French cake salé, also known as savoury cake or salty cake, is a popular dish in France that can be served as an appetizer, snack, or light meal accompanied by a salad and a glass of wine.
It often makes an appearance at picnics, beach parties, and pre-dinner drinks during French apero get-togethers because it’s easy to make in advance, can be eaten warm or at room temperature, and is delicious.
Plus, you can easily convert this recipe to a vegan or vegetarian savoury French loaf cake.
I discovered French cake salé in 2011 when my neighbour invited me to her house, where she laid out slices of cake salé, charcuterie, and other salty bites with wine for guests to nibble on as we chatted away. I had no idea how popular this simple and versatile savoury cake appetizer was at the time, but I was hooked from the first bite.
But what is cake salé, and is it easy to make?
Let’s find out.
By the end of this article, you’ll discover everything you need to know about French savoury cake salé, including how to whip one up out of anything in your pantry, including leftovers.
What is cake salé?
Cake salé is not a dessert cake.
The batter for savoury French cake salé is similar to a thick cake batter but with salty and savoury ingredients added into the mix. Recipes vary, but cake salé typically contains a liquid, such as milk or water, grated cheese, herbs and
The thick cake batter is then poured into a long rectangular loaf pan (usually lined with parchment paper) and baked in the oven.
Let it cool completely, slice and then serve it on a platter for your guests.
Once you know how to make the base recipe for the batter, you can MacGyver it into hundreds of different recipes. It’s also easily converted to a vegan savoury cake or savoury muffins.
You don’t even have to pour the mixture into a prepared loaf pan. You could pour it into a cupcake or muffin pan, but then it would be called “muffin salé.”
Why is it called cake salé in French?
The literal translation for cake salé is “salty cake,” but idiomatically, it means “savoury cake” in English because the French word “salé” is also used to describe savoury foods. Sometimes, French recipes online will refer to cake salé as “gateau salé” because “gateau” also means cake in French.
In English, this French dish is sometimes referred to as a “Savoury Loaf Cake,” “Savoury Pound cake,” or “Savoury Quick bread.”
How to pronounce cake salé
Cake Salé, is pronounced /Cake Sah-Lay/ and not “cake sale.” The acute accent over the “É” changes the way the letter “e” is pronounced exactly like in my last name “André”.
Isn’t “cake” an English word?
In the French language, the word “cake” is a borrowed word from Middle English, derived from the Norse word “kaka.”
“Cake” is a very common French cooking term in France that refers to the rectangular shape of the loaf pan or bread pan that it’s baked in rather than its ingredients. In French, this rectangular loaf pan is called a “moule à cake” or “moule à
Above is a photo I took at my local Carrefour grocery store. It’s marketed as a cake aperitif.
What Are The Basic Ingredients In A French Cake Salé?
One of the best things about a savoury French cake is that you only need to know how to make the basic cake salé batter using simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen pantry.
Once you’ve made the 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
Dry ingredients for flour mixture
- Baking powder
- Salt & ground black pepper
Wet ingredients for flour mixture:
- Oil: (some recipes call for butter.)
- Cheese is optional, but 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 this into a vegan cake salé by replacing 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 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 batter, which will look a lot like a thick pancake batter, it’s time to start adding whatever fillings you like.
You don’t even need a recipe, but they’re 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 the leftover cooked ham? Chop it up and throw it in your batter.
Obviously, this list is far from exhaustive, but here is a picklist of ingredients that you can combine in a number of ways to come up with unique cake salé recipes.
- Cheese: Feta cheese,
Goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, Mozerella, Comté, Gruyere, Blue cheese, Cheddar cheese etc.
- Fresh or dried 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, sun-dried 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 French savoury cake recipes you can make, but here are some popular recipes.
French Cake salé recipe ideas ( with meat or fish)
- Ham and cheese
- Bacon lardon and cheese.
- Bell Pepper, bacon and garlic
- Chicken, tomatoes, and tarragon
- Bell pepper and cheese loaf cake
- Goat Cheese and Dried Tomatoes
- Ham, olives and gruyere cheese
- Goat Cheese and Fig Quick Bread
- Salmon and dill
- Tuna, sundried tomatoes, and feta
- Bacon and cheese savoury loaf cake
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
- Tomato, mozzarella, fresh basil and olives
Vegan Cake Salé Filling Ideas
- Zucchini loaf
- Caramelized Onion, Walnut, and Spinach Savory Cake
- Tomato and zucchini
- Tomatoes and basil
- Just olives (green and black)
- Green olives and garlic
- Tomato, basil and olives
- Ratatouille (eggplants, dried tomatoes, onions, bell peppers & zucchini)
On to the basic recipe now.