by Laura X. / Dec 08, 2020


Slice of herring cake on white plate
With the holiday season in full swing, I'm already salivating just thinking about all the insanely delicious Swedish Xmas dishes that my in-laws make during the holidays.

One of the first holiday recipes I'm going to share is super Scandi and is also one of my absolute favorites: Swedish herring cake ("matjessilltårta" in Swedish).

Herring cake is actually not a common Christmas dish. My mother-in-law started making it several years ago when I was a pescatarian. She continues to make it every Christmas, and now it's become a part of our Swedish holiday traditions.

This recipe is a bit of an acquired taste since it contains pickled herring, but the herring flavor is fairly mild, so as long as you like seafood, you will love this cake!


Herring cake on red table
The herring cake in all its glory. From 2019's Xmas julbord :)

MAKES: at least 8 servings


Bottom Layer

7 oz of dark rye bread
3 oz of butter


4 gelatin leaves
1 small can of soused herring
1 red onion
7 oz of sour cream
7 oz of creme fraiche
3.5 oz of chopped chives
3.5 oz of chopped dill
3.5 oz of capelin roe (or similar)
Black pepper


1. Mix the dark bread in a blender. Add melted butter and mix again. Spread the mixture onto a pie plate and put it in the fridge for at least 15 min.

2. Place the gelatin in cold water for about 10 min.

3. Pour out the liquid from the herring can into a cup. Finely chop the herring together with the red onion and put in a mixing bowl. Mix with dill, chives, creme fraiche, sourcream and roe. Slowly add the liquid from the herring together with some black pepper and sample it frequently. Keep adding until it reaches your preferred flavor.

4. Squeeze the water out of the gelatin leaves and melt on the stovetop on low heat. Pour it into the herring mixture and stir well.

5. Pour everything into the pie plate and put it back in the fridge. It should be in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours so the cake has time to thicken and set.

5. Take the beautiful herring cake out of the fridge, cut some slices, and bon appétit!