Savory Cake (French cake salé)

4.9 of 44 votes
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
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A few slices of cake salé on a wire rack

The best part? You can get creative with the fillings based on what you have on hand. In this recipe, I’ve chosen a French savory cake with tuna, feta cheese, and green olives.

List of Ingredients

Baking a French cake salé requires just a handful of simple ingredients. The beauty of this savory cake lies in its adaptability, allowing you to customize the filling based on what ingredients you have readily available.

List of ingredients to make a cake salé

For the savory cake batter

  • Flour: I used a simple all-purpose flour. Replace with wholemeal flour for a healthier version or gluten-free flour for dietary needs.
  • Eggs: I used medium-size eggs.
  • Baking powder: Baking powder helps cake rise, making it lighter and fluffier. 
  • Milk: Milk adds moisture to the batter. You can replace it with the same quantity of plain yogurt or a plant-based milk.
  • Olive oil: Adds good fats and makes the cake fluffy and soft. Can substitute with other vegetable oils like canola or sunflower oil. 

For the filling 

  • Tuna: I used canned tuna. Tuna brings some protein and richness to the cake. You can replace tuna with ham, bacon lardons or smoked salmon.
  • Cheese: Adds richness and creaminess. Choose your favorite type such as cheddar, Gruyere, or mozzarella. Use vegan cheese for a dairy-free option.
  • Olives: Provide a briny and savory taste. I choose green olives but black olives work perfectly too! You can replace olives with sun-dried tomatoes or roasted peppers for a different flavor.
  • Parsley: Adds freshness and a hint of herbal flavor. You can substitute it with dill, basil or chives.
  • Black pepper: Enhances the overall taste with a touch of spiciness. You can replace it or even add other spices like paprika or cayenne pepper for more heat.

You will find the exact quantities in the recipe card.

A few slices of cake salé on a wire rack

How to make a cake salé?

  • Step 1: Preheat your oven to 200°C (390°F) and grease a loaf pan or cake tin with olive oil. Line with baking paper if necessary.
  • Step 2: Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl: flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. 
  • Step 3: Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well. Pour in the milk and olive oil, stirring constantly. 
View of the batter of a cake salé
  • Step 4: Add tuna, crumbled feta, chopped green olives, finely chopped parsley and a little black pepper to the dough. Mix until the dough is evenly distributed. 
View of the batter for a cake salé with the filling
  • Step 5: Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it out evenly. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown on top and the tip of a knife in the center comes out clean.
Unbaked cake salé in a glass loaf pan

Once baked, remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for a few minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Bon appétit!

How to serve a French savory cake?

Whether you’re hosting a party, going on a picnic, or simply enjoying a relaxed evening with friends, savory cake is the perfect choice for a healthy and satisfying snack.

It can be prepared in advance, making it convenient for transportation, and can be enjoyed easily by hand.

A cake salé can also be served as a main dish or starter. For instance, it pairs wonderfully with a fresh green salad and homemade vinaigrette for a light lunch option. The versatility of savory cake makes it a go-to choice for various occasions. 

French savory cake on a wire rack

Variation ideas

The are many recipes for cakes salés, I choose a tuna, feta cheese and olives but here are some alternatives recipes: 

  • Vegetarian: sun-dried tomatoes, black olives and goat cheese 
  • Classic: ham, gruyere and green olives
  • Lorraine-style: bacon lardons, onions and emmental cheese
  • Mediterran: zucchini, feta cheese, cheery tomatoes 

F&Q: French Savory Cake

How to tell if a savory cake is cooked?

To determine whether a savoury cake is cooked, perform a test by inserting a toothpick or the tip of a knife into the center: if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked.

Can I make a savory cake in advance? How to store savory cake?

Yes, you can make a savory cake in advance. Once the cake has cooled completely, store it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. If you need to store it for a longer period, you can freeze the savory cake for up to 3 months.

How to freeze a savory cake?

To freeze a savory cake, allow it to cool completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place it in a freezer-safe container or bag, ensuring there is no excess air, and label with the date. Freeze for up to 3 months.

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Recipe Card: French Savory Cake

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Savory Cake (French cake salé)

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4.9 of 44 votes
In France, the savory cake, also known as “cake salé”, is a must-have for aperitifs and buffets! This delightful quick bread is incredibly easy to prepare, as it doesn’t require any resting time. 
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine French
Servings 10
Calories 306 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 loaf pan (23 cm, 9 inches)

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 2/3 cup flour (200 g)
  • 2 tsp baking powder (8g)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup canned tuna , drained (150 g)
  • 1 1/3 feta cheese (200 g)
  • 1/2 cup green olives (75 g)
  • 2/3 cup olive oil (150 ml)
  • 2/3 cup milk (150 ml)
  • 1 cup fresh parsley , chopped
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 200°C (390°F) and grease a loaf pan or cake tin with olive oil. Line with baking paper if necessary.
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl: flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well. Pour in the milk and olive oil, stirring constantly.
  • Add tuna, crumbled feta, chopped green olives, finely chopped parsley and a little black pepper to the dough. Mix until the dough is evenly distributed.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it out evenly. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown on top and the tip of a knife in the center comes out clean.

Video

Notes

Once baked, remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for a few minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Bon appétit!

Nutrition

Calories: 306kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 11gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 494mgPotassium: 111mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 243IUCalcium: 184mgIron: 2mg
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14 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Geraldine…….
    I made this yesterday. It is outstanding even though I didn’t have the parsley (my faux pas).
    The recipe and photos are great. My cake looked exactly like the photos at 40 minutes but I didn’t think it was done because the internal temperature seemed low at about 150°F and the top was bubbling moisture. At 5 minute intervals I kept checking until about a 185°F internal temperature. My probe was coming out fairly clean at each check but not perfectly clean.
    The sides and bottom of the cake stuck to my nonstick so I got to nibble on the overcooked areas while the “imperfect” cake cooled. Delicious.
    I can’t wait to try this with parsley and the simple “clean probe technique”…….

  2. This was a very good savory cake recipe, I made mine with sardines instead of tuna and added a couple of anchovies. I also used Parmesan instead of jack, with a bit of jack to add to the fattiness. Finally, to serve, I oven toasted it with jack cheese on top. Yum.

  3. If I add zucchini or cherry tomatoes would you precook the zucchini and cut tomatoes in 1/2 or put in whole. Worried that those additions will make the gâteau too wet…. Other veggies such as mushrooms, peppers and onions I would imagine I’d sauté first.

    1. Great idea! It’s best to sauté these kind of veggies first for the taste and texture, but I already made it with a zucchini and red bell pepper cut in small cubes without precooking to save time and it worked 🙂

  4. If I add zucchini or cherry tomatoes would you precook the zucchini and cut tomatoes in 1/2 or put in whole. Worried that those additions will make the gâteau too wet….

  5. 5 stars
    This bread is versatile! This is a great bread. Do you think it could also work with diced dates and nuts or maybe berries such as blueberries? Perhaps it is not sweet enough for this?

  6. 5 stars
    This is very good. In spite of my spending a lot of time in France over the years, I had never heard of what I have come to learn is a traditional French appetizer. It has the texture of a cake but is savouy, hence the name gâteau salé. I intend to make this again for consumption at my summer cottage with a glass of rosé wine.