The Swedish sandwich cake perfect for a celebration picnic

Smörgåstårta is a popular Swedish savoury cake of layered sandwiches that will brighten any picnic


This gorgeous summery Smörgåstårta recipe is perfect for a celebration picnic. It’s a traditional treat popular in Sweden, Iceland and Estonia. It looks very much like a kitsch 1970s cake but is made from layers of sandwiches. It’s ideal for when you’re looking for something celebratory but savoury. My kids love these.

You can add any filling you like. My favourite is smoked salmon and cream cheese with radish, cress and cucumber. I always pack plenty of vegetables in for a balanced healthy lunch. I like to make these in a long, rectangular loaf tin. You could also use a lunchbox or any foodsafe container. They look beautiful when made in a round springform tin, but it makes it more difficult to cut into slices, and it can be impractical.

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These huge rectangles are usually served at parties, the tops adorned with bright pink prawns and curled-up roses of salmon, pops of cherry tomatoes and frilly cress. A very typical filling is liver pâté, ham and cheese. Often seafood and meat are mixed, and the decorative garnishes on top reflect the filling.

I like the smoked salmon version better. I also made an egg salad version once and it worked a treat.


A white sliced batch loaf works best for this, or a light sourdough or rye. You want bread with a little body so avoid the gummy grey sliced pans and opt for something a little more robust. This cake is like building a lasagne, with layers of bread and filling, finishing with a slice of bread on top to seal it all securely. The “cake” is then left to set in the fridge before turning out and covering with more cream cheese just before serving.

Edible flowers are very handy to have in the garden for decoration and flavour. Nasturtiums grow very easily, and the peppery petals are pretty and delicious in salads and on cakes such as this.

Recipe: Smörgåstårta

Lilly’s kitchen tips

  1. Once the crusts are trimmed from the bread, make them into breadcrumbs or cut into cubes for croutons and store in the freezer.
  2. Edible flowers such as chives and nasturtiums can be steeped in vinegar to make flavoured vinegars that are perfect for salad dressings. Simply half-fill a jar with clean, dry flowers, top with apple cider or red wine vinegar, seal and store for a month before draining away the flowers.
  3. This “cake” can be assembled and stored in the fridge up to 24 hours before it’s needed, making it a very handy party food for summer get-togethers.