This is the yummiest ever savoury cake beloved by the Swedes who pride themselves on turning out the most beautiful creations. Having discovered it last year I’ve since made various prototypes and adored them all. With the summer sun getting stronger this is a brilliant easy no-bake layer cake that will impress family, friends and yourself. It’s perfect any time for a light dinner, snack, buffet lunch, party or picnic and can be prepared a day or two in advance. You’re basically elevating your favourite moist sandwich to a beautiful sandwich cake that’s even more delicious, with fillings like egg mayonnaise with tuna or ham, and avocado with bacon or turkey layered between slices of bread, all covered with a thin layer of cream cheese combined with kefir or sour cream and a hint of mayonnaise. The posher cakes have smoked salmon and prawns but you can add anything you like! Decorate with pretty bits and pieces like ham or salmon roses, thinly sliced cucumber or raw courgette, coriander leaves, dill, alfalfa, peas, olives or sliced egg to lift flavours or textures and create an edible work of art. If you haven’t discovered the Smörgåstårta yet, welcome to the world of Swedish sandwich cakes!
I’ve read white sliced sandwich bread is considered the best choice by many. It may not seem the healthiest option but creates an incredibly moist, light and delicious cake. This is the first version I ever made, with sliced white glutenfree bread from my local supermarket. Even if your glutenfree bread’s a bit dry this cake transforms it into a deliciously moist treat.
Made in a loaf tin there were loads of different ingredients, it was great to slice and lasted a few days… 🙂
The next one’s made with homemade sourdough vegan bread. It was more solid and next time I’d have thinner slices of bread in the layers to make it more moist. But it was very satisfying and yummy with a nice healthy feel to it and more chew. Some people prefer a ‘sturdy’ bread in their Smörgåstårta and also go for light rye breads.
Being my birthday cake number 2 it got upgraded to ‘luxury version’ with prawns and smoked salmon roses.
Personally though I’m really happy with simple ingredients like ham, egg and tuna. This one might be my favourite so far, made with fluffy shop-bought French sliced white bread (pain de mie). I loved the extra flavour from the dill.
Ready to make one? Yay! Here’s the recipe.
RECIPE – for a round mini cake (4-6 reasonable portions, served with salad or other stuff)
I’m going to give you my favourite recipe further down but you can easily invent your own cake and make it bigger. Here are some ideas and tips.
Any reasonably soft or semi-sturdy bread can be used, with your choice of fillings:
- Moist fillings work best and I love those involving chopped soft boiled egg and mayonnaise.
- If you use ham or turkey pile it on a bit so they don’t get lost in the cake and optionally combine them with cream cheese instead of egg.
- Mashed avocado is great (with a little lemon juice to help it brown less) with crumbled grilled bacon.
- Other possible fillings are: chopped smoked salmon or shredded crabsticks in cream cheese; bacon and egg; chicken and stuffing with mayonnaise; paté; caviar; chicken salad.
- Some say the secret is adding crunch or texture in your layers with ingredients like nuts, seeds, chestnuts, cucumber, radishes, sliced olives or peas.
- Be careful with ingredients like tomato that would make your cake too soggy unless eaten quickly. On the other hand if you use a sturdier bread you could sprinkle a little water on slices to soften them, as suggested by some online recipes.
- Finally, lift flavours with fresh herbs like coriander and dill or chopped spring onion or red onion.
Mould: cake ring (12cm/4.7in diametre and 6cm/2.4in high)
Use any appropriately-sized tin. This cake’s quite easy to unmould but to be safe you can use a ring or springform tin, or line with plastic film or baking paper. For a loaf tin just double or triple quantities and maybe add an extra layer but use exactly the same techniques.
- 2-3 free-range soft boiled eggs (cook about 7 minutes in boiling water), cooled at room temperature
- 7 slices of white sandwich bread or some other kind
- Layer 1: 1 of the boiled eggs, 1 small can of tuna (in natural brine), 1-2 tsp mayonnaise (plus optional mashed avocado and 1/2 tsp lemon or lime juice). Mash everything together and stir.
- Layer 2: 1 boiled egg (keep 1 slice or use a 3rd boiled egg to decorate on Day 2), 1-2 tsp mayonnaise mashed together plus 3-4 thin slices of cooked ham or turkey
Yes, people may wonder about the tuna and ham combo but I like it! What can I say…
Here’s the printable illustrated recipe (click on the image) or see the written instructions further down.
Lightly grease your tin (or optionally line with plastic film).
- Cut off crusts and place pieces together like a puzzle to make bottom single layer of bread (see first photo below) – if you like you can butter each bread layer but it’s not necessary.
- Spread Layer 1 filling on bread.
- Piece together a bread layer on top.
- Spread Layer 2 filling on bread.
- Cover with final bread layer.
- Wrap plastic over top to keep moist or place in airtight tupperware.
- Refrigerate overnight or at least several hours.
With leftovers make a little salad or open sandwich to munch while your cake’s chilling. Yum yum.
Next day …
DAY TWO – frosting + decoration
The decoration can reflect what’s inside the cake but doesn’t have to. An extra salmon rose, herbs or peas that are just on top can simply be a welcome addition.
Preparation: if using a courgette place thin slices (preferably sliced with a mandolin) in a sieve with a little salt for 1 or more hours to drain liquid and mellow out bitterness.
Kefir adds an interesting tangy flavour to the creamy frosting. Greek yoghurt makes it a bit bland but increasing the mayonnaise could help.
- Creamy ‘frosting’ (adjust quantities to taste)
- 100g/3.5oz Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature
- 50g/ml kefir (or sour cream/greek or natural yoghurt)
- 1 or 2 tsp mayonnaise (optional)
- Side decoration
- 1 to 1.5 inches courgette or cucumber, wash and dry, peel off strips then slice thinly. Cut in half to make semi-circles.
- nice coriander leaves, washed and patted dry in paper towel (or slices of crabstick/anything else decorative).
- Top decor
- frozen peas cooked a few minutes in boiling water
- strips of ham or salmon for roses
- Dill and coriander or other fresh herbs
- Options: sliced black olives, alfafa, cooked prawns, sliced boiled egg, red cherry tomatoes, etc.
- Unmould your cake.
- Whisk all frosting ingredients together until smooth.
- Spread over cake in a reasonably even thinnish layer (you might not use all the mixture).
- Add decorative elements around the bottom first. Work your way up.
If you don’t have coriander leaves use other stuff, like crabstick slices..
For the top first position bigger decorations like roses (there’s a rose tutorial here at Pinch Me I’m Eating). Add herb leaves around them and other elements.
You can go either more symmetrical or ‘artistic’. Here’s the 70s-style one with peas and prawns all nicely lined up in a circle, with thicker more even cucumber slices around the bottom.
Personally I prefer a more random design but this cake did get lots of positive comments. It’s up to you and your own creativity. 🙂
There are lots of Swedish sandwich cakes online if you’re looking for more inspiration, including vegetarian and vegan versions. Some have been really loaded up with stuff on top – Swedish sandwich cakes are a lot of fun to decorate!
Eating and storing
After decorating place in fridge another hour or more to settle before eating. This cake keeps well in airtight tupperware up to 3 days depending on the ingredients. I found the one with sturdier sourdough bread extra delicious after a few days.
Anyway these cakes are always very yummy and you’ll eventually adapt them to your own tastes creating your favourite versions. I’m just going to add a new version here with a bottom layer of French paté, courgette and cooked frozen peas and a top layer of sliced turkey, comté cheese and Philadelphia cream cheese. The redcurrants and mint leaves on top were lovely with it.
A little background
This cake is an important part of Swedish culture and there are also versions in Finland, Estonia and Iceland. It’s very popular and will show up regularly at weddings, parties, funerals and many other events.
It’s often made with a sliced white loaf rather than the usual Nordic rye breads and there’s a theory it was brought over to Sweden in the 1960s from the United States, where housewives were making these cakes for their cocktail parties (see this nice post at ScandiKitchen). Actually I couldn’t find a lot of info on its origins and would love to know more.
Anyway, thank you whoever invented it and let’s have a slice now. 🙂
And here are more photos. Because it’s a lovely cake.
In any shape or form…
… and sometimes with the simplest ingredients. Have you made a Swedish sandwich cake before? Are you tempted to make one now?
Bye for now dears! Have a lovely week, with some well-deserved comfort food and very happy baking, no-baking and eating! 🙂 Lili x
P.S. Here’s my friend Alexey’s smörgåstårta, inspired by this recipe. I’m so delighted – it’s beautiful, isn’t it? He told me it’s smoked salmon and cream cheese layers with parsley and radish decoration. I just love the colours and freshness. Just wanted to share it with you…