This French savory cake is filled with scrumptious, savory ingredients: salty ham, aged cheese, and briny olives. A must for a francophile happy hour!
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Cakes salés, or savory cakes, are an apéro staple in France. Serve savory cake alongside marinated olives, cured meats, and something crunchy such as pretzels or potato chips, and you’ve got the perfect spread of bites to go with a glass of bubbly wine or rosé.
You can make French savory cake so many different ways, but I like mine cheesy and brimming with textured ingredients. I’ve been making a simple ham and cheese savory cake for years, but for my cookbook, French Appetizers, I created a luxurious version that featured caramelized fennel, lemon, and Comté cheese. That recipe caught the eye of the Washington Post, who mentioned my book and included a version of my recipe with their article.
What’s great about savory cakes is that you can make them so many different ways. You can use any type of hard cheese—the more flavorful, the better—and mix in basically anything you crave for: ham, bacon, green and black olives, fresh or dried herbs, caramelized vegetables, nuts… anything goes. The important thing is not to overload the cake with too many different flavors, or you won’t get to appreciate a balanced treat.
To make a tasty French savory cake, you could, for example, pick one cheese, one protein, and one or two mix-ins. In the version of the recipe I’m sharing here, I followed this exact combination: grated Gruyère, for nutty cheesiness; ham, for a meaty, salty kick; and olives, for a briny, addictive touch.
It’s hard to go wrong when making savory cake, and once you enjoy a warm piece with a glass of wine, you’ll probably want to make sure to always keep slices in the freezer for impromptu happy hours. Here’s good news: savory cake is the perfect make-ahead happy hour treat. Indeed, the flavor of savory cake keeps developing as it sits, which means it’s even better the next day, or reheated several days later. Just make sure to wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and freeze it in an airtight freezer bag to keep the savory cake moist and tender.
Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.
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Author: Marie Asselin
Just out of hospital, my son is here from Dijon France, hubby and French looking after me. Son, suggest something savoury. Told me how they eat this with a glass or two. Found your recipe, absolutely perfect, love it. 💕🇬🇧
It’s so lovely to read from you Rosemary. Happy this delicious savory cake contributed to welcoming you back home! (It is indeed great with a glass or two of wine!)
What type of yogurt do you use?
Plain, regular yogurt (not Greek-style!)
Really yummy, so easy, and elegant! Merci beaucoup, Marie!
Happy you enjoyed this savory cake Cynthia!
Followed your advice and it was perfect. Thank you so much. I adore this recipe so much. Really well put together recipe and instructions. Great taste.
Thanks Esca! Happy the recipe worked well for you.
Also, would it work in a 7″ round?
Hello again Esca! So I’m worried the cake wouldn’t fit into a 7″ round cake pan. A 9×5″ loaf pan has a volume of 8 cups, whereas a 7″ round cake pan would probably be around 5 or 6 cups, depending on the height of the pan. The cake mixture will likely fill your 7″ pan too high and the cake will overflow while baking. I would suggest using a 9″ round pan (such as a springform pan) if you have one, or dividing the mixture between muffin cups instead.
I hope these tips will help!
Do you think I could exchange olives for jalepinos (allergies) – my partner has been looking for a savoury cake for a while and this looks so good!
Hi Esca! Yes, you could omit the olives and use jalapenos instead but don’t substitute the quantity of olives vs jalapenos 1:1 because I think the cake would turn up way too spicy! I would halve and seed *one* jalapeno, then slice it to incorporate into the recipe. However, if nuts are not an issue allergy-wise, I would recommend using walnuts instead of olives. French savory cakes usually have a mild, salty flavor so nuts would be a natural flavor match in here. Let me know which ingredient you decide to use and how you like the result!
Looks so good, my family would love this!
I hope you treat your family and yourself to this cake for the holidays!