smörgåstårta sandwich cake featured

Traditional Swedish Sandwich Cake (Smörgåstårta)

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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.

smörgåstårta sandwich cake presentation

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 Carbonaut.

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.

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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)

smörgåstårta sandwich cake ingredients mise en place
  • Bread — low carb and gluten free Carbonaut bread, 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.

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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.

smörgåstårta sandwich cake layers
Interior of a smorgastarta sandwich cake with layers (from bottom to top: liver pate and relish, deli style roast beef and ham)

Serve with sparkling pear or apple cider for a classic pairing.

Storage Tips

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

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:

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!):

seafood sandwich cake smörgåstårta featured
Seafood smörgåstårta interior with four layers (from bottom to top: tuna salad, egg salad, smoked salmon salad and shrimp salad)

And if you really want to go all out for a very special occasion, try this lobster sandwich cake!

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smörgåstårta sandwich cake recipe

Traditional Swedish Sandwich Cake (Smörgåstårta)

Susan & Björn
A delightfully rich combination of savory frosting, deli style meats, pate and cheese, this comes together easily and will impress your guests. Serve it as the main course for a special occasion – especially perfect for any memorable brunch!
No ratings yet
servings8
Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Swedish
Calories 497 kcal
Fiber 13 g
Carbohydrates 29 g

Ingredients
 
 

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

Instructions
 

Prepare Savory "Frosting"

  • Add labneh, sour cream, honey mustard and hot sauce to a medium bowl.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 1
  • Mix well to thoroughly combine. Store covered in fridge until needed.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 2

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.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 3
  • Cover the bread with an even layer of liver pâté.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 4
  • Spread a layer of relish over top of the liver pâté.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 5

Layer 2: Roast Beef and Savory Frosting

  • Set six more bread slices down.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 6
  • Spread an even layer of savory frosting over top of the bread to cover completely.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 7
  • Top the savory frosting with roast beef.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 8

Layer 3: Ham and Savory Frosting

  • Place six pieces of bread on top of the roast beef layer.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 9
  • Spread an even layer of savory frosting over top of the bread to cover completely.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 10
  • Top savory frosting layer with ham.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 11

Layer 4: Top of Smörgåstårta

  • Add six more pieces of bread to the smörgåstårta.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 12
  • Spread an even layer of savory frosting over the top layer of bread and around the sides, to cover completely.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 14

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.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 15
  • Cut each cherry tomato in half and place on the top of the smörgåstårta around the perimeter.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 16
  • Roll up the reserved deli style meats and cut them in halves. Arrange them on top, equally spaced apart.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 17
  • 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.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 18
  • Cut grapes in half lengthwise and place them on top of each deli meat. Place whole grapes in between each rolled up deli meat.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 19
  • 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.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 20
  • Add additional whole grapes to fill in all the gaps between the deli meats.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 21
  • 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.
    smörgåstårta sandwich cake step 22

Nutrition

Calories: 497kcal Carbohydrates: 29g Fiber: 13g Net Carbohydrates: 17g Protein: 37g Fat: 32g Saturated Fat: 12g Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g Monounsaturated Fat: 11g Trans Fat: 0.4g Cholesterol: 116mg Sodium: 1441mg Potassium: 343mg Sugar: 7g Vitamin A: 5430IU Vitamin C: 10mg Calcium: 262mg Iron: 2mg

Note

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.

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