For the love of liver: My recipe for Layered Liver Cake

Guest post by Anya Vien

I am almost positive you don’t start salivating at the mentioning of the word “liver.” But wait, maybe you haven’t really had a good liver dish, or perhaps you haven’t heard of the amazing health benefits of liver. I happen to love liver. I understand it really has to do with my Eastern European upbringing, where liver is a big part of Slavic cuisine. I liked it, I ate it, but never really knew of its properties.

Since starting my new paleo way of life, I’ve learned of all the great health benefits liver provides. Yes, it might look weird, and smell funny, but don’t disregard it just because of that. In fact, did you know that in some cultures, the organ meats were uniquely preferred over the lean muscle meats, which perhaps were given to the dogs.

Liver is an excellent source of high quality protein, folic acid and iron; contains an abundance of vitamin A and several B vitamins. Liver is the number one food source of copper; and contains CoQ10, which is important for cardiovascular function. A slice of beef liver contains about 338 mg of phosphorus which your body needs for functions such as the building of bones and teeth and proper waste processing by the kidneys. These nutrients provide the body with certain abilities to get rid of toxins.

Make sure you consume meat and organ meats from animals that have been raised in fresh pastures without hormones or antibiotics. I’ve been buying my liver at Whole Foods. It’s already all prepped and ready to go. The best part about it — IT IS CHEAP. Less than $3 a pound. Not bad! So if you’ve never really tried liver before, don’t be afraid to give it a try. Just remember how good it is for you!

My favorite liver recipe is a Layered Liver Cake. It’s a traditional Russian/Ukrainian dish. It is often served as an appetizer on various celebrations.


  • 3/4 lb beef liver
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 milk
  • 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2-3 onions
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • home-made mayonnaise
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • Fresh dill to taste


Wash your liver and put it into a food processor

Add 2 eggs, 1/3 cup of buckwheat flour, 1/2 cup milk, salt to the liver and turn the processor on, leave it until the mixture forms into a smooth paste.

Heat your non stick pan. Add a little bit of oil and pour some of the liver mixture onto the pan so it forms a pancake. When the pancake starts changing color, flip it. I use a frying pan about 10-11 inches in diameter.

Grate carrots on a medium grater. Mince onions.

Saute onions and carrots in olive oil.

Add squeezed garlic to the mayonnaise.

Spread the mayo mixture onto each liver pancake. Spread carrot and onion mix over. Cover with next pancake and repeat with mayo-garlic and onion-carrots, until last pancake is on, then just finish it up with remaining of the mayo mix.

Let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Serve cold.


Alright Homies, I can’t believe I’m going to ask this… what are YOUR favorite ways to eat liver?

Comments on For the love of liver: My recipe for Layered Liver Cake

  1. I’ve been looking at liver and kidneys at the butchers lately thinking of their health benefits, and the “eat the whole animal” ethos. I haven’t been brave enough to buy any though because I have absolutely no idea how to cook them! Thanks for this liver recipe, I’ll be giving it a go. It’s easier to start with cooking an appetizer than a whole meal, this will be the first baby step for me!

  2. I wish I could like liver…I do–as you say, it is very nutritious, and I’m all for avoiding the waste of animal parts. If we’re going to kill a living being to eat it, better make the most of as much as possible! Having said that, I have yet to have a liver-based food I like. *sigh* Granted, I think the times I’ve had it, it’s been primarily as pâté, but I’ve tried it on multiple occasions, only to be disappointed each time…All I can think of is the canned cat food my parents feed their cats. If I were a beef-eater, perhaps I would give this recipe a shot…perhaps.

    Anyone out there have recommendations for other liver recipes for the liver-fearful?

  3. I loooove liver but I grew up eating it too, the English like it too and my mom’s side has some of that. I like both beef and chicken livers and sometimes we’ll have lamb kidneys for good measure, all sorts of tasty organ meats 😉 thanks for sharing this – it looks amazing!

  4. I really like liver. I don’t know about eating it cold like this, but I think I’d be willing to at least try it. I’ve been trying to get my sweetie to eat liver, as it is super good for us, but he can’t shake his childhood trauma memories of overcooked rubbery liver and onions at Grandma’s. Maybe this might bring him around.

  5. Some kinds of liver are stronger tasting than other so if you’re tried it and think you don’t like it, then liver from a different beastie might be the answer.

    A good recipe for people who aren’t sure or think they don’t like liver is calves liver, which is relatively mild, breaded and lightly (until just cooked) pan fried then served with lemon. The same way you might pan fry fish. Don’t overcook it, it makes a difference.
    When we were kids, that’s the only way my mum could get my sister and I to eat either liver or fish.

  6. I’ll confess, liver doesn’t exactly make me drool. But I can enjoy a well prepared calf liver. Another confession, I don’t really know much about how humanely or not calf liver is produced, but it’s got less of the bitter flavor than fully grown beef liver does, and so for the person who isn’t a huge liver fan, it’s a good step to make it more palatable.

  7. I love liver, too! And it has so many B vitamins it’ll make your pee fluorescent yellow, woo-hoo! This recipe looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it out with the beef liver in my freezer.

    Sometimes I make a taco filling out of beef liver–I slice it in thin sticks (easiest when still semi-frozen) and simmer it in a sauce of tomato paste, ground dried chili, cumin, and coriander. Salt and pepper, of course. Then some minced onion and garlic added at the very end, so they keep their bite. Serve with corn tortillas, avocado, sour cream, and tons of cilantro. So good.

  8. That looks great! I love liver and will definitely try this. I usually dredge it in seasoned flour and saute with bacon and onions and green peppers, then make a little pan gravy and serve with rice. Oddly my 11y/o daughter, who is an extremely picky eater, will eat it.

  9. I love liver pate. Not so much the stuff you can buy in the grocery store, although good stuff is tasty (and not canned cat food, as @Elizabeth said), but the homemade version my mom makes. It involves green peppercorns, is ground finely, and is most like a paste. Awesome with crackers. (Just warn the uninitiated as my husband accidentally took some, thinking it was a sweet spread. Boy was he mistaken and disappointed.)

  10. I’m a salivating weirdo. I’ve been vegetarian for 15 years and the only meat I’ve ever really missed is liver. If I ever broke veg it would be for liver. The smell of most meats cooking grosses me out, but liver smells so comforting. I have had some nice veggie pates in recent years, but pate and liverwurst and that kind of thing don’t have the same flavour as whole cooked liver and I don’t think you could replicate that.

    I always liked the basic fried with onions, and also chicken livers on spaghetti with a tomato sauce.

  11. The author is dead-on (pun intended) about all the health benefits of eating liver, especially for older people, because it is so vitamin rich. Which is why — in addition to being raised on it for economical reasons — you find it on a lot of blue plate specials. I’ve loved it my whole life, even as a wee child, but even to this day, I always feel like I am doing something super daring whenever I eat it, which I blame on my fighter pilot dad who, perhaps, had taken one survival class too many.

    One night at dinner, he solemnly said to me as I reached for a piece, “I’m going to give you a piece of advice that may save your life one day.”

    [He paused for dramatic affect. ]

    “If you ever find yourself stranded in the arctic, do not — DO NOT — eat the liver of a polar bear. It will kill you!” I hesitated in my reach and looked at the liver hanging off my fork, suddenly unsure. “Kill me?”, I gulped. Realizing I was worried about the true death that awaited me from my innocent looking dinner, he laughed. “You’re okay with that liver! That’s not polar bear liver. Polar bear liver has so much Vitamin A, it’ll poison you. So if you’re ever starving in the arctic, eat everything but the liver” Relieved, I plopped the liver on my plate, cut off a piece, and took a big bite. After a minute of chewing, I swallowed and looked at my dad. “Dad? If I was stranded in the arctic and I had to kill a polar bear to eat, wouldn’t I eat the polar bear steak first?”

    • I think that’s all bears, not just polar bears, but that’s funny.

      A tip I was given today about eating (non bear) liver – if it’s a bit too strong tasting, soak it in milk before you cook it. I haven’t tried it, but that could be a good thing to know.

  12. I’ve dissected too many livers to ever want to eat one, unfortunately. I can’t get over it. This is despite my belief that we should be nose-to-tail eating. Same for kidneys and other organ meats 🙁

Join the Conversation