Prep 30 mins
Cook 15 mins
When you’re having people over for drinks—and you don’t want them to leave hungry—what sort of nibbles should you serve? Martha Stewart Living food editor Susan Spungen likes to make what she calls savory layer cakes, applying the principle of cake and filling to nonsweet ingredients. The result is a great treat for a New Year’s Eve party or holiday open house.
- 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1⁄2 cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- coarse salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 2 loaves pumpernickel bread, cut into 16 half-inch slices, with crusts
- 1 lb smoked salmon, thinly sliced
- 1 1⁄2 English seedless cucumbers, thinly sliced into 1/8-inch slices, patted dry, plus more slices for decorating sides of cake
- 1⁄2 cup creme fraiche
- 2 1⁄2 ounces salmon roe
- 1 ounce black caviar
- lemon wedge, plus more dill chopped for garnish
- In a small bowl, combine 8 ounces cream cheese, the red onion, capers, dill, and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper, and stir until smooth. Lay 4 bread slices on a clean work surface; trim 1/4 inch from all sides of slices. Spread 1 tablespoon cream-cheese mixture on top of 1 slice, and layer with smoked salmon and cucumber (try not to overlap cucumber slices). Spread another thin layer of the cream-cheese mixture on top. Repeat with 2 more bread slices.
- Neatly stack prepared slices, filling side up, squaring the sides with your hands; top with the fourth bread slice. Repeat with remaining bread and filling to create three more stacks in this way.
- Transfer stacks to a serving platter with their long sides touching. In a small bowl, combine remaining 16 ounces cream cheese and the crème fraîche, mixing until smooth. Using an offset spatula, spread mixture evenly over assembled cake. Refrigerate, covered, 2 hours or overnight.
- Before serving, arrange overlapping cucumber slices around base of cake; spoon salmon roe and caviar along the top, and sprinkle with dill. Garnish the platter with lemon wedges.