Monday, August 15, 2011

The Cake aux Olives, Jambon & Fromage ... is it a Cake or a Bread ?

The last time I was on TV for "CT Style" (WTNH Channel 8), I baked a "Cake aux Olives, Jambon et Fromage" ...

It was a B.I.G. debate : the question was "why French people call this "Bread" a "Cake" ??
But my question was : "why American people call this "Cake" a "Bread " ??
(see the answer below ;-)

So, what is a French "Cake aux Olives, Jambon et Fromage" or a US "Olives, Ham and Cheese Bread" ??

Here is the answer :
- In France, we use to call "Bread" the Baguette, the Ficelle, the Pain de Campagne ... which means the bread that comes with your dish (especially with cheese).
- In France, a "Cake" doesn't mean only dessert. It means everthing baked in a specific rectangular mold (cf. picture above).

So it can be a dessert like a "Vanilla Cake", a "Chocolate Cake", or an appetizer like a "Cheese & Ham Cake", a "Salmon & Feta & Spinach Cake" ... All are baked in this rectangular form and have a moist texture made with Flour, Eggs and Butter/Oil.

Anyway, a "Cake aux Olives & Jambon & Fromage" is the perfect comfort meal for dinner ... easy, quick, tasty, and light !!
Whatever you add in your Cake ... it is always a Piece of (French) Cake ;-)

A bientot & bon Appetit
Emilie your French Chef

La recette de Cake aux Olives, Jambon & Fromage (OLive Ham & Cheese Cake)

Ingredients for one pound Cake:
1 cups + 2 tbspoons (150 gr)  all purpose flour
3 eggs
½ cup olive oil
½ cup whole milk
1 pack of active dry yeast
1 cup of ham cubes
2 dozen pitted small green olives (you can add black olives if you prefer
1 cup of  grated Swiss Gruyère cheese (you can substitute with Emmental or Gouda)
Dry Herbs : 1 teaspoons of thyme or sage, or origan or a mix
Salt and pepper

Butter and flour a standard rectangular cake or loaf pan (you can skip this step if you have a non stick pan).
Preheat the oven to 360 F.
Drain and slice the olives. Cut the ham into rectangular cubes.

Pour the eggs into the flour + yeast in the bowl of your food processor. Mix on medium speed. Add the milk and oil and mix on high speed.

Add the ham, olives, herbs and cheese and mix slowly.
Keep the mixture in the fridge for 20mn.

Pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake about 45mn (check after 40mn) or until a knife comes clean when inserted into the middle, and the top and edges are golden.
Serve warm with a green salad for lunch, or let cool, slice into small squares, and serve as an appetizer with a glass of wine.


  1. This is one of my very favorite dishes! Thank you for posting the recipe!

  2. Emile, we made this recipe (times 4) for a housewarming party last weekend and it turned out great. My only feedback is it seemed a little heavy on the olive oil. I wonder if something got lost in translation between grams and cups? Do you have the original French recette?

  3. Hi Justin.
    Thanks for sharing your comment.
    The original recipe has these exact proportions for a rich and soft Cake.
    If you prefer, you can use a little bit less of oil (3/4 of your 1/2cup) or add 50gr of flour.
    It also depends what kind of cheese you use (I always recommend to buy cheese at a cheese store and grate the cheese yourself (better and less oily than the shredded cheese you find in supermarkets)
    Let me know if you need more help !!
    Enjoy cooking ;-)

  4. Hi émilie! je suis nouvelle expatriée aux US et je rate toutes mes recettes Françaises depuis que je suis ici c'est une catastrophe!!! Peut être un problème de correspondance entre les ingrédients? Je viens de faire votre recette de cake, encore raté, il a un arriere gout pas terrible du tout, pourtant en France je le réussissait bien... je suis desespérée!!!

  5. I don't have whole wheat flour. May I substitute white flour?