Serving a savory appetizer as a “cake”, is a fun variation to your dinner parties. Pumpernickel bread and smoked salmon are paired with a whipped cream cheese flavored with dill, chives, freshly squeezed lemon juice and capers. Cucumbers add a crunchy textural contrast and a light, refreshing taste. These are classic flavor combinations, which I sometimes make into simple tea sandwiches, but this gorgeous presentation is a winner and I knew I had to try it when I found it a few years ago from Martha Stewart. We have made it for the holidays and everyone loved it.
Yields: 6-8 servings
1 loaf of pumpernickel bread
1 1/2 packages (12 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 Tablespoon dill and chives, each
1 Tablespoon capers
1/2 -3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 oz smoked salmon, thinly sliced
1 seedless cucumber, sliced into 1/8 inch circles
In a food processor or a mixer, combine the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Mince the capers. Capers are unripened buds of a plant, Capparis spinosa, which are dried and then pickled. The curing brings out their tangy, lemony flavor. They can be found in most grocery stores next to the pickles and olives. Add the lemon juice,capers, herbs, salt and pepper. Cut the crusts off the bread and place two slices side by side to make a rectangle. Line the sides of the plate with aluminum foil. (This is to keep the plate clean.) Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on the bread. Thinly slice the cucumber, about 1/8 inch. Top with a single layer of cucumber. Follow with a single layer of salmon. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on the top and bottom of the bread and place on top. Repeat with the rest of the layers. Spread the cream cheese all over the sides and top of the bread. Remove the aluminum foil. Arrange cucumber slices around the bottom of the cake. Shape the salmon into little roses, if you like. Another option is to use salmon roe to decorate the top of the cake. Very delicious. Decorate with dill and lemon wedges around the cake.