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French Savory Cake with Ham, Cheese, and Olives

French Savory Cake with Ham, Cheese, and Olives

This French savory cake is filled with scrumptious, savory ingredients: salty ham, aged cheese, and briny olives. A must for a francophile happy hour!

French Savory Cake with Ham, Cheese, and Olives // FoodNouveau.com

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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.

French Savory Cake with Ham, Cheese, and Olives // FoodNouveau.com

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.

French Savory Cake with Ham, Cheese, and Olives // FoodNouveau.com

 
French Savory Cake with Ham, Cheese, and Olives // FoodNouveau.com

French Savory Cake with Ham, Cheese, and Olives 

This French savory cake is filled with scrumptious, savory ingredients: salty ham, aged cheese, and briny olives. A must for a francophile happy hour!
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:45 mins
Total Time:1 hr
Author Marie Asselin, FoodNouveau.com

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9 x 5-in (23 x 12 cm) loaf pan (see note for other size options). Line the bottom and two longer sides of the pan with a sling of parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper. In a second bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, and olive oil. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and stir, using a spatula, until just combined. Fold in the cheese, ham, and olives. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Use the spatula to smooth out the surface.
  • Bake until the bread is puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Pull on the parchment paper to unmold the cake, running a knife around the pan if necessary. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  • Slice the bread and serve at room temperature, or warm in a 300°F (150°C) oven for 10 minutes before serving.
  • STORAGE: The flavors of this French savory cake keep developing as it sits, which makes it even better the next day. If you can, make it in advance, let it rool completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Warm in a 300°F (150°C) oven for 10 minutes before serving.
  • French savory cake will keep refrigerated, tightly wrapped, for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 1 month.
  • NOTE: The batter can also be baked in two small loaf pans (6 x 3.5 in / 15 x 9 cm) for about 25 minutes, or in a standard muffin pan. Line the pan with parchment paper cups. Divide the batter between the cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until the savory cupcakes are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 1 hr

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