Savory Cake With Ham, Cheese and Herbs 8.000

(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

May 13, 2019

In France, a “cake” refers to anything baked in a loaf pan, whether sweet or salty. Akin to a quick bread, the savory “cake salé” is a rustic, moist loaf, studded with cheese and toothsome bits like ham or olives. It’s an apéro staple among French home cooks, especially at the apéro dînatoire, where its sturdy bulk stands in for a main course.

Make Ahead: This cake improves with age, so you can make it a few days in advance. Slice it before storing, and reheat in a 300-degree oven for 10 minutes before serving.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8 servings; makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf

  • Unsalted butter, for the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain full-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 ounces cooked ham, diced
  • 4 ounces grated Gruyère or Comté cheese, grated (1 cup)
  • 6 ounces log-style plain goat cheese, crumbled

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use some butter to grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom and two longer sides of the pan with a sling of parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, pepper and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk together the eggs, yogurt, olive oil, chives and thyme in a separate bowl or large liquid measuring cup. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring until just incorporated.

Fold in the ham and Gruyere or Comte cheese. Gently stir in the goat cheese, taking care not to break up the crumbles.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and smooth the surface.

Bake (middle rack) for about 45 minutes, until the bread is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely directly on the rack before serving or storing.

Cut the bread into slices, and/or cut them into halves or quarters to create dainty bites. Serve at room temperature.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "French Appetizers," by Marie Asselin (Gibbs Smith, 2019).

Tested by Anne DiGiulio.

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