Cake salé is a savoury French loaf cake recipe made with a variety of herbs,
Cake salé: The Basics about savoury French cake!
Cake Salé, pronounced /Cake Sah-Lay/, literally means “salty cake,” but idiomatically, it’s the equivalent of saying “savoury cake.”
This simple dish is a mainstay in France for picnics and appetizers and often makes an appearance with pre-dinner drinks during French apero get-togethers because it’s easy to make at home, delicious, and can be eaten at room temperature or hot.
French cake salé also makes a great main dish accompanied by a salad and a glass of wine.
What is a French savoury cake, “Cake Salé”?
Savoury French cake or cake salé is similar to a cake but with salty and savoury ingredients (not sweet) added to the cake batter, such as olives, ham, bacon bits, grated cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, etc. The cake batter is then poured into a long rectangular loaf pan, and baked in the oven.
This salty French cake is sometimes referred to as a “Savoury Loaf Cake” or “Savoury Quick bread” in the English-speaking world.
Why is it called cake salé in French?
If you speak a little French, you know that the French word for cake is “Gateaux ” So shouldn’t “salty cake” be called “gateaux salé” in French?
Yes and no. Cake salé is a type of gateaux salé. More on this in a moment.
In French, the term “CAKE” has more to do with its loaf pan shape than the ingredients.
“Cake” is a borrowed word in the French language (middle English from the Norse word “Kaka).
Anything called a “cake” in French cooking means it’s probably rectangular-shaped because it was cooked in a rectangular bread pan or loaf pan (Moule à cake or Moule à
This isn’t unusual in the world of cooking. There are quite a few dishes named after the cooking vessel in which they are cooked or shape of the food.
- “Tagine” is both a Morrocan stew and the name of the North African earthenware pot in which it’s cooked.
- “Terrine” or “pâté en terrine” is a type of French charcuterie moulded in a dish called a terrine.
- A “casserole” generally refers to anything cooked in a casserole dish, the French word for a saucepan.
A “Gateaux salé,” which literally means “salty cake,” is also a savoury cake but it can be any shape: round, square, triangle or a rectangle like a cake salé. And there are plenty of recipes out there to prove it.
Just remember that a cake salé is always rectangular in shape and a gateaux salé can be any shape.
If this sounds confusing, imagine how confusing the term “crab cake” is to a French person. Crab cake in French is called a “Galette de Crabe”.
Remember how I said that in the cooking world, many dishes can be named after it’s shape.
Well, a Galette is an example of a dish taking on the name of its shape. Galette in French cooking is a term attached to many foods that have a round flat shape, whether it be a hamburger patty, king cake, tortilla or savoury crepes.
Savoury Muffin: Muffin salé and Mug cake salé
If you were to take the same cake salé recipe and pour the batter into a cupcake pan, or muffin tray, the result would be salty/savoury muffin called “muffin salé ” but I’ve heard the term “mini cake salé” also used in French.
And if you poured the savoury french cake batter into a mug and threw it in the microwave then you would have a savoury mug cake called a “mug cake salé”.
What Are The Ingredients In A French Cake Salé?
One of the best things about savoury cake salé, aka savoury loaf cake, is that you only need to know how to make the basic cake salé recipe batter using simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen pantry.
Once you’ve made the basic cake salé batter, you can jazz it up by mixing whatever you want into the cake mix. I mean absolutely anything.
From sundried tomatoes, feta and olives to chorizo, dates, and
Base Cake Salé ingredients
- 1) Flour
- 2) Baking powder
- 3) Salt & black pepper
- 4) Eggs
- 5) Milk
- 6) Oil: (some recipes call for butter.)
- 7) Cheese. Optional but cheese is often one of the ingredients in a savoury French cake recipe.
Vegetarian and Vegan cake salé
If you’re a vegetarian, you can easily make a vegetarian cake salé by simply not adding any meat to the batter.
And if you’re vegan, it’s easy to convert the basic cake salé recipe into a vegan cake salé by replacing the dairy products with vegan options.
Vegan milk replacement options for cake salé:
- soy milk
- nut milk such as almond milk
- coconut milk
- rice milk
Possible egg replacements for vegan cake salé include:
As for the eggs, some French vegan cake salé recipes use an egg replacement others don’t.
- Chickpea flour
- Aquafaba (liquid from a can of white beans or chickpeas whisked for about 1 minute until it’s a little foamy.)
- Store-bought egg replacers
Once you have your base cake salé batter which will look a lot like pancake batter, it’s time to start adding whatever fillings you like.
You don’t even need a recipe. You can MacGyver a unique recipe out of whatever you have in your fridge and pantry but recipes are nice to have for inspiration.
Cake salé is excellent for using up leftovers
because you can put whatever you want into your savoury french cake recipe, it’s a great way to use up any leftovers loitering in your
Need to finish half that onion and bell pepper or leftover ham? Chop it up and throw it in your cake salé batter.
Obviously, this list is far from exhaustive, but here is a list of ingredients which you can combine in a number of ways to come up with very unique cake salé recipes.
- Cheese: Feta cheese,
Goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, Mozerella, Comté, Gruyere, Blue cheese, Cheddar cheese etc.
- Herbs: Thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary, dill, chives, herbs de Provence, etc.
- Spices: Curry, peppers, Sriracha, jalapeno, Mexican
- Seeds: Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, pistachio, pine nuts, etc.
- Vegetables: Zucchini, sundried tomatoes, bell peppers, peas, spinach, spring onion, garlic etc.
- Meat: Ham, chicken, sausage, Salmon, Shrimp etc.
What Are Some Common French Savoury Cake Recipes?
There are literally hundreds of different recipes you can make but here are some popular recipes.
Cake salé recipe ideas ( with meat)
- Ham and cheese
- Bacon bits, onion and cheese.
- Bell Pepper, bacon and garlic
- Chicken and
- Ham, olives and gruyere cheese
- Salmon and dill
- shrimp and chorizo
- Bacon and cheese muffins
Vegetarian Cake Salé Filling Ideas
If you’re looking for vegetarian options, here are a few ideas.
- Gruyere, white wine and thyme
- Mushroom, parsley and Comté cheese
- Sun-dried tomatoes and pesto
- Feta and spinach
- Bell Pepper and ricotta
- Olive and feta
goatcheese and olives
- Goat cheese, tomatoes and basil
- Tomato, mozzarella, fresh basil and olives
Vegan Cake Salé Filling Ideas
- Tomato and zucchini
- Just olives (green and black)
- Olives and garlic
- Tomato, basil and olives
- Ratatouille (eggplants, dried tomatoes, onions, bell peppers & zucchini)
On to the basic recipe now.
BASE Cake Salé Recipe
For Cake Salé Batter
- Flour- 1.5 cups (200 grams)
- Baking powder: 2 tsp (one 10 oz packet levure chimique)
- Eggs- 3
- Oil (olive oil, sunflower, peanut oil, butter etc.): 1/4 cup (60 ml) (6cl)
- Milk: 1/2 cup (120 ml) (12cl)
- Dash of salt and pepper
CHEESE (Choose any type you like)
- 3.5 to 5 oz (100 g to 150 g) any cheese
FILLINGS (Choose any ingredients you like)
- ANY CHOPPED MEAT: Ham, bacon bits, sausages, salmon etc.
- Onions, Garlic
- HERBS: Thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary, dill, chives etc.
- CHOPPED VEGETABLES:: Bell peppers, Zucchini, Olives, Sundried tomatoes, Peas, etc.
- SPICES: Curry, pepper, Sriracha, jalapeno etc.
STEP 1: Preheated oven to 350°F (180 °C)
STEP 2: In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients: flour and baking powder
STEP 3: Add oil and eggs and mix until absorbed by the dry ingredients.
STEP 4: Add milk to the batter and mix until the dough is smooth like pancake batter.
STEP 5: Add a pinch of salt & pepper to the mixture.
CONGRATULATIONS! Your base cake salé batter is ready for your fillings.
FILLINGS & INGREDIENTS YOU CAN ADD
Time to add cheese, herbs, spices and other ingredients of your choosing.
STEP 6: (optional) add any cheese to your cake salé batter and mix.
STEP 7: Add any chopped ingredients you want now and gently fold into the dough mixture: (ham, olives, garbanzo beans, zucchini etc. (see recipe idea section).
STEP 8: Pour cake salé batter into a cake pan (or muffin pan).
STEP 9: Bake for 40 to 45 minutes on the bottom oven rack of the oven to prevent the top of the cake from drying out.
You'll know your savoury French cake salé is ready when you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
Serve warm, or at room temperature.
I've included a video of the whole process below for a ham and cheese recipe.
NOTE* nutritional information listed below is for the base recipe without cheese and fillings.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 154Total Fat 8.5gSaturated Fat 1.6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 63mgSodium 179mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 0.7gSugar 1gSugar Alcohols .9gProtein 10g
Disclaimer: Nutrition information provided for recipes on are estimate and for guidance only. I am not a dietician or nutritionist. It is the responsibility of the reader to review all listed recipe ingredients to ensure that none of the ingredients may cause a potential adverse reaction