This traditional Swedish sandwich cake (smörgåstårta) with savory frosting and deli style meat layers is perfect for any occasion and is enough of a reason for a celebration any time. Who doesn’t love a great sandwich? And even better yet, who wouldn’t love to sink into a savory sandwich cake with savory frosting?
It’s a show stopping centerpiece and an excellent main course for a memorable brunch. You will love to make this time and again for many special occasions. Your guests will be delighted to try a sandwich cake, so beautifully prepared and presented.
You’ll love how this savory sandwich cake stacks up with all of its layers – a flavor packed combo of pâté and relish, layers of deli style meats, cheese and savory frosting.
It’s extremely rich, yet made of labneh, a healthier alternative to cream cheese but similar in taste and texture.
It is super satisfying, and lower in carbs than traditional recipes with the use of low carb, gluten free bread, like .
Top it all off with sweet and savory bursts from the grapes and cherry tomatoes that are even better after the cake has been chilled a little in the fridge to set.
And, like all smorgastartas, any leftovers will taste even better the next day. That’s right – you’ll enjoy it even more for breakfast or lunch when the flavors have had more time to meld together.
You can choose your favorite deli style meats for the layers. If you’d rather have deli roast turkey instead of ham, you can easily make the substitution.
Likewise, for a more kid friendly sandwich, you might want to swap out the liver pâté and relish layer for deli style roast turkey or another lunch meat.
Content in this Post
What is Sandwich Cake (Smörgåstårta)?
The sandwich cake is a Swedish traditional dish that dates back to the 1940s. Called Smörgåstårta in Sweden, it is served during special occasions and gatherings, such as birthdays, anniversaries and other festivities.
The cake has multiple layers (usually four to five layers of bread) with different sandwich toppings in between. The bread traditionally has a mayo, heavy cream and mustard mix spread on it. Our sandwich cakes have no mayo or heavy cream, but instead use a labneh and sour cream mix with similar flavor but 25% less calories, only 40% of the carbs, and 20% less fat.
Each smörgåstårta is nicely decorated with cheese to cover the sides and a combination of either fruit, vegetables, egg, cold cut meat, or seafood on top.
The origin of the sandwich cake most likely evolved from four different types of sandwich styles, popular in Sweden at the time:
- a multi stacked “striped sandwich” made up of alternating dark and light bread with flavored butter in between, but without any decorations.
- a small extravagantly decorated open face appetizer sandwich, served in pairs of three before a main course.
- a round open faced sandwich called “sandwichtårta” with fancy garnish on the perimeter and upscale decorations on top, focusing on more expensive ingredients.
- a narrow and long, open faced sandwich called “landgång” (aka nautical gangplank) with multiple toppings. This type of sandwich is still served in Sweden but is a step down from Smörgåstårta in level of festivity.
Did you know? The longest smörgåstårta ever made was 1,675 feet (510 meters) long! It was made almost 40 years ago in Köping, Sweden and the record still stands in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Ingredients in Traditional Swedish Sandwich Cake (Smörgåstårta)
- Bread — — low carb and gluten free, or you can use another bread of choice.
- Labneh — thick yogurt with a thick, spreadable consistency similar to cream cheese.
- Sour Cream — regular, not low fat or light. You can sub plain yogurt.
- Mustard — dijon style or honey mustard – whatever you prefer. We have used both types and you really can’t go wrong with either choice!
- Roast Beef — deli style slices – used inside the cake as one layer, and some rolled up as part of the garnish.
- Ham — deli style slices, or sub deli style roasted turkey. Use a portion as one layer, and reserve some to garnish the top.
- Liver Pâté — pork liver pate, plain or with flavorings like garlic.
- Relish — regular cucumber relish, or Boston gurka (as it’s called in Sweden).
- Havarti Cheese — sliced
- Grapes — you can use one type or a combination or seedless green and purple grapes.
- Cherry Tomatoes — use regular red or a multi-colored mix of red, yellow and orange Axiany varieties to garnish the top of the cake.
- Cucumber — sliced in rounds to garnish the outside of the cake.
- Optional Garnishes — you can add more or go with fewer garnishes. You can let your creativity run wild with garnish designs. Try radish, red onions, dill, chives and more!
We didn’t do this, but if you like, you can add a thin layer of finely chopped red onion over top of the relish in the liver pate with relish layer.
How Many Calories Per Serving Of Sandwich Cake?
Like the tagline of Ripley’s show, this Sandwich Cake is not as bad as you’d expect. Thanks to the use of low carb bread and substituting labneh (a Lebanese yogurt cheese) and sour cream for mayonnaise and heavy cream the calories, carbs and fat are keep low. The total calories per serving are only 500 kcal, the total net carbs are 17 g, while the total fat content is 32 g. Not bad for a rich and savory dish made up of bread, creamy fillings and deli meat and cheese.
Keep in mind, an original Smörgåstårta with regular bread and mayonnaise and whole cream filling has at least 25% more calories, more than double the carbs, and 20% more fat.
What to Serve With Traditional Swedish Sandwich Cake (Smörgåstårta)
Swedish sandwich cakes are extremely rich and filling. You won’t need much more to go with it. With all of the layers of meat, cheese and fruit, you have a completely satisfying main course.
Serve with sparkling pear or apple cider for a classic pairing.
Assemble your smorgastarta sandwich cake directly onto a serving dish that is just a little larger than the smorgastarta itself.
Measure out the base layer of bread to make sure the serving dish is the proper size, before you begin. That way, your sandwich cake will be easy to serve from and to store in refrigerator.
Swedish style sandwich cakes don’t generally last too long in the fridge once made. But they’ll be good as leftovers for about three days.
More Swedish Recipes and Grocery Tips
Don’t forget to try these favorite Swedish recipes. There’s Swedish pizza dinner ideas, some convenient Instant Pot recipes, a cozy beverage and two fantastic pancake recipes below:
- Swedish pizza salad
- Kebab Pita Pizza with Kebab Sauce
- Instant Pot mini dill potatoes
- Instant Pot Jansson’s Temptation (creamy potato anchovy casserole)
- Spiced Mulled Wine (Glögg)
- Swedish Mini Crepes (Plättar)
- Swedish Pancakes
- IKEA Shrimp Sandwich
And when you’re in the mood for sandwiches, check out this post about Swedish groceries for everything smörgås!
You’ll Also Love
Calling all seafood lovers – you won’t want to miss this one!
It’s easy to assemble, in much the same way as our deli meat style smörgåstårta. You just spread each sandwich filling on each layer and garnish similarly.
This seafood smörgåstårta is a little more work because you need to make four sandwich fillings.
Especially with the sandwich fillings prepped ahead of time, this seafood sandwich cake is easy to make as well.
This seafood smörgåstårta has four layers made up of four different sandwich fillings (choose your favorite four!):
And if you really want to go all out for a very special occasion, try this lobster sandwich cake!
Traditional Swedish Sandwich Cake (Smörgåstårta)
BREAD AND MEAT LAYERS
- 24 slices Carbonaut Bread, low carb, gluten free
- 5 ounces Liver Pâté
- 10 slices Deli Cooked Ham
- 10 slices Deli Roast Beef
- 4 tablespoons Relish
SANDWICH CAKE SAVORY FROSTING
- ¾ Cup Labneh
- ¼ Cup Sour Cream, regular, 14%
- ½ tablespoon Honey Mustard
- 2 teaspoons Hot Sauce
CHEESE AND GARNISHES
- 10 Slices Havarti Cheese
- 1 Cucumber, sliced in rounds
- 20 Grapes
- 15 Cherry Tomatoes
Prepare Savory "Frosting"
- Add labneh, sour cream, honey mustard and hot sauce to a medium bowl.
- Mix well to thoroughly combine. Store covered in fridge until needed.
Assemble Smörgåstårta Sandwich Cake
- Remove crusts from two loaves of sandwich bread (we use Carbonaut low carb and gluten free bread). Try to cut the bread into similar sized rectangles if possible. Reserve crusts to make low carb bread crumbs or stuffing.
Layer 1: Liver Pâté and Relish
- Place six pieces of bread on a flat serving platter to form the base of the cake.
- Cover the bread with an even layer of liver pâté.
- Spread a layer of relish over top of the liver pâté.
Layer 2: Roast Beef and Savory Frosting
- Set six more bread slices down.
- Spread an even layer of savory frosting over top of the bread to cover completely.
- Top the savory frosting with roast beef.
Layer 3: Ham and Savory Frosting
- Place six pieces of bread on top of the roast beef layer.
- Spread an even layer of savory frosting over top of the bread to cover completely.
- Top savory frosting layer with ham.
Layer 4: Top of Smörgåstårta
- Add six more pieces of bread to the smörgåstårta.
- Spread an even layer of savory frosting over the top layer of bread and around the sides, to cover completely.
Garnish Smörgåstårta Sandwich Cake
- Cut havarti slices to fit the sides of the smörgåstårta and stick them on. They should adhere to the savory frosting.
- Cut each cherry tomato in half and place on the top of the smörgåstårta around the perimeter.
- Roll up the reserved deli style meats and cut them in halves. Arrange them on top, equally spaced apart.
- Follow with the roast beef cut into thirds and rolled up, place standing up between each deli meat and in the four corners of the smörgåstårta.
- Cut grapes in half lengthwise and place them on top of each deli meat. Place whole grapes in between each rolled up deli meat.
- Cut two pieces of deli meat in thirds and roll four of the pieces around a grape (to make it easier for it to stand up vertically). Place them between each rolled up deli meat from the previous steps.
- Add additional whole grapes to fill in all the gaps between the deli meats.
- Place sliced cucumbers onto the cheese around the sandwich cake. Press them into the cheese and they should stay. Otherwise, use a little frosting or labneh to adhere them to the cheese.
The above nutritional values are estimates and should only be used as a guide. If you are following a specific diet or have dietary restrictions, please use your preferred nutritional calculator. If you have a food allergy please ensure that none of the listed ingredients are part of your restrictions. As well, always use a food thermometer to ensure safe cooking temperature of the food items.