Smörgåstårta, a Swedish Sandwich Cake

One look and you’ll get the conversation starting! It’s quite an ice breaker. It gets people thinking,

“where are there parsley around the cake?”
“huh, hard boiled eggs on top of a cake?”

“Is that salmon? what is going on with this cake?”

Hang on, don’t runaway on this cake. It’s actually a sandwich but just shaped to look like a cake! instead of cutting into triangular or rectangular shapes (for individual serving) this is a big big sandwich that requires a serrated knife to serve.

If you’ve never heard of a Smogastarta, its ok because I haven’t until I stumbled upon this page. I HAD to make it even though I don’t really like buns in general. Wait wait, buns and sandwich are two different things, of course. A little more browsing in the internet, I found out that this Scandanavian dish is popular in Finland, Estonia and Sweden (of course, it being a Swedish cake) I hardly have any readers from the Scandanavian countries, let alone friends.. So I don’t know how famous it really is! But no one’s questioning this yummy sandwich cake!

Smogastarta usually consists of layers of rye or wholemeal bread, stacked (like tortes or cakes) with fillings like fish, shrimp, chicken, cucumber, cheese and (any possible sandwich filling, really.) It is then “frosted” with a layer of cream cheese and sour cream and has an elaborately garnished top. If you’re feeling lazy, you can lay sandwich bread pieces in a mould and work your way through. But what fun would it be right? The bread is easy to make and doesn’t require much waiting time (45 mins x 2 times)

The recipe was adapted from Saveur, and minorly adjusted, except I completely forgot about the lettuce in one of the layerings, and didn’t manage to get mini red radishes. It would have been so much more prettier with the sliced red radish. The recipe didn’t state what size but I just made with 8″ round. I found that the bread layer was too thick, so I think you can use a 10″ and have a thinner sandwich layer.

Another note to be taken of was the smoked herring fish. Well it’s not impossible to get here but not every grocery store has it. I got mine from Jaya Grocer in Mutiara Tropicana. If you can’t find it, you can just use tuna or try making with your own filling you feel like having. They smell much fisher than canned tuna, but it was kinda yum.


Smogastarta (Swedish Sandwich Cake)

(makes 10″ round)

(serves 10-12)

Bread layers:

50g fresh yeast (I used fresh yeast. Or you can use 12g dried yeast)
500 ml water, 37C
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. cooking oil
165 g whole wheat flour
380-450g all-purpose flour

Böckling mousse:
200 g smoked herring
80 ml  mayonnaise
60 ml  cream

Cream cheese mixture:
300 g cream cheese
300 ml sour cream
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground white pepper

Mustard sauce:
1 1/2 tbsp. caster sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
100 ml cooking oil

200 g cold-smoked salmon
2 eggs, hard-boiled
10 cm (4-inch) cucumber
Romaine lettuce (*which I forgot)
Cherry tomatoes (Or mini red radish)
Mineral water



1. To make the bread layers: Dissolve the yeast in water. Add salt, maple syrup, oil, and whole wheat flour. Mix in white flour. Knead and put back into a bowl, cover and let rise 45 minutes. Remove dough from bowl, knead, and make a round cake. Let it rise in a greased, round dish, ideally a springform pan. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes. Heat the oven to 200C. Bake the bread for about 35 minutes. Cool under a cloth.

2. In a blender, mix herring, mayonnaise, and cream until smooth. Set aside. (pic no.2)

3. Mix the cream cheese and sour cream. Season with salt and white pepper. Set aside.

4. Make sure that the ingredients for the mustard sauce are at room temperature, otherwise it will split. Mix sugar and mustard and drizzle in oil. Season with salt. Store in the fridge.

5. Cut the crusts off the loaf and slice into three layers. Put the first layer on a dish. Moisten with a little mineral water. (Pic 1) Spread with mousse and cover with sliced cucumber(Pic 3-4). Press the next layer down. Moisten with mineral water. Spread a little butter, then cover with the salmon, saving a few slices for garnish. (pic 5) Drizzle the mustard sauce over the salmon. Press the top layer down. Moisten with mineral water. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the tops and sides of the cake. (Pic 6) Garnish with salmon, peeled shrimp, egg, and sliced radish. Pat shredded lettuce and chopped parsley onto the sides. Sandwich cake benefits from a couple of hours in the fridge before serving.


I liked the texture of this bread. It’s quite crusty and inside, still soft with a structure. Not soft like … nothing-soft. It is ONE HUGE sandwich with herring, salmon, egg, cream cheese, cucumber, and all those stuffs. Next time, maybe try with avocado and ham, more lettuce (which I forgot totally) and make the bread wider, less tall.
Or, maybe 4 layer will be crazy..

13 thoughts on “Smörgåstårta, a Swedish Sandwich Cake

  1. Disguised food always make me think of parents trying to make their kids eat food that they won’t. It looks real interesting. Is it a handful to eat? Since hubby is not a fan of sweets, maybe I should make him a savoury cake his year!

  2. Dear Swee San,
    How nice to see a Smörgåstårta on your very nice blog!
    As a native Swede, let me confirm that smörgåstårta indeed remains quite popular in Sweden – as you point out, it really is a kind of sandwich in disguise, just that you normally would never mix some of these ingredients in one and the same sandwich:-) Smörgåstårta is not really something you would serve for dinner, however, but rather something you would serve at a reception of some sort (think birthday, baptism, graduation and the likes).

  3. Swee San…you really had me ogling at that beautiful sandwich cake….I am so going to make this…haha I find this interesting and I am a salmon addict :))) I know I would love to take this to a party 🙂 Thanks for sharing this….I am still thinking how lovely this would be….those smoked herring mousse and smoked salmon…it is truly luxury eating LOL!

  4. oh gosh! What a creative and beautiful cake!! I mean.. sanwich..!! or sandwich cake!! I am so curious as to how it tastes like!! Thanks for your submission! 🙂

  5. This is beautiful! Found you through the Aspiring Bakers challenge #18- what a super surprise at the end! I may have to switch the sandwich ingredients up a smidge to persuade my kids to eat this, but I’m pretty sure my whole family will be quite smitten with sandwich cake. Thanks!

  6. The instant I saw the first picture, my brow went up! I was like, this is outrageous! However, when I came to know that it is a sandwich, I immediately scrolled down to see how it was done. This is really very interesting! I so love this! If ever I get to have much time, I am definitely going to make this! Thank you for sharing!

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