as exciting and wonderful :)

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  50. Happy Birthday! Many happy returns :) Your cake is certainly intruiging, I really like the idea of a savoury cake.

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  51. Happy birthday Maria! Hope all your wishes will come true and this year turns out to be the best one yet. :-) Love your beautiful Nordic cake.

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  52. Näyttää NIIIIN herkulta! Hyvää syntymäpäivää, täällä lähes synttärikaimasi (13.9.), joka olisi mieluusti kelpuuttanut omille huomisille juhlilleen tällaisen kanssa! :)

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  53. I am late! I remembered your birthday ages ago, but life has been busy, sorry. Hope you had a lovely day. Your 30s are a great time. I will be saying goodbye to them soon myself (kicking and screaming, of course!). They've been a rollercoaster, but loved every minute of it. LOL! Good luck with all your milestones ahead!

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  54. Happy Birthday Maria! Hope you had a fantastic day!

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  55. Happy Birthday! Everybody knows that savoury cakes are much better anyway!

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  56. Happy belated birthday! Here's to joining the ranks of the 30-somethings! :)

    I agree that I prefer more low-key celebrations at home... I wonder if most food bloggers figure they can cook better food at home? ;) Although, it is nice not to cook sometimes, too.

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  57. happy belated birthday, maria--i'm not far behind! :)

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  58. Happy Belated Birthday, Maria! Sorry to just see this now. Hope your birthday was fabulous + best wishes for the year to come.

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  59. I made this today. It was really neat. I used alternate fillings (pimento cheese and olive tapenade), but it was super tasty!

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  60. Oh my soul! Just found this on a Pinterest board and I love it. Will have to make it soon. This can also be perfect for kids birthday parties to make them aware that birthday cake do not always have to be full of sugar and overly sweet. With your permission I will share this recipe on my site soon.

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