One of my most enduring memories from my childhoood is that of my mother at the dining table, preparing crafts to make with us or with her Sunday School classes. She’d work late into the early mornings to get everything ready, and somehow we always took for granted all the materials at our disposal. Our walls at home were filled with the latest drawings we had made or stories we had written and we were always encouraged to let our imaginations fly. I thought it only fitting that we celebrate Mother’s Day this year with something special and imaginative – a whimsical cake that’s really a sandwich in disguise. I stuck to afternoon tea ingredients, but the possibilities are as endless with this cake as they are with sandwiches.
1 1/2 tbsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour (I used one cup regular whole wheat, and one cup red fife wheat)
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups warm water, between 100-110F
Put flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add water and olive oil and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes.
Cover and put in a warm spot for 45 minutes to rise (a cold oven with the oven light on works like a charm).
Lightly grease a round pan, ideally a springform tin.
Knead the dough again and gently form into a disk to fit your pan. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for another 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F. Bake for 35 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool thoroughly before continuing.
Trim sides and top into a cylindrical cake shape (optional: trimming the bottom crust will make it easier to cut through your finished cake).
Slice the “cake” into three layers and fill with your choice of spread and sandwich ingredients. Frost with more spread, and top with more sandwich ingredients. Let sit in the fridge for a couple hours before serving, so the cake has time to firm up and the flavours have a chance to meld.
The fillings and toppings are up to you, but I recommend keeping them all to ingredients you would eat together in a salad or sandwich. For the sandwich spread and frosting, I used a mixture of cream cheese (2.5 pkgs!), sour cream (1 cup), goat’s cheese (200g) and butter (2 tbsp), flavoured with dill, chives, parsley, capers and salt & pepper. For the fillings, I used English cucumber, sliced lengthwise and trimmed to fit the cake, and 200g of sliced cold smoked salmon. The toppings were Belgian endive, more English cucumber, sprigs of dill and parsley, head-on shrimp, and beet chip roses inspired by Linda of Playing with Fire and Water.
Here’s hoping everyone had a lovely weekend, especially the mothers who aren’t thanked nearly often enough for the things they do!